“Ode to G” – John Pin music video
Since anyone familiar with JazzGuitarSociety knows that I have had a both artistic and a business relationship with John Pin for many years, I feel like I have to start this review with a disclaimer: I have always been someone who lacks the ability to exaggerate or falsely express any musical opinions in anyway, which probably didn’t help me in my career sometimes in the highly political Los Angeles music scene, but like the Popeye the Sailor Man old cartoon character used to say, “I am what I am”, it is what it it.
So that being said, I wouldn’t be writing this review if I didn’t have some legitimate and sincerely great things to say about this new track that John is releasing. “Ode to G” is his tribute to blues-rock guitar great Gary Moore, but Pin draws from all the musical sensibilities that he has collected over his years of playing everything from 50s style rock as a youth, to learning jazz and fusion at Musician’s Institute in his mid-20s, to his writing in multiple genres producing music tracks for international music libraries that are used constantly in broadcast around the world in this genre stretching example that pushes the guitar hero mold.
It’s based harmonically on a standard variation of what’s known as a “minor blues” but he constantly adds chords that swerve of the beaten path just when your ear thinks that it knows what’s coming next. His sound on the melody is beefy and commanding, and the melody is strong, always interesting, and delivered in the muscular insistent style I’ve always come to love in Jeff Beck’s best work.
When it comes time for John’s solo, he draws you in by turning down and getting introspective to begin, and then revs through the gears into some really unique uses of the tremolo arm on what I think is his old Valley Arts Stratocaster that he picked up during his time in LA. His whammy bar trick’ here get some effects that I don’t think I’ve heard others do before, with a lot of very high harmonics that you need to hear to believe. His note choice is the very definition of taste, always giving the feeling of the consummate technician on their instrument that CAN play more notes, but only will do so when it serves the music, which is an attribute that I hold in very high regard for any musician that I listen to.
He returns to the melody at the end and then wistfully and thoughtfully signs out of the tune with one last sort of “guitar farewell” lick. What I really respect about this track is that while most any fan of blues/rock/fusion guitar is going to love this, you don’t need to be a guitarist to emotionally respond to the power of both the composition and the emotional power of the playing here. If he has a lot more where this came from – and I think he does – he will do really well in this sonic space he is occupying so well.
Here is the link to the youtube clip (its available on all streaming now)
January 6, 2022