Musician

ERIC JOHNSON & MIKE STERN

ERIC JOHNSON & MIKE STERN
ERIC JOHNSON & MIKE STERN Two guitar wizards on one album mean twice the musical magic By Jeff Tamarkin By any measure, Eric Johnson and Mike Stern are two of the most accomplished guitarists in recent history, but it’s doubtful anyone ever considered they’d make an album together. Stern, after all, is a renowned jazz artist, having had his initial breakthrough in the ’80s as a member of Miles Davis’ band. Johnson, on the other hand,... 

JOE PERRY

JOE PERRY
JOE PERRY Tracing his journey through the highs and lows of rock stardom  By Russell Hall More than forty years have passed since guitarist Joe Perry partnered with singer Steven Tyler to form the songwriting core of Aerosmith. During those years the Boston-based superstar rock band—which also includes bassist Tom Hamilton, drummer Joey Kramer and guitarist Brad Whitford—has experienced every triumph and tribulation imaginable. “In the beginning... 

KENNY WAYNE SHEPHERD

KENNY WAYNE SHEPHERD
KENNY WAYNE SHEPHERD For the onetime guitar prodigy, home is where the heart—and the blues—are By Jeff Tamarkin Watching icon Stevie Ray Vaughan at just 7 years old impacted Kenny Wayne Shepherd in ways he could never have imagined at the time. “I had a very early introduction to blues music,” says Shepherd, “and watching Stevie Ray altered the course of my life. He played with such raw emotion and passion and fire. From that day forward... 

JOHN MAYALL

JOHN MAYALL
JOHN MAYALL For the British blues master, music proves the fountain of youth By Jeff Tamarkin A towering figure among the progenitors of British blues, John Mayall’s dedication to his craft remains as strong as when he first discovered the music. Now 80, the blues pioneer still relishes the road—playing more than 100 gigs a year—and the recording studio. In fact, Mayall’s latest record, A Special Life, finds him as excited as ever—and that’s... 

NATHAN EAST

NATHAN EAST
NATHAN EAST With his first solo album, the renowned bassist shortens his bucket list By Jeff Tamarkin For more than four decades, Nathan East has contributed dynamic and innovative basslines to recordings and live performances by a vast array of artists, including Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Michael Jackson, Beyoncé and duo Daft Punk, whose Grammy-winning platinum album Random Access Memories features East on 10 tracks, including the smash “Get... 

JONNY LANG

JONNY LANG
JONNY LANG A former guitar prodigy shows he’s all grown up with a sharp new set By Jeff Tamarkin At 33, Jonny Lang has been recognized as a master guitarist and vocalist for nearly two decades. A teen prodigy with a 40-year-old voice when he cut his debut album Smokin’ in 1995, he’s grown up in the public eye—and so has his music. In his early years Lang made his mark playing and singing blues-rock. He was so gifted he was taken under the... 

DAVID CROSBY

DAVID CROSBY
DAVID CROSBY He helped create two iconic bands, but his latest set is a family affair By Jeff Tamarkin There’s always been plenty of harmony in David Crosby’s famed voice and songwriting. His life, on the other hand, not so much. He’s endured battles with drug abuse, brushes with the law, and a long line of health scares—the latest in February when he underwent an emergency heart procedure. In the ’80s, Crosby spent time in prison on drug... 

GARY BURTON

GARY BURTON
GARY BURTON The jazz legend continues to innovate with a host of new projects By Jeff Tamarkin Gary Burton could easily rest on his laurels, secure in the knowledge that he’s made his mark as one of the greatest vibraphonists in jazz history. At 71, he has more than five decades of innovation and a pile of awards behind him, including seven Grammys, most for his stunning collaborations with keyboardist Chick Corea. But Burton is an ever-restless... 

LINDA RONSTADT

LINDA RONSTADT
LINDA RONSTADT  One of music’s most versatile voices reflects on her genre-defying career By Jeff Tamarkin Linda Ronstadt will never sing again. That’s the unfortunate reality the superstar vocalist has had to come to terms with since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. “I know I’d still be singing, because I’ve sung my whole life,” she says. “I’d at least be singing in the shower or in my car or harmonizing with somebody.... 

EARL KLUGH

EARL KLUGH
EARL KLUGH Going it alone with an inventive take on the music he loves  By Jeff Tamarkin Earl Klugh has worked in many formats in more than four decades, playing in duos, trios, even with orchestras, but he always returns to the solo album. Alone with his acoustic guitar is how the jazz master feels he can best express himself. “There’s a definite focus on the instrument itself,” he says. “I’ve adapted my playing so that I play bass, chords... 

GEORGE BENSON

GEORGE BENSON
GEORGE BENSON  How the elite guitarist opened his mouth and changed jazz history  By Jeff Tamarkin   By the early 1970s George Benson was quickly gaining recognition as a young hotshot guitarist on the jazz scene. He’d already cut more than a dozen acclaimed instrumental albums and had been tapped by the likes of Miles Davis to lend his six-string chops. But Benson wanted to try his hand at singing, testing the waters with a cover of the... 

Allen Toussaint

Allen Toussaint
ALLEN TOUSSAINT At 75, the New Orleans music icon releases his first live album By Jeff Tamarkin For more than a half-century, Allen Toussaint has reigned as contemporary music’s Renaissance man. As a songwriter alone, his output is legendary—classics such as “Mother-in-Law,” “Get Out of My Life, Woman,” “Yes We Can Can,” “Working in the Coal Mine,” and “On Your Way Down” all came from his pen. Glen Campbell turned Toussaint’s... 

BUDDY GUY

BUDDY GUY
BUDDY GUY A guitar icon continues his five-decade mission to keep the blues alive By Jeff Tamarkin When blues guitar legend Buddy Guy performed at the White House last year, the significance of the event didn’t escape him. “I told President Obama that where I grew up, I didn’t even know what running water was until I was nearly 17,” Guy remembers. “I said, ‘Mr. President, picking a guitar in the White House is a long way from picking... 

DAVE KOZ

DAVE KOZ
DAVE KOZ His new project sets out to prove that when it comes to sax, more is better By Jeff Tamarkin “There was a big sigh of relief that first day in the studio when we made a sound together and it was really good,” saxophone giant Dave Koz is saying. He’s referring to the first recording session for his new album Summer Horns. Until that moment, the record was nothing more than a high-minded concept—get four smooth-jazz sax players together... 

TOMMY EMMANUEL

TOMMY EMMANUEL
TOMMY EMMANUEL  Teaming up to unleash twice the fingerpicking power on his latest set By Russell Hall If anyone can be said to occupy the throne left behind by the great Chet Atkins, it’s Tommy Emmanuel. Regarded by many as the finest acoustic fingerpicker in the world, the two-time Grammy nominee has spent five decades dazzling audiences with his six-string virtuosity. And the 58-year-old Emmanuel places just as high a premium on songcraft and... 

JOE SATRIANI

JOE SATRIANI
JOE SATRIANI With a new set, the guitar virtuoso showcases his Unstoppable talent By Russell Hall Surprisingly, Joe Satriani doesn’t always pay scrupulous attention to detail. His new album, Unstoppable Momentum, is a case in point. Only after the project was complete did it occur to him that the opening track was in 5/4 time. “A few things got past me,” says the guitar ace with a laugh. “It never dawned on me that it might be weird to start... 

BOZ SCAGGS

BOZ SCAGGS
BOZ SCAGGS  The genre-blending genius takes on classic songs in a historic studio  By Jeff Tamarkin Play Boz Scaggs’ 44-year-old debut album, his 1976 multiplatinum megahit Silk Degrees, or his pair of standards records from the past decade, and one constant emerges from his music: He remains true to his vision, finding that sweet spot where R&B, pop, jazz, blues and rock intersect and then customizing it. Scaggs’ attention to detail, level... 

WAYNE SHORTER

WAYNE SHORTER
WAYNE SHORTER The trailblazing saxophonist waxes philosophical about the future of jazz By Jeff Tamarkin   Those who’ve heard Wayne Shorter blow a solo know the legendary jazz saxophonist seems to reside in a world of his own creation. Burrowing deep inside of a melody, he finds a nugget that intrigues him, grabs it and runs with it—the music twisting, turning, climbing, falling and ultimately journeying to a place far from where it began …... 

NEAL SCHON

NEAL SCHON
NEAL SCHON With his solo efforts, the Journey ace guitarist explores many musical roads By Russell Hall  Neal Schon is not one to rest on his laurels. Despite selling upwards of 80 million albums with classic-rock behemoth Journey, the guitar virtuoso continues to be driven by a restless creative spirit. “In Journey I sort of ride with the flow,” he explains. “It seems to work better if I do most of the more experimental stuff on my own.... 

PETER FRAMPTON

PETER FRAMPTON
PETER FRAMPTON  The master guitarist revisits the album that made him a rock icon By Eric R. Danton  Frampton Comes Alive! has defined Peter Frampton’s career. Only his perspective has shifted—from surprise and frustration to acceptance. The result is FCA! 35 Tour: An Evening With Peter Frampton, a two-DVD set that captures a tour celebrating the 35th anniversary of one of the most iconic live albums ever released. The double LP was Frampton’s... 

DONALD FAGEN

DONALD FAGEN
DONALD FAGEN The Steely Dan co-captain finds new freedom on his latest solo effort By Russell Hall  Two years ago Donald Fagen decided to wipe the slate clean. His first three solo albums—1982’s The Nightfly, 1993’s Kamakiriad and 2006’s Morph the Cat—had been tied together by unified themes, based on stages of Fagen’s life. For his new record, Sunken Condos, Fagen cast aside such constraints. “Those first three albums, which appeared... 

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN  At 70, the guitar virtuoso still revels in his dynamic musical journey By Jeff Tamarkin  John McLaughlin remembers some odd advice he once received from Miles Davis—cryptic words at the time, but later made perfect sense. It was 1969, and the young guitar master was working in the studio with the jazz titan when “Miles made this Zen statement,” recalls McLaughlin. “He told me, ‘Play like you don’t know how to play guitar.’”... 

STEVE VAI

STEVE VAI
STEVE VAI The legendary shredder crosses boundaries to deliver the unexpected   By Russell Hall  Steve Vai is mulling over his process to get songs ready for the stage. “I don’t write my songs and then record them,” he muses. “I build them as I record, which means I have to learn them after they’re finished. My first reaction when I’m getting ready for rehearsals is anxiety and fear. It’s like, ‘Do I really have to learn all this... 

GRACE POTTER

GRACE POTTER
GRACE POTTER She and her Nocturnals look a little more glam, but they’re grittier than ever   By Russell Hall  Back in 2010, fans of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals had a couple of big changes to deal with. First there were two new members, bass player Catherine Popper and guitarist Benny Yurco. But for listeners who had been following the band since it first hit the jam-band circuit in the early 2000s, the second change might have been even... 
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