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Favorite keyboard player?
Van Dyke Parks 1%  1%  [ 1 ]
Don Preston 10%  10%  [ 7 ]
George Duke 58%  58%  [ 42 ]
Bob Harris #1 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
André Lewis 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Tommy Mars 25%  25%  [ 18 ]
Peter Wolf 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Bob Harris #2 1%  1%  [ 1 ]
Bobby Martin 3%  3%  [ 2 ]
Allan Zavod 1%  1%  [ 1 ]
Total votes : 72
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 1:20 pm 
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I voted in this one.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 3:06 pm 
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Mars, Ian, and from what he does on OZ, Andre Lewis


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 4:21 pm 
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Well, I didn't know much about FZ's band when I did this poll, that's why there's so many unimportant players in this poll.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 3:12 pm 
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Mars, as a risk taker, never fails to wow me. George Duke's time with Frank, when compared to his output in other pairings or on his own, seems like an experiment - Tommy actually IS as out there as he sounds. I do like the interplay between Tommy and Peter Wolf on the Baby Snakes material. Bobby Martin was a decent foil for Tommy as well, when he wasn't trying to oversing.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 3:27 pm 
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Yea I agree except George's work with Billy Cobham that live in Europe album is one of my favorites.

But Yea,.. Tommy really is out there.

My son's school principal played in a band with Bobby Martin and also Tower of Power.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 3:48 pm 
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Rick Wakeman

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Huck_Phlem wrote:
Yea I agree except George's work with Billy Cobham that live in Europe album is one of my favorites.

But Yea,.. Tommy really is out there.

My son's school principal played in a band with Bobby Martin and also Tower of Power.


Far out - Tower of Power is good tunes!

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 3:02 pm 
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Farks Zappa wrote:
Couldn't get everyone into the poll, so I took the more "important" ones.

Vote: Mars. Without doubt.


You Leave Out Ian Underwood and Eddie Jobson and put in the 2 Bob Harris's who cares about them? One of them was only on Filmore East, and I only know about the other one being on Buffalo (I don't have many of Zappa's albums from that era). Nether seem too important.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:50 am 
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They're all awesome for sure. I suppose I would have to pick Duke and Mars neck and neck.
Special mention to Wolf for his solo on "Sy Borg" and Jobson for "I Promise Not To Come In Your Mouth". Also, the Yamaha volcano piano solos by Zavad during the '84 tour. :wink:
I didn't make a poll selection, but Underwood should have been listed. :roll:


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:53 am 
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Oh that was Jobson on that? I didn't know that since I don't have any liner notes and only part of that album.

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FeralCats wrote:
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Why don't we just pretend the Van Dyke Parks entry says Ian Underwood, and vote for him there?


Because that's totally disrespectful.
I gave him a vote.



So I just saw this poll again, and looked at it and thought 'Who's the dumbass that voted for Van Dyke Parks?'

Ah, youth!


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:34 pm 
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I DID! I LIKE THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW ALL RIGHT?



no just kidding I don't even know what album(s) he played on.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:15 am 
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I thought it'd be nice to resurrect this topic, in the light of all this Tommy Mars discussion.

So, was he a "can he play anything" kind of a guy?

I think Zappa described the late George Duke as a "can play anything" kind of a guy, can't recall where. So playing wise he was probably the best FZ keyboardist. According to the Keyboard Magazine 1980 interview, people like "George don't grow on trees", which must be speaking volumes of his exceptional technique and talent.

My favourite keyboardist sound-wise was Don Preston though. He's the one that can stand up to all these Ratledges and Stewarts across the pond. And of course, anyone whose Minimoog solos impress Mr Robert Moog himself, has to be utterly brilliant.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 1:32 pm 
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Good idea bringing it to this thread.
I'm wondering which, if any, of the other keyboard players got as much room to stretch as George did? Dupree's gave him a lot more rope than nearly anyone I can think of. All the keyboardist would get solos here and there, but GD got a feature nearly every night for many shows.

For TM, I'm reminded of a BBC special on jazz FZ. TM and others talked about jazz and how FZ dealt with it. You hear from TM that he and many other band members came from a jazz background. I find this important as it seems to inform the roles of who did what in the band. I think alot about why FZ would pick one person just because he thought they were an interesting or unique person and others because they had physical abilities or educational training to perform parts that FZ had in mind.
I think I'm going to have to go back and give that another listen since I feel like I jumped off a cliff calling out the roles of TM and BM and now I'm going to have to reverse-engineer it to find out if I was right.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:50 pm 
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From the "Uncle Meat the next Project/Object" thread...

The Forum Killed Arkay wrote:
For me, when a player is that heavy on eyebrows, then it becomes a crutch in times when they could be putting more into it.
However, your post doesn't stand on its own, so I didn't need to contradict it. How many people in this world could play those tunes if they were to spend the time to properly do so? Thousands at least? Probably many millions over the years. So, imo, the ability to play difficult pieces alone, while not being commonplace, is not definitional for "can play anything".


I can't say I agree with the above either. But I guess it is debatable.

Anyway, according to your criteria, who would qualify as a "can play anything" player?



=============================



As far as the poll is concerned: for me, it's a tie between TM and GD (RIP, George... :cry: )...

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 5:01 am 
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Did not play with FZ but ; McCoy Tyner, Chick Corea, Chuck Leavell...........

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 5:40 am 
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Disco Boy wrote:
...according to your criteria, who would qualify as a "can play anything" player?...

I think its a good question for this thread because Keys is NOT the easy category. Vinnie is the easy category. There are plenty of examples of VC not only doing things that others cannot do, but having such a natural feel that I cannot imagine him hitting a clam. (Though I'm sure there are some out there) He is a player that is always in touch with what the conductor and other band members are up to and creative enough to make even filler parts entertaining.
Side note: Years ago, I heard someone talk about a drummer and say "I can listen to nothing but his highhat and be totally entertained." That has been a yardstick for me. Most drummers do at least 2 things at once - keep time, and drive the band. In rock, time is generally kept with the kick/snare or bottom up. In jazz, its top down, often with the ride or highhat (sock to the old folks). For most rock bands, the kick/snare is very loud, but most listeners don't focus on the kick/snare, they listen to the vocals or whatever the lead instrument is at the time. So, a drummer who has such a great awareness not only for his own playing, but how it fits in with the rest of the band and can make a pocket in the mix for a highhat that is driving a rock band or keeping time in a jazz band such that even if you got forget about all the other instruments, the highat still has character that rewards focus, for me, that is about as big a compliment a drummer can get.
Now back to the Keyboards, which I consider a much more difficult question.
If Keneally was in a theoretical FZ band today, he would be a "can play anything" player, imo. His sense of time and pitch are so "on" that people often give him low marks for being cold, when imo, he's just that "on", that capable of a performer, who is able to do the things he tells his body to do. Most people don't get "pitchy" because they choose to, but because those are the flaws in their technique. Maybe they sing on the flat side, or their rhythm tends to accelerate at times. Keneally is fuckin' ON pitch, ON time. However, he's really a guitarist, who also plays keys, so I guess that is why he is not on the list at the top of the page.
George Duke. I love George, my fav FZ keyboardist by FAR. But, he's not a "can play anything" player. He's funky, he's got soul, he's creative, he can do ALOT, but not anything. Funk and soul are about taking the composition and playing with time and pitch subtley and enjoyably. "Can play anything" includes that the performer can do whatever FZ puts on the page or gestures, not funkifying reggae or putting the soul in if speed metal is called for. If "can play anything" has a negative side effect it is that the performer yeilds to the composer's instruction.
As for the rest, they are all great in their own ways, but none of the others come close to "can play anything" imo. I am certainly willing to find out more though. This whole thing is making me want to dig into just what keyboard parts Keneally did play in the 88 band.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:22 am 
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Quote:
"can play anything"

Jack of all trades-master of none.

No one can play "everything". Not with authenticity.

The Forum Killed Arkay wrote:
Funk and soul are about taking the composition and playing with time and pitch subtley and enjoyably

Funk and soul are about feeling. Music is about feeling. The energy of the player is the most important thing. It's not about notes, key, arrangement, time signature, brand of instrument, brand of amp, technique, hair style, or the pooched out succulence of the insolent pouting rictus (etc). Being a musical sponge is educational but it's always been more influential and impressive when someone brings forth something unique from within rather than simply regurgitating all of the other styles they have sucked up.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:36 am 
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I'm not talking about perfection downer. I'm talking about being able to do what is required, not mastering all trades.

Music is about feeling a variety of things. Funk and soul do not have a lock on all possible feelings although many would have you believe otherwise.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 12:15 pm 
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The Forum Killed Arkay wrote:
Funk and soul do not have a lock on all possible feelings although many would have you believe otherwise.

I was not implying that funk and soul had a lock on all feeling. Anyone who would have you believe that is full of shit.

My point is:
Authenticity is where it's at.

Studying other cultures does not make you an expert on that culture. Living the culture is what makes you an authority. No one "can play anything". Perhaps they "can fake anything". Life experience trumps academic experience.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 12:29 pm 
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The Forum Killed Arkay wrote:
But, he's not a "can play anything" player. He's funky, he's got soul, he's creative, he can do ALOT, but not anything. Funk and soul are about taking the composition and playing with time and pitch subtley and enjoyably.


When George Duke was in the band, a second keyboard player would have been a waste of time, partly because of the type of stuff we were doing. George is so diverse; he can play just about any style, and he's got the discipline to play parts. He really understands how to comp; he's a really well rounded musician.


From this I can gather that FZ set GD above TM, because that quote was immediately followed by the statement of needing two keyboardists who fit into each other's liabilities, which is why he had TM and PW on double keys in the late 70s.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 4:56 pm 
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The Forum Killed Arkay wrote:
Disco Boy wrote:
...according to your criteria, who would qualify as a "can play anything" player?...

I think its a good question for this thread because Keys is NOT the easy category. Vinnie is the easy category. There are plenty of examples of VC not only doing things that others cannot do, but having such a natural feel that I cannot imagine him hitting a clam. (Though I'm sure there are some out there) He is a player that is always in touch with what the conductor and other band members are up to and creative enough to make even filler parts entertaining.
Side note: Years ago, I heard someone talk about a drummer and say "I can listen to nothing but his highhat and be totally entertained." That has been a yardstick for me. Most drummers do at least 2 things at once - keep time, and drive the band. In rock, time is generally kept with the kick/snare or bottom up. In jazz, its top down, often with the ride or highhat (sock to the old folks). For most rock bands, the kick/snare is very loud, but most listeners don't focus on the kick/snare, they listen to the vocals or whatever the lead instrument is at the time. So, a drummer who has such a great awareness not only for his own playing, but how it fits in with the rest of the band and can make a pocket in the mix for a highhat that is driving a rock band or keeping time in a jazz band such that even if you got forget about all the other instruments, the highat still has character that rewards focus, for me, that is about as big a compliment a drummer can get.
Now back to the Keyboards, which I consider a much more difficult question.
If Keneally was in a theoretical FZ band today, he would be a "can play anything" player, imo. His sense of time and pitch are so "on" that people often give him low marks for being cold, when imo, he's just that "on", that capable of a performer, who is able to do the things he tells his body to do. Most people don't get "pitchy" because they choose to, but because those are the flaws in their technique. Maybe they sing on the flat side, or their rhythm tends to accelerate at times. Keneally is fuckin' ON pitch, ON time. However, he's really a guitarist, who also plays keys, so I guess that is why he is not on the list at the top of the page.
George Duke. I love George, my fav FZ keyboardist by FAR. But, he's not a "can play anything" player. He's funky, he's got soul, he's creative, he can do ALOT, but not anything. Funk and soul are about taking the composition and playing with time and pitch subtley and enjoyably. "Can play anything" includes that the performer can do whatever FZ puts on the page or gestures, not funkifying reggae or putting the soul in if speed metal is called for. If "can play anything" has a negative side effect it is that the performer yeilds to the composer's instruction.
As for the rest, they are all great in their own ways, but none of the others come close to "can play anything" imo. I am certainly willing to find out more though. This whole thing is making me want to dig into just what keyboard parts Keneally did play in the 88 band.


Thanks for the explicit explanation.

My criteria for what a "can play anything" player is, would be that they can play anything. So, in terms of drummers, I would probably agree that Vinnie Colaiuta qualifies. But so would Mike Mangini (Dream Theater's new drummer). He can actually play in multiple time sigs with multiple limbs simultaneously. In terms of pianists/keyboardists however, there's too many to mention...

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:11 am 
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downer - It always seems we are always on the verge of agreeing, and then after the next post it seems we just need to clarify a bit more because we are on the verge of agreeing.

Ed - Good info, I'll check out the link when I get a chance.

DB - I know that Dream Theater has alot of talent. I've never been able to get into them though. Don't really have a good reason why, though I've tried. Different strokes and all that.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:52 am 
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downer - I am curious. With respect to your comments about feelings etc... What credit do you give Composers or Conductors over Performers? Should the composer just say "I did my part, its up to them now." Should the conductor insist that his interpretation trumps all band members or tell everyone to just do what they feel? I am being a bit sarcastic to draw an extreme in that "can play anything", imo, means that the the conducter's instruction must trump the band member's feelings and the band member must be someone who can deal with that.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 12:27 pm 
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The Forum Killed Arkay wrote:
downer - I am curious. With respect to your comments about feelings etc... What credit do you give Composers or Conductors over Performers? Should the composer just say "I did my part, its up to them now." Should the conductor insist that his interpretation trumps all band members or tell everyone to just do what they feel? I am being a bit sarcastic to draw an extreme in that "can play anything", imo, means that the the conducter's instruction must trump the band member's feelings and the band member must be someone who can deal with that.


If a serious composer has poured his heart and soul into a composition and wants it played exactly as written then that's what the performer needs to do. I am not usually a big fan of that particular approach to music because I prefer living, breathing music over music that is carved in stone. Once it's set in stone it's done. How many performances do I need to hear that sound (more or less) exactly the same? Slight nuances don't excite me. However, I respect composition and when you write as good as Zappa you should have players who will follow the written music.

Personally, I don't want to see Zappa conduct. I want to see him with his guitar. I want to see him with musicians that are his equal on their chosen instruments. I don't think Zappa had much faith in the improvisational skills of the later bands and so he did not leave as much of his compositions open to interpretation. When he started hiring geeks who he could easily boss around the music suffered.

Someone said Vinnie Colaiuta could play anything. That's ludicrous. He can probably sight read anything but the energy behind the performance is quelled by the restrictions on the page AND the fact that none of it comes from his own imagination. The man can't play authentic soul music. A drummer doesn't read his/her parts in most good soul music. Maybe the brass section has a chart.
Here's a list of people Vinnie has played with: Gino Vannelli, Joni Mitchell, Barbra Streisand, Sandy & Junior, Jay Vaquer, Clannad, Wang Chung, Chaka Khan, Megadeth, The Beach Boys, Leonard Cohen , Jeff Beck, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Jimmy Haslip, Quincy Jones, the Buddy Rich Big Band and Buell Neidlinger. He has also played with Chuck Loeb, David Goldblatt, David Sancious, Dean Brown, Jeff Porcaro, Jim Beard, John Patitucci, Joe Satriani, Mark Egan, Gigi D'Alessio, Robben Ford, and Tim Landers.
Just reading that list puts me to sleep. Still, I can't help but be impressed by Vinnie's incredible technique and precision. He obviously works very hard.

Steve Vai practiced 12 hours a day? That's like talking for 12 hours and then going up on stage to give a lecture. There's nothing left to say! It's absurd. No wonder Vai seems so uninspired. It's like jerking off for 12 hours and then trying to fuck.


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