It was back to being a spectator again last night as I dropped by the Shapko Bar to see what was touted as one of the feature, top acts of the venue, the Scott Allen Trio, with Allen as the bass player and lead singer. In fact, it was the trio of Allen, Peter Thomas on drums and Ronnie Ray Jr. on keyboards, plus two cool lead guitarists.
I thoroughly enjoyed the music and it really got me to thinking about the whole nature of what music is; what various styles and modes of expression are. Both Allen and Thomas sing extremely well, both have flashy, lively stage presence. They are both such good singers, in fact, that we can even forget how good their are on bass and drums. That’s rare. But I was also interested in the music’s quality; it was a cross between funk, soul, Motown, a little jazz, but not much.
And they were so good that I said, so this is like flashy cool competent pizazz, and what the hell do I or so many other people at open mics do by comparison? Technically, these lead guitarists too were light years ahead of my playing. And I enjoyed the keyboard breaks by the interesting Scotsman whom I spoke with afterwards, who showed interesting musical culture by not only being adept at this music but also knowing who Dick Gaughan was, and bringing up the name of Aly Bain, a great Scottish fiddler who played with the Boys of the Lough, among many many others (including people like Rosanne Cash and James Taylor).
But then, I’ve been reading Bob Dylan’s Chronicles over the last couple of weeks, and Dylan has been bringing up all sorts of other ideas about what a musician is – and most of it has to do with his models like Woody Guthrie, etc., although he also loves a vast number of other styles of musician, including the Neville brothers, rap, etc. So. I’m saying, Okay, the Scott Allen Trio is quite brilliant and their soul, funk, Motown and a little jazz is great. But the rest of it is music too.
I get kind of an inferiority complex sometimes when I hear really good musicians. Anyway, off to see what my last night in Monaco/Nice will present me with.