Monday, March 8, 2010

How can this be interesting?

Last night I watched what turned out to be an incredibly interesting movie, "It Might Get Loud". You wouldn't think that three guys talking about music and specifically, about the influence of electric guitars on music, would be something worth watching. Then, when you learn that the three guys are Jimmy Page, The Edge, and Jack White, well, you might be inclined to think, maybe, just maybe it might be interesting. But I'll tell you what, that movie was damn near incredible. You just can't believe the stuff those three guys share during the movie, and the music, well, it goes without saying it's great. The insight that expands on the music, it's just stunning.

The movie starts out with Jack White nailing some boards together. He wraps what looks like a straightened bed spring around a nail at one end, nails the other end to the far end of the board, jams a Coke bottle under it, nails a small block of wood to the larger piece, nails a pick up onto the small block, plugs the sucker into an amp, grabs a pick and a piece of pipe, and lays into it with a raunchy, twangy, electric buzz that sounds better than any garage band you'd care to name. He throws the stuff down, looks at the camera and says, "Who needs to buy a guitar?" After that, you can't help but watch the rest of the movie.

My two biggest impressions and how they relate to jazz: one, 90% of the music they talked about and cited as their inspiration was blues or blues-based. (Jack White's favorite song of all time is a guy singing the blues and clapping - no band, no accompaniment, nothing. And it's a real record!) And two, The Edge is by far the closest thing to a jazz musician, as he talks about things like voicings, inversions, eliminating notes from chords to change the sound, and a whole plethora of things that jazz musicians talk about all the time. No wonder U2 has the appeal that they do. They're the jazziest troupe in popular music!

I'm serious: put "It Might Get Loud" on your Netflix queue, your Blockbuster list, or your Red Box target list. You won't be sorry.

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