This list of links is very personal. Here you can find well-known, less-known and almost forgotten names. Certainly I can't (and don't) want to claim that these are equally "great" musicians. I only wish to stress that all these musicians are my "friends" (in the same sense as Ritchie Blackmore once said in the interveiw "my best FRIEND is Bach and he is 300 years old"). Does one look for "greatness" in friends? I don't. And I don't classify them by genres and epochs as well, when it concerns "friendship" epoch and genres aren't important. That's why, please, don't be shocked to see Dietrich Buxtehude, Sidney Bechet and Graham Bond next to each other. Apart from the obvious fact that their names begin with the same letter, they have one more thing in common: they manage to be great friends of mine...
Bach Johann Sebastian:
This is one of the most comprehensive websites dedicated to this undisputable "king" of music - it's overwhelmlingly vast and contains all sorts of information one may ever look for.
There are few musicians who managed to impress equally their colleagues from the world of classical and popular music. Bechet was one. Just read what celebrated Swiss conductor Ernest Anserme and one of the gurus of jazz music, Wynton Marsalis have written about him. Bechet's "mystical genius" - as Marsalis puts it - is easy to experience: just find a CD with him doing "Blue Horizon", or "Indian Summer," or "Summertime"... it's all there.
There are many fans of the Deep Purple in the world. Those who cherish their Rainbow records and CD's are no less. And my kids are fond of the "Blackmore's Night"... The work and life of the "Man in Black" probably is one of the best arguments in favor of the idea that the value and significance of real music is timeless and beyond stylistic frames.
Boellmann Leon Ernest
Boellman died very young and probably didn't write much. His only composition I know is celebrated "Suite Gothique". I think whoever heard the last part of this composition - tocatta - never forgets this name.
Graham Bond... How often do we hear this name and/or the music played by him? How much we know about him? Very little, unfortunately. But if one ever had a chance, like it has happend with me, to hear something played by the band with the strange name "Graham Bond Organization" one would never forget the name of this musician. The book written about him is called "Mighty Shadow", which is quite symbolic. Despite his early and tragic death Bond had a tremendous impact in the history of modern music and was one of the pioneers of the fusion of jazz and rock.
In my opinion this is another forgotten genius. He lived too little (1665-1697) to leave any lengthy legacy, but those few compositions that survived (try to find, for instance, the CD "Orgelmusic aus Norddeutschland" with 35 magical minutes of Bruhns' music played superbly by Marie Claire Alain) show his fantastic talent and make it clear why Bruhns was Buxtehude's only real pupil. Now wonder Bach admired his works too...
In 1705, 20 years old J. S. Bach walked (!) about 200 miles (from Arnstadt to Lubeck) to hear Buxtehude playing organ! The musician of a mythical authority of his times, Buxtehude was a great master of improvisation, fantasy and dramatism so compellingly reflected in his survived compositions. Bach's own style was much influenced by Buxtehude's choral, orchestral, and organ music.
This clarinettist (1907-1944) has one of the most peculiar biographies among the jazzmen. He seemed "to have emerged from the middle of a potato field somewhere in Iowa and died in the mid '40s after falling several stories from the balcony of an apartment". I "discovered" Cless for myself almost randomly, by listening to the "Blue Note" recordings and noticing the clarinet in the "Clark and Randolph" and "Yellow dog blues", managing to outplay his bandmates - Art Hodes and Max Kaminsky among them! After that I tried to find some information about this sensational musician and the best link I was able to find is given here.
Those who enjoy progressive "hard & heavy" rock music from 70's, certainly remember how Coverdale sang "Mistreated" and "Soldier of Fortune" while he was a part of the MK3 of the "Deep Purple"! Later he founded the "Whitesnake" and brought us many examples of fine music through his work. "Love ain't no stranger", "Crying in the rain", "Slow and easy"... these songs stay in memory.
In one of his essays Borges argues that no writer is able to create a character which is better as a person than himself. One would be tempted to enlarge this paradoxal idea and claim that no bad person can write a good song. The fact that Sheryl Crow is such a good songwriter, most certainly, has somethng to do with her personality. She is a clever, bright and progressive person - one could just read her famous letter "Why I Do Not Believe in His War...." to be certain of that.
The world is full of self-assured, self-confident men and women, and the world of music is no exception. If one wants to "sell records" one has to play a role of a "star". Peter Green was a star, real one, and at the same time he sang ("Man of the World") "I donít say Iím a good man. But I would be if I could." His humility was the sign of his true greatness. His biography is no less fascinating than the way he does "Jumping at shadows" at the Boston Tea Party concert. He had a long, long break and he was back. In the recent interview he said "What I am after is a kind of fulfillment now, more than enjoyment, fulfilment."
Everyone who liked the peculiar Bluesbreakers album "Bare Wires" certainly knows who is Jon Hiseman. And those who have a delight to know Colosseum and the music this sublime band made throughout its several reincarnations, certainly considers Hiseman as one of the most refined and creative drummers of all times.
She is a talented young girl, her lyrics are always having a meaning. The way she sings sometimes reminds Janis Joplin.
As far as slide guitar is concerned Elmore James is the undisputable name of the same value as Bach is for organ and Pagannini is for violin.
I am greatly indebted to Jon Lord. When I was a schoolboy and listened to various "Deep Purple" records it was namely Jon's masterful and versatile improvisations on the hammond organ that made me fist interested to listen to the genuine organ music. This is how my interest in the classic music started, by large.
"Bluesbreakers" - so many famous musicians (Eric Clapton and Peter Green are just two examples) had their careers launched through this everlasting British blues band, that John Mayall is often dubbed as the "Godfather of British blues tradition". "The best blues players reach their own individuality not by copying, but becoming an extension of the people that have gone before. This is what keeps the blues contemporary" - says Mayall and his tremendously long and fuirtful musical life is the best illustration of these words. In the "What passes for love" he sings about: "too many riches, too many fools, too many heroes, too many rules..." unfortunately there are not too many great musicians of his caliber and authority in the modern music.
Jeremy Spencer is my favorite blues musician. His way of playing slide and singing; his very personal way of treating the Elmore James classics; his life, so unusually far from pragmatic dogma; the way he changes lyrics in the "it hurts me too"... lots of reasons to admire him.
The music of this maestro is of a metaphysical expressiveness and beauty. His celebrated "Sonata in G minor (The Devil's Trill)" is a challenge for every big violinist. His life was spectacular and his writings about the theory of music, acoustics and didactic are of a grand value.