Letters

Letters 08-03-2015

Real Brownfields Deserve Dollars I read with interest the story on Brownfield development dollars in the July 20 issue. I applaud Dan Lathrop and other county commissioners who voted “No” on the Randolph Street project...

Hopping Mad Carlin Smith is hopping mad (“Will You Get Mad With Me?” 7-20-15). Somebody filed a fraudulent return using his identity, and he’s not alone. The AP estimates the government “pays more than $5 billion annually in fraudulent tax refunds.” Well, many of us have been hopping mad for years. This is because the number one tool Congress has used to fix this problem has been to cut the IRS budget –by $1.2 billion in the last 5 years...

Just Grumbling, No Solutions Mark Pontoni’s grumblings [recent Northern Express column] tell us much about him and virtually nothing about those he chooses to denigrate. We do learn that Pontoni may be the perfect political candidate. He’s arrogant, opinionated and obviously dimwitted...

A Racist Symbol I have to respond to Gordon Lee Dean’s letter claiming that the confederate battle flag is just a symbol of southern heritage and should not be banned from state displays. The heritage it represents was the treasonous effort to continue slavery by seceding from a democratic nation unwilling to maintain such a consummate evil...

Not So Thanks I would like to thank the individual who ran into and knocked over my Triumph motorcycle while it was parked at Lowe’s in TC on Friday the 24th. The $3,000 worth of damage was greatly appreciated. The big dent in the gas tank under the completely destroyed chrome badge was an especially nice touch...

Home · Articles · News · Music · Attack of the guitar gods
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Attack of the guitar gods

Ross Boissoneau - August 23rd, 2007
This year’s Guitar Masters Series at Interlochen includes axe-slingers that other guitarists stand in awe of, guitarists from the area who have made it big elsewhere, and at least one guitarist nearly everyone has heard, though they may not heard of him.
Got that? Well, that’s what you get when you include fingerstyle master Leo Kottke, and Traverse City’s own Jeff Bihlman from the Bihlman Brothers/Son Seals Band and Kenny Olson of The Flask. Then there’s Howard Alden, who’s played on albums by a who’s who of jazz musicians but is perhaps most notable for being the musician behind Sean Penn’s leading role in Woody Allen’s “Sweet and Lowdown.”
As was the case last year, the series is split into three nights, with days given over to classes for guitar students. The shows will be held each night at Corson Auditorium at 8 p.m.
The first night’s show on Thursday, Aug. 23, features Kottke, who has been enthralling audiences and dumfounding other guitarists since the late ‘60s. His breathtaking technique and unusual tunings on the guitar have earned him a cult following since his 1971 disc “6 and 12-String Guitar” on fellow guitarist John Fahey’s Tacoma label.
Kotke entered a folk phase shortly thereafter, even including vocals. After signing with the Private Music label, his work was labeled New Age, though mostly it was and continues to be Leo Kottke music.
Kottke’s rich imagination and fluid fingerstylings have enabled him to play with a host of other musicians, including his mentor John Fahey, Chet Atkins, Lyle Lovett and Rickie Lee Jones. He has recorded tunes by the likes of country legends Tom T. Hall and Johnny Cash, rockers Fleetwood Mac, The Byrds and Jefferson Airplane’s Jorma Kuakonen, and jazz band leader Carla Bley. He’s done two albums with Phish bassist Mike Gordon, and is a frequent guest on the radio show, “A Prairie Home Companion.”

ALL THAT JAZZ (& CLASSICAL)
The second night of the show on Friday, Aug. 24 emphasizes classical and jazz, and features classical guitarists Jason Vieaux and Martha Masters, followed by jazz masters Gene Bertoncini, Howard Alden and Lee Dyament with Emre Yilmaz.
Alden may well be the best of the lot, though the humble musician probably would never suggest that. But consider; he’s worked with Ruby Braff, Joe Williams, Woody Herman, and Dizzy Gillespie among many others. He’s made soundtracks, played in large bands, quartets, guitar trios and duos, and perhaps most demandingly, as a solo artist. Through it all his dazzling style remains understated and enjoyable.
Sometime too much so. While his music always sounds fully realized, his egoless solo style could be amped up considerably without losing its musicality, but Alden prefers to say things simply. His undeniable technique often translates better into live performance.
For Woody Allen’s “Sweet and Lowdown,” Alden even gave the notoriously prickly Sean Penn guitar lessons, spending six months working with him. Alden gave Penn, the student, high marks, but it was Alden’s playing on the soundtrack that received accolades.

ROCKIN’ OUT
Saturday, Aug. 25, the last night of the series, focuses on Hot Rock and Blues, with Kenny Olson, Jeff Bihlman, and John Defaria (guitarist for Gloria Estefan and Kenny Loggins) joining with rising stars Stoll Vaughan and Pablo Signori, as well as Interlochen’s own John Wunsch, who put the series together.
Wunsch noted that producing, coordinating and performing at the event is a challenge, but one that he finds very satisfying. “It’s exhausting, but it’s really great,” he said. “Jeff Bihlman, Kenny Olson and I have been rehearsing, and I think we’re going to have some pretty cool stuff.”

Much the same could be said for any of the nights. For ticket information, contact the Interlochen Box Office at 276-7800.

 
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