Because as many know (evidenced by the frequent waiting list for the room), Room #8 is where, on September 19, 1973, Gram Parsons, relaxing after having finished his second solo album, the classic, although laden with too many slow as molasses tunes, “Grievous Angel”, died. He was a amazing singer—listening to Gram Parsons’ cracked beauty of a voice dance over a 7th chord is one of the most painfully gorgeous sounds that has ever been captured on recording equipment. There were singers with better chops, to be sure. Though, as my friend John points out, Doc Severenson had better chops than Miles Davis, who couldn’t play in the upper register. Chops are never the whole story when you’re talking about art.
Mike Stern is one of those lucky few: a guitarist who can do it all. Though he’s known for the depth and precision of his jazzy ballads and rip-snortin’ fusion instrumentals, he’s equally respected for the woozy bends and woody tone of his paeans to the greats of blues and rock. Listen to any of his many excellent releases (all of which remain active in the Atlantic catalog), and you’ll caught by the power of his deceivingly subtle blend.
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