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Author Topic: That West Coast Sound  (Read 4389 times)

Offline klause

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That West Coast Sound
« on: September 24, 2013, 11:06:03 AM »
Anybody here into stuff from Boz Scaggs, TOTO, Kenny Loggins, Christopher Cross, Ambrosia, Eric Tagg, Steely Dan, Airplay, The Doobie Brothers, Bill La Bounty, The Player, Kittyhawk, old Chicago, Bill Champlin, EWF, Mr. Mister and the likes?

Its songwriting with a dash of rock and great harmonies, sometimes veering in a jazzier direction, a couple of solos in one neat pop format. Not too fast, not too loud - but with just enough groove to keep it going.

Eto yata ang mga playlist ng 80s-90s OPM supergroups, if I'm not mistaken: Old Side A, Artstart,  Second Wind, Passage, etc.

There are even accounts that it contributes to the evolution of smooth-pop jazz (?)

Though net info usually define the West Coast - AOR Pop differently (e.g, made by studio musicians, soft rock, album oriented, etc.), I still can't find the elusive factor that makes it different from the rest.

I really wonder what it is.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2013, 04:14:12 PM by klause »


Well, yeah.

Offline Deacon Blues

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Re: That West Coast Sound
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2013, 07:28:47 PM »
Hmmm ... how about Jeff Porcaro and his trademark shuffle groove.

It's all over those records released during that era.
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Offline klause

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Re: That West Coast Sound
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2013, 09:36:52 AM »
Hmmm ... how about Jeff Porcaro and his trademark shuffle groove.

It's all over those records released during that era.

Hey Deacon

I guess that's one glaring element. The Morning" by Al Jarreau/ "The Girl is Mine" groove?

Reminds me of Side A's "Di Pa Huli" and Second Wind's "Gising Na".

 
Well, yeah.

Offline Deacon Blues

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Re: That West Coast Sound
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2013, 03:21:32 PM »
There's also that ubiquitous Yamaha DX-7 sound.  :)
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Offline klause

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Re: That West Coast Sound
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2013, 09:23:33 AM »
There's also that ubiquitous Yamaha DX-7 sound.  :)

...which the EPs, I'm not much of a fan (by preference, ha ha ha). I lean towards the vintage-y patches. Well, every hit between those times should be stamped "Powered by DX-7".

Here's another: The use of early arpeggiators  (Synclaviers?) bubbling underneath.  :-D

I've also observed the defined chord changes (Chorus, Verse, Modulate, Solo Outro) that tied songs into a whole, as opposed to crap songs with good parts. Parang ito rin yata nag naging template ng OPM 80s?

Well, yeah.


Offline dannygatton

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Re: That West Coast Sound
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2013, 09:27:07 AM »
There's also that ubiquitous Yamaha DX-7 sound.  :)

Fender Rhodes in the 70s, Yamaha DX-7 in the 80s? Ganun ba iyon? How about the '90s?  IMHO '90s to the turn of 21st century jazz reverts back to bebop  or I would call neo-bop.  Pat Metheny is probably the most influential.  Jimmy Bruno and the Italian mafia jazz guitarists of the east coast were big.  It was also the golden age of custom made archtop makers led by Benedetto.  Charlie Hunter is equally amazing.  On saxophone, Joshua Redman was ambassador of the 40s-50s bop, and free-jazz of Coltrane.  On Piano, Lyle Mays, Brad Mehldau and Diana Krall shunned the electric keys and opted for the more acoustic grand piano-- all reminiscent of Bill Evans. 
« Last Edit: October 02, 2013, 09:31:51 AM by dannygatton »

Offline klause

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Re: That West Coast Sound
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2013, 10:08:57 AM »

Mismo Sir Danny,

Every era seemed to have its own 'sound'.

The 70s (Rhodes, Wurly, B3s) The 80s (Yamaha CP, DX-7 Tine EPS).

The 90s , IMO had a lack of distinct sound. Younger artists sampled most of theirs sounds as mentioned. Even the nu-pop artists would use  libraries from the vintage catalog: Rhodes, ARPs, Moog, etc. Jamiroquai, SOS, James Taylor Quartet, MM&W, (the whole acid jazz lot, to be exact) D'Angelo, even Maroon 5.

Speaking of neobop, If I'm not mistaken Wynton brought the music to the fore, yet at a certain point they all had to go their separate ways (or revert?): Roy Hargrove, Nic Payton, Todd Williams, and more.
Well, yeah.

Offline klause

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Re: That West Coast Sound
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2013, 10:09:52 AM »
Oh yeah, how can I forget Jay Graydon?  :)
Well, yeah.

Offline Deacon Blues

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Re: That West Coast Sound
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2013, 03:54:11 PM »
Jay Graydon!!! Now there's an unsung guitar hero. Totally dig his sound and style.

Here's an interesting read.

From the Gospel according to Luke:

http://www.stevelukather.com/news-articles/2010/05/steve-lukather-session-stories.aspx
"No static at all ..."

Offline Deacon Blues

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Re: That West Coast Sound
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2013, 04:03:25 PM »
Here's a nice highlight from the Cool Hand Luke article:


ONE INTERESTING THING ABOUT the glory days of the session scene was that you typically didn’t get an opportunity to sound like yourself until you made your mark. Until then, you’d show up, and the producers might throw all these names at you to explain which guitarist they wanted you to sound like. As a young guy coming up, that would always piss me off. I’d go, “Yeah, everybody wants to sound like Larry Carlton, but not everyone is Larry Carlton!” It would be really frustrating to kind of keep within the lines—you know what I mean? Now, everyone’s favorite influences come out in their playing—and I was certainly influenced by Larry—but what you usually get is a bunch of yourself coming out along with a little bit of whatever influenced you. That’s how you discover and define your own style—you can’t get there by copying someone else completely.

So if you wanted to bring your own approach into the studio, you really had to try to blow people’s minds and get your style into their heads. Playing on a hit always helped, because then some of the producers around town would look for the guy who helped make that song successful. And if all the planets aligned, man, they might not ask you to sound like someone else anymore. That was a major triumph for me when that happened.

But I can’t complain too much about having to absorb other players’ styles for certain producers, because it’s all knowledge I was able to use in other areas of my career. This was incredibly helpful to me in everything from helping plan chart success for my band projects and solo stuff, to all the tracks I’ve produced, to arranging or writing for other artists, to jamming on stage with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, Eddie Van Halen, Elton John, Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson, George Harrison and Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne and Jim Keltner, and all the other incredible guitar players I’ve had the honor of playing with. I learned a lot, and I gained a lot of confidence. And when you’re confident, you can allow yourself to let go of certain things—of fear, perhaps— and just create. Sometimes, it’s scary and humbling, but also a lot of fun and a great honor to play with people I love, and who helped shape me as the musician I am. You also can’t be afraid to make mistakes. We all do. And they go by fast—unless some [sausage] on YouTube points out: “Watch at 1:34 where he f**ks up.” I will never get that, but, hey, that’s for another time. LOL.

One critical lesson the session world taught me was to be mentally and technically prepared for the unknown. I’ve said it before in these columns—the pressure was on when the engineer hit the Record button, and you had to deliver. So what mental tools can you use to survive and succeed—whatever path you take in the music industry? Humor is good. Confidence is good. Belief in yourself is a big one, too. Whatever you do, just be the best you can be. Don’t bullsh*t yourself or the music, and you’ll kill it. Trust me.
"No static at all ..."

Offline klause

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Re: That West Coast Sound
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2013, 05:06:34 PM »
Hey Deac,

Thanks for sharing that great read. Funnily, I was reading it and Gabe just called - who brought another junk guitar for experiment, hahaha. Talk of synchronicity.

Anyhows, Luke's comment on the studio was spot on. It reminds me of Jeff Beck's interview one time, on missing the pressure of having to nail takes. "You've got to shine when its red light time", Beck says. And, Luke ended up touring with Carlton. How bad can you get?   :drool:

In the 80s Christian contemporary arena, two names spring in the same vein: Dann Huff of Whiteheart  and Chris Rodriguez (Michael W. Smith, recently with Keith Urban and Kenny Loggins).

The skillful studio musicians are obviously the soul in the west Coast sound, having to wear many musical hats on call. Working with the elite producers and artists are perhaps the best education one can get in the industry.

Well, here's something to close and cruise the Tuesday.


Could it be Steve Gadd on drums?



Well, yeah.

Offline Deacon Blues

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Re: That West Coast Sound
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2013, 06:34:05 PM »
Hey Klause!

You got a new toy! And it ain't even Christmas yet.  :)

Dan Huff. To this day, his solo on Kenny Loggins' 'Meet Me Halfway' still makes me sit up, wait and analyze what makes it tick.

As for the Manhattan Transfer tune, the poster laid out the credits. It IS Steve Gadd on drums.

Jay Graydon shines on that one too. Come to think of it, that solo sounds pretty much like what he did on the Dan's 'Peg.' He can get pretty wild with his bends. I remember seeing a Youtube vid of his where he was demoing a solo he did for some record, and through all of it, he plays with a really nice dirt tone. Can't recall what it was though.

"No static at all ..."

Offline klause

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Re: That West Coast Sound
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2013, 09:08:02 AM »
Hey Klause!

You got a new toy! And it ain't even Christmas yet.  :)

Dan Huff. To this day, his solo on Kenny Loggins' 'Meet Me Halfway' still makes me sit up, wait and analyze what makes it tick.

As for the Manhattan Transfer tune, the poster laid out the credits. It IS Steve Gadd on drums.

Jay Graydon shines on that one too. Come to think of it, that solo sounds pretty much like what he did on the Dan's 'Peg.' He can get pretty wild with his bends. I remember seeing a Youtube vid of his where he was demoing a solo he did for some record, and through all of it, he plays with a really nice dirt tone. Can't recall what it was though.

Hey Deac,

So! It's Huff on that KL hit. That is one bootiful line there - solo and outro. Honestly, I'm more bent to air guitar to this than shredfest numbers he he he.

My bad on the Gadd. Never read the notes. On Graydon, I've watched parts of the Youtube clips. It's amazing how these guys have developed the discipline to come up with 'swak' parts ano? The making of Peg just shows how involved Steely Dan were - must be aliens.

ST: deac and dannygatton, thanks for the inputs on this thread. It's nice to have a relevant place to go, PMwise. No more GC for me, I guess. Ha ha ha.
Well, yeah.

Offline Deacon Blues

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Re: That West Coast Sound
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2013, 02:25:49 PM »
Hey Santa (Klause)  :-D

Careful what you say. The GC police might be lurking around. Haha!

I must admit I haven't checked out GC for quite some time. I actually still spend more time at the classifieds.

The relevance of any thread all depends on the shared sentiments of its contributors, I suppose. Of course, it's always a bonus to learn something new from the discussion.


So, going back on topic, if there was a West Coast sound, could there have been an East Coast sound just as well?
"No static at all ..."

Offline klause

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Re: That West Coast Sound
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2013, 03:34:14 PM »
Hey Santa (Klause)  :-D

Careful what you say. The GC police might be lurking around. Haha!

I must admit I haven't checked out GC for quite some time. I actually still spend more time at the classifieds.

The relevance of any thread all depends on the shared sentiments of its contributors, I suppose. Of course, it's always a bonus to learn something new from the discussion.


So, going back on topic, if there was a West Coast sound, could there have been an East Coast sound just as well?

Hey Deac,

Hahahaha! A variant of Cohen's Jazz Police?

Well honestly I've been there and out to check if tatablan pa ako ng GAS.  :-D Sadly, mukhang wala nang fix. At wala ng pera.

BTT:  Am not sure, but baka this is the key to the unseen 'division' between the areas? East includes NY  - the 'hungri-er', 'raw-err' sound (of jazz) as opposed to the 'sunny' studio sound of L.A. isn't it?

They'd say West is smooth jazz, East is jazz' darker side - the avant garde, the experimental, the musos.

I may be wrong though. 
Well, yeah.

Offline dannygatton

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Re: That West Coast Sound
« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2013, 03:48:10 PM »
So, going back on topic, if there was a West Coast sound, could there have been an East Coast sound just as well?

EAST COAST Session guitarists: David Spinozza, Steve Khan, Cornell Dupree, Nile Rodgers, Elliot Randall, John Tropea, etc.

WEST COAST: Graydon, Lukather, Dan Huff, Landau, Carlton, Ritenour, etc.

STEELY DAN is east & west schizo; Fagen and Baxter are really from New York but made it big in sunny west coast. But it did not stop them from squeezing that New York dark wit, and Greenwich Village bop into their music.

N.B.. thanks deacon and klause for your insightful exchange. Yes G.C. is for kids, hehe.

Offline klause

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Re: That West Coast Sound
« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2013, 04:40:53 PM »
EAST COAST Session guitarists: David Spinozza, Steve Khan, Cornell Dupree, Nile Rodgers, Elliot Randall, John Tropea, etc.

Oh, Spinozza was East? That's a whole lot there danny. I remember years ago I was on a personal hunt for the guitar player behind Sergio Mendes' "Love City" and some say its Spinozza, some say its Sembelo.

Well they say, if you can make it there (NY) you'll make it anywhere.

One guy who is also primal in that West Sound would have to be Lee Sklar - gets better every time.

And er, David Foster?
Well, yeah.

Offline dannygatton

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Re: That West Coast Sound
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2013, 04:53:34 PM »
Oh, Spinozza was East? That's a whole lot there danny. I remember years ago I was on a personal hunt for the guitar player behind Sergio Mendes' "Love City" and some say its Spinozza, some say its Sembelo.

Well they say, if you can make it there (NY) you'll make it anywhere.

One guy who is also primal in that West Sound would have to be Lee Sklar - gets better every time.

And er, David Foster?

James Taylor tapped a number of East Coast sessionists: Spinozza, Sklar, Steve Gadd.  Paul Simon's 50 ways I think is also manned by East Coasters.

Speaking of which--Klause and Deacon, are there known Ilocano guitar players?.  I was thinking of adding it to the West Coast, East Coast....  and Ilo-coast (hehe)

Offline Deacon Blues

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Re: That West Coast Sound
« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2013, 06:35:46 PM »
Ilo-coast! Hahaha! Nice one.

As for klause query about the 'Love City' guitarist (which is something I've been wondering about too. I've always thought it was Lee Rit), I tried Googling and found this:


Credits

    Art Direction, Design – Tony Lane (2)
    Bass – Anthony Jackson, Donald Ballard, Michael McKinney*, Nathan Watts
    Congas, Percussion – Chacal
    Drums – David Hall (6), Ronald Ballard, Stephen Gadd*
    Engineer [Recording, Assistant] – Michael Ebert (2)
    Engineer [Recording] – Geoff Gillette
    Guitar – Michael Sembello
    Guitar, Electric Piano [Fender Piano], Producer [Assistant] – Oscar Castro Neves*
    Guitar, Saxophone – Hank Redd
    Mastered By – John Golden
    Percussion – Laudir Oliveira*, Sebastião Neto, Steve Foreman*
    Percussion [Brazilian] – Bibiu, Dico, Testa
    Photography – Reid Miles
    Piano [Acoustic] – Don Freeman
    Piano, Clavinet – Stevie Wonder
    Producer, Keyboards – Sergio Mendes*
    Synthesizer [Minimoog / Harp String] – Ian Underwood
    Synthesizer [Minimoog] – Cliff Coulter*
    Synthesizer [Oberheimer Polyphonic] – David Grusin*
    Trombone – David Stout
    Trumpet – Harry Kim
    Vocals [Singers] – Carol Rogers, Cruz Baca, Marietta Waters

Notes
Recorded and mastered at Kendun Recorders January / February 1977
℗ & © 1977 Elektra/Asylum Records
Mfg. by Elektra/Asylum/Nonesuch Records
Printed in U.S.A


Cool, huh?

I never thought Mike Sembello could play jazz. But then again, I really never heard much from him other than 'Maniac' and 'Automatic Man'

But then again, that's just an assumption. It could've been any of the other two guys.
"No static at all ..."

Offline Jaco D

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Re: That West Coast Sound
« Reply #19 on: October 04, 2013, 12:28:55 AM »
So, going back on topic, if there was a West Coast sound, could there have been an East Coast sound just as well?

Wouldn't this more or less be representative of the CTI catalog from way, way back in the 70s/80s?

East coast, west coast...I miss this kind of music!  Though you could still find them nowadays, it takes a bit more effort to find them not like before.  Heck, a contemporary jazz station that kept me connected with the genre changed programming sometime during the past five years.  If it's any consolation, I've been lucky enough to see Steely Dan (and their different iterations) live many times over the past two decades or so - Fagen and Becker, Fagen with Mike McDonald and Bozz Scaggs (Dukes of September), New York Rock and Soul Revue, etc.

Oh yeah, that Carolyn Leonheart is hot!

Offline klause

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Re: That West Coast Sound
« Reply #20 on: October 04, 2013, 09:08:31 AM »
Hey Jaco,

I was mum about it, but since you did bring in the name -

Carolyn!  :) I'm trying not to be distracted on that DVD.

Ilo-coast guitar players on Lo-Coast housings? he he he.

Hey Deac, thanks for the list. Yeah,  its the CTI Catalog. As for the guitar player, my bet's on Sembello -  Castro Neves, as far is I know does Brazilian stuff in nylon string. Will check on Hank Redd though.

Jaco, it must be a blast seeing the guys live. If there's one act I wish PIJazz could drag in, it would be them.

Sharing some random studio heaven:

Michael McDonald's  "reverse" EP comp on "Minute by Minute"

Steve Gadd's double time insanity on "Aja"

Denny Dias on "Do it Again"

Every instrument on "Rosanna"

David Paich synth solo on '99'
 
Greg Phillingaines synth solo on 'One Hundred Ways'.

Man, what do these guys eat? :)



Well, yeah.

Offline Deacon Blues

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Re: That West Coast Sound
« Reply #21 on: October 05, 2013, 02:00:12 PM »
Well, well ... look who's here.

Welcome on board, Jaco!

Haven't seen you around for some time.

Is this turning into a Carolyn Leonhart appreciation thread?  :)

Actually, that's the very first thing I noticed when I saw the early Dan reunion concerts.

She's a babe indeed!

Forget about Jon Herrington and all those aging rockstars  :) :)

Klause, those are indeed priceless musical moments captured on vinyl.

I could come up with my own list, but that would take some time.

Keep em coming guys.
"No static at all ..."

Offline klause

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Re: That West Coast Sound
« Reply #22 on: October 05, 2013, 04:40:20 PM »
Indeed welcome, Jaco  :)

Bad bad cameraman, must focus on...Caro..ling this Christmas.

A lot of great moments are found which made me wait for radio in that pre digital era. I remembered how Bob James and Klugh were staple music beds for sitcoms and ads. 
Well, yeah.

Offline Deacon Blues

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Re: That West Coast Sound
« Reply #23 on: October 05, 2013, 05:30:43 PM »
Yeah bro!

I remember how Jean Luc Ponty's 'Egocentric Molecules' figured in a bank ad way, way back. Was it Banco Filipino? I can't recall now.

And while I'm not sure if it came from a smooth jazz ditty, I remember the John and Marsha soundtrack where it breaks into this Fender Rhodes solo. Haha! Who would've thought ...
"No static at all ..."

Offline Deacon Blues

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Re: That West Coast Sound
« Reply #24 on: October 05, 2013, 05:42:11 PM »
Well, whaddaya know...

Turns out the John en Marsha theme song was actually a tune from Quincy Jones called 'Rubber Ducky.'


Geez, we learn something new everyday, huh?

"Kaya ikaw John ... "  :-D
"No static at all ..."