The Mighty Zep!

Zeppelin 1Did you catch it?

No not a lot of hype but it must be mentioned!

Led Zeppelin’s self titled debut album was released 45 years ago this month…thats 1969 for those slower in math and those struggling to get into their Monday groove.

Yes the Led Zeppelin era is middle-aged and unbelievably, Jimmy Page, the bands patriarch turned 70 earlier this month.

The 60’s belonged to the Beatles, but, the 70s were about Zeppelin right up to drummer John Bonham’s untimely death in 1980. Bonzo along with Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones took rock n roll to new heights throughout the decade.

Much like the aforementioned Beatles, Zeppelin’s stronghold on fans was achieved utilizing a variety of musical styles beyond just rock n roll. Zeppelin’s repertoire features among others; blues, country, psychedelia, classical, Indian, Reggae, Latin and mystical influences.

Personally, I have been through many Zeppelin phases, from constantly listening  to not listening much. Either way I can’t imagine a world without Zeppelin. Certainly, the quartet and most notably Jimmy Page’s guitar and compositional prowess have had a significant impact on my own music development. Not to mention all the good times with friends over the years featuring Zeppelin as part of the soundtrack!

I was barely born when Zep debuted. Most my students today weren’t even born before they disbanded. Not to mention many of them were not even born in the same millennium Zeppelin prevailed. However, Led Zeppelin is still influencing young musicians today in 2014. Just taught a kid, “Heartbreaker,” this weekend. “Stairway to Heaven,” “Kashmir,” and “Over the Hills and Far Away,” are still staples of the guitar’s ‘must know’ landscape. When I am out performing, “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You,” always gets one of the biggest crowd responses.

I always wonder what the shelf life of rock music will be. Technology and global media seem to have added to the life of the rock n roll era. Keeping it out of the dinosaur ‘symphony halls’ for now. As much as I want rock n roll to be around forever, I’d love to see what future generations/incarnations of popular music will hold?

Happy Birthday Eric Clapton, 68

Young ClaptonHappy birthday to guitar man Eric Clapton, 68 today!

What is your favorite Clapton song? Are you a Cream fan, Derek & the Dominos, late to the party and love songs like “Tears in Heaven?”

I would have to say one of my all time favorite Clapton songs isn’t even a Clapton song. It’s the Beatles, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Yep, for those of you who did not know EC is the axe man on that incredible slide guitar solo.

The first song I ever knew by Clapton was, “Lay Down Sally,” so that is what I included here.

Enjoy!

RIP Ravi Shankar Renown Virtuoso Sitarist

Not the post I was planning on writing this evening.

2012 has been a brutally tough year with the deaths of many legendary musicians.  Just last week we lost jazz pianist/composer Dave Brubeck and today(Dec. 11) the sad news of Ravi Shankar’s passing.

Ravi Shankar is an amazing musician known for many things, however, there are two highlights on his resume. First, he was a pioneer in introducing Indian sitar music to the Western world. Second, not totally detached from the first was his influence on the Beatles especially guitarist George Harrison. Trained in the Northern Indian tradition of Hindustani music the sitarist was a crossover  in the 1960’s Western pop culture. As mentioned he was an influence on the Beatles and also played the legendary Woodstock Festival. With his amazing talent and global appeal Shankar became an icon of Indian culture. The Indian Prime Minister said of Shankar on his passing, “National treasure and global ambassador of India’s cultural heritage”.

Shankar has two daughters who are also renown musicians. In the tradition of her father, Anoushka, concertizes throughout the world on the sitar and has pushed the sitar further into the Western realm with her collaborations. I was lucky enough to see the two play together at a San Diego concert near the turn of the millennium. Norah Jones, pop vocalist with a smooth voice inherited her fathers musical genes if not his cultural side.

Shankar died right here in San Diego. For those of you curious who are not from here, he actually passed in La Jolla which translates to the jewel. An amazingly beautiful city on the Pacific Ocean fitting of such an ambassadors final breaths.