Maciek, electric guitarist

Maciek is an electric guitarist from London, who recently moved to New Zealand where he lives with his wife. He currently plays live music in and around Hamilton and has performed at several jazz and blues music festivals in the very short time since his arrival here. His performance at the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival led to this quote from Sam Edwards of Waikato Times (23rd Feb 2015):

“…delivering a virtuoso and musically informed lesson in guitar

Maciek’s early influence was the “British Invasion” pop music which he first heard on Radio Luxembourg, since it was virtually impossible to get the original records in his birthplace communist Poland. Then he heard Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix, which provided instant motivation to learn the guitar. Later, Miles Davis and the plethora of electric jazz stars like Herbie Hancock, Weather Report, Return To Forever, Mahavishnu Orchestra etc. contributed further highs of musical inspiration. More recently, Maciek has been delving into earlier era of blues and jazz as well as listening to various musics from around the Globe.

Inspired by living in the Southern Hemisphere, Maciek is also composing tunes for the, not-yet-recorded, NZ-influenced first solo album.

Is Kemper Profiler any good live?

Kemper ProfilerI’ve been using my Kemper Profiler amp for 18 months for practicing and recording and I absolutely love it. I use 4 basic profiles which I tweaked over time so they feel right for my style of bluesy jazz. In some way I also changed the way I play precisely because of the way the profiled amps respond to my fingers. However, the biggest downside so far was that I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) use it live, so the tunes I wrote with the Kemper never sounded on stage like I really wanted them to sound. I am not complaining, I use a gorgeous Two-Rock Studio Pro 35 with a couple of overdrives in front and I really enjoy that sound, alas this is NOT the amp I used for the original recordings. So I’ve just ordered a pair of FRFR speakers:powered Yamaha DBR10s. It took me 18 months to do this, so it wasn’t exactly an impulse buy. David at Shearers Music Works in Hamilton let me  test for hours various speakers at a ridiculous volume, till I settled on DBR10s. At 700 peak watts per speakers I should be OK(!) for volume, but most importantly this is THE sound I always wanted. I’ll be testing them with Banda de la Casa gig at Nivara next Thursday (if they arrive in time of course). I bet I’ll be needing stands, music cables, power extensions, MIDI leads, bags to carry it in… I hope it is worth it. To be continued…

Oz Noy Trio with Dave Weckl

Weckl bluenote
My friend John​ and I were talking about drummers and we agreed that we don’t like the sound of amazing but “technical” drummers like Dave Weckl. So here’s a clip of Oz Noy trio in which Weckl’s drumming is fantastic. Shows you that a good tune is everything.

The Thrill Is Gone: B.B. King is dead…

b.b. king
B.B. King Live in Audimax the Hamburg Uni, November 1971. Photo Heinrich Klaffs

B.B. King has always been a part of my music life, so I still can’t quite believe that he is dead. B.B. was a huge influence on me. I remember desperately trying to get the sweet tone, the perfect bends and the trembling vibrato when I was a young electric guitar hopeful in, then Communist, Poland. I never had any of BBs records; in fact hardly anyone had them, since you couldn’t buy them in the shops. But I had a Russian-made reel-to-reel recorder and I taped some of his tunes from the radio broadcasts. Despite endless practice, I never got B.B. King’s guitar tone. Initially I blamed it on my Egmond electric guitar, but much later in 1975, after I came to London and had an opportunity to try a Gibson ES-345 in a shop in Denmark Street, I realized that B.B. King sounds like B.B. King because he is… B.B. King.

I had one opportunity to come near to B.B. King, but I never did meet him. Sometime in the mid 1980s, I was working with a fantastic jazz blues singer Carol Grimes. One day Carol received a call from a promoter asking if she and her band could do a sound check for B.B. King. His plane was late, so he and the band would have to drive from Heathrow straight to the Royal Festival Hall and immediately start playing. Carol called the band and we decided to do it. I was quietly hoping that I might get a chance to meet the great man. It wasn’t to be: after hanging around for hours in the RFH, we got to finally play The Thrill Is Gone, but got stopped 15 times for sound adjustments and told to go home.

I will never meet B.B. King, but he will stay with me for the rest of my days.

Nivara Lounge solo gig – Kemper Profiling Amp 10 April 2015

I thoroughly enjoyed my solo gig at the Nivara Lounge in Hamilton and, most importantly, seeing my friends who came to support me – thank you all!  This was my first live outing of the Kemper Profiling Amp and the results are encouraging. (Kemper website).  I think I will really enjoy taking my produced studio sound to live venues. In case you don’t know, Nivara Lounge is a vibrant, atmospheric music club catering to all sorts of musical tastes ranging from very loud punk, rock and dance to quieter jazz, folk and world music – all of it interesting and often experimental. Here is a video clip from the performance and some photos. The tune is Cissy Strut (The Meters), but I am using chord changes devised by John Scofield.


Guthrie Trapp – Telecaster player supreme

I am a Strat player, Amen! I have other guitars, but Strats fit my body (read: man-boob) perfectly, sound exactly right and I understand how to set them up and make them sound how I like it. The whammy bar sits under my palm all the time, so whenever I pickup and non-whammy guitar, it takes me some time to lose the involuntary reflex to find the bar! However, I would really like to play a Telecaster. I love its simplicity, balance and the tone, but the slab body feels as comfortable as wearing a t shirt made out of plywood! Crucially, there is no whammy bar! So it gives me a great pleasure to hear an amazing player to re-ignite my desire to play a Tele and learn to live with all the bits I miss. Here is Guthrie Trapp. He may not be a household name yet, but he has worked with Garth Brooks, Allison Kraus, Lyle Lovett and others. And not just country either: Mike Mills of R.E.M. or Phish‘s Mike Gordon. Crucially he writes his own tunes and gigs with a power trio. I reallyb enjoy his fusion of country sound, blues and jazz licks with rock-inspired riffs. Have a look, what do you think?

Okoroire Blues Event, 28 Feb 2015

At the Hamilton Blues Society Okoroire Blues Event. Fantastic atmosphere, great music and delicious hot weather.

So What (written by Miles Davis) Cover

A quick rendition of Miles Davis’ So What from his classic album Kind of Blue, I simply wanted to highlight the nice tone of the Ibanez guitar.

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Sound Partners Quartet, London 1st May 2014

Tiny packed jazz club Café in London’s Forest Gate. Alison Rayner bass, Marc Pell drums, John Bennett trombone.

Joni Mitchell’s A Case Of You

I think this is simply the best love song ever written – Joni Mitchell is a genius! This is a simple instrumental edition with a looper. I couldn’t possibly sing this song, so I’m attempting to “sing” it on the guitar.

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