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Author Topic: Guid's Top 10 Bands  (Read 3102 times)
Post Rank 4
Posts: 301

Yes, those drums are made of cheese.

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« on: January 19, 2009, 06:58:21 am »

Honorable Mentions
(just to get them out of the way)

The Beatles, Sonata Arctica, James Brown, Herbie Hancock, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Iron Maiden, Yes, Anderson-Bruford-Wakeman-Howe,
Facing East, Liquid Tension Experiment, Gordian Knot, Chroma Key, and an assortment of classical composers

My Top 10 Artists
(what you've all been waiting for)

10. Tomo Fujita
Not likely to be known to anyone here, or really that many people anywhere else either. Fujita is a jazz/blues/funk guitarist on the faculty
at Berklee College of Music. When I was growing up in suburban Massachusetts, about 30 miles from Berklee, there was a little jazz club in my
hometown where, for years, Tomo would play every single month, and I hardly ever missed it. I must have seen him over 40 times by now, and
heard many of his anecdotes (especially memorable are the surprisingly-not-bitter ones about how much he gets ripped off by his former student
John Mayer). All 3 of his albums, 1996's Put On Your Funk Face, the eponymous EP he released in 2000, and Right Place, Right Time,
which was released in 2006 in Japan and worldwide the following year, are masterworks synthesizing all of his styles. Fujita also has gained some
renown as one of the masters of transferring the slap-n-pop style of playing from bass over to the electric guitar.

9. Chuck Berry
One of the originators of Rock n Roll, and its first guitar hero. There are many great things that can be said about him, but
others have already said most of it. Thus, I'll finish this blurb with a quote from John Lennon: "If you were to give rock n roll another name, you
might call it Chuck Berry."

8. Joe Satriani
If it's possible to talk about "tasteful shredding" without it being a contradiction in terms, you must be talking about Satriani! It's true that he can
rip it up as well as the next guy and cram as many notes in anywhere as he pleases, but what makes him stand apart is that he chooses not
to unless it's musically appropriate. Unlike other guitar heroes, I never ever get the sense from Satriani's music that he's merely showing off and
not serving some larger musical purpose. Plus, he completely rips it up onstage!

7. Thelonious Monk
The quirkiest and most individual voice in all of "classic" jazz. Monk's tunes and improvizations are always memorable, and he has released many
different masterpieces over the decades. Personally, I just can't get enough of the guy, whether he's performing an original work, he's playing
someone else's song, or someone else is playing his. Plus, his middle name is Sphere. How cool is that?

6. Rush
Nearly 35 years, more than 15 albums, some of the best lyrics around, fine musicianship (okay, I'll concede questionable singing abilities this
once), and an uncanny ability to shift styles seamlessly over the years without alienating past fans. How do they do it?

5. Death
Chuck Schuldiner's extreme metal project was so influential that when Posessed released Seven Churches in 1985, and it defied
categorization, they named their subgenre after their friends in this band, though they hadn't even released an album yet. If that were the end of
Death's contributions to metal, it would be enough, but in the early 90's, they also helped push it in a more artfully-driven direction with complex
and beautiful compositions that challenge the listener to think while still banging his or her head.

4. Masada
John Zorn assembles a quartet consisting of his own tenor sax, a trumpet, upright bass, and percussion, and has them play some of his
compositions in a style that blends klezmer, latin-American musics, and free jazz. What could go wrong here? Surely a lot could have, but all of
it sounds great to my ears. 10 albums of high-quality material that rewards repeat listening.

3. Bang on a Can All-Stars
This is the farthest evolution of art music. Rock meets classical meets minimalist meets modernist meets jazz meets whatever other trends and
styles are floating around composers' heads these days. Comprised of a guitarist, upright bassist, drummer (doubling other percussion),
pianist (doubling keyboard), clarinetist (doubling bass clarinet), and cellist, the All-Stars are a performing branch of the Bang on a Can
organization, which sponsors the creation and production of new "classical" music around the world. Their music is written by the best
established and up-and-coming composers still alive, and it shows.

2. Symphony X
See my top-10 albums thread for fanboy gushing about how wonderful this band is. Although I gave The Odyssey top billing on that list,
all 5 of their last releases are classics, the one before that (The Damnation Game) is pretty good too, and their self-titled debut is only
awful in comparison to their subsequent works (except of course for Rod Tyler's miserable excuse for a voice, but that's another rant for
somewhere else).

1. Spock's Beard
Based in progressive rock, this band has also shown influences from every other type of music I've ever heard from the past 700 years. Their first
6 albums, all of which are wonderfully beautiful, engaging, and entertaining, were masterminded by the mighty Neal Morse, but even following his
departure and some noticeable stylistic shifts, the band kept writing great songs (if not quite as great) all over the musical map. Their 2006
self-titled 9th album is especially remarkable as a return to Neal-era form, and a stunning exception to the parenthetical statement I just made.

Meditations on my own list
(how pretentious is that??)

Is it unusual that only 2 of my top 10 bands are on my favorite internet radio station? Surely, that must say something odd about my tastes on a
deeper level than any list can reach. Perhaps it indicates that they're too wide-spread to fit into any one station; that there are many I could have
gravitated toward and ended up on, and only happenstance had it be ERR that takes most of my time. Perhaps it indicates that I have many other
bands in this genre that I love and, say, my top 100 would show this as a clearer trend (although my honorable mentions seem to indicate that's
not the case either). Perhaps it's a sign that I need to start my own far-reaching internet radio station. Perhaps none of these are accurate
interpretations of the data; if anyone else out there has thoughts on this, please feel free to share.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2009, 07:00:54 am by Guidrummist » Logged

Paranoia is the only rational approach to a conspiracy world.
poison girl
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2009, 09:35:20 am »

 Cool very concept list Smiley bravo!

PS/ I like that cheese drums  Tongue
Post Rank 4
Posts: 301

Yes, those drums are made of cheese.

View Profile
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2009, 07:02:57 am »

Thanks, Poison Girl! Glad you liked it  Cheesy

Paranoia is the only rational approach to a conspiracy world.
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