I’ve decided to just run through some guitarists I admire. But not just any guitarists. Last week I did guitarists I admired: acoustic blues guitarists. I want to focus now on electric guitar players with a focus on people who craft sound as well as music. Today, I’ve picked Joe Satriani. Now he isn’t such a sound craftsman. But I do love the sounds he makes. But mostly he’s just really good without a lot of nonsense. He keeps the focus on the music.
Well, I’ll admit: live he can become a bit much. But that’s what you expect from a jazz musician. And that is basically what Joe Satriani is. It’s just that he insists on not playing jazz. He is a lot like Frank Zappa. They are guys who I think want (wanted) to play jazz but know (knew) where the money was. Regardless, Satriani’s music has a jazz fusion feel to it. But it’s missing the harmonic complexity to really delight me.
Still, it’s hard not to listen to him play just about anything and not sit in awe. Music is interesting in that an instrument in the wrong hands just is noise. And that’s especially true on the guitar. In the hands of someone like Joe Satriani, it sounds like he was born attached to it — like he’s singing rather than playing.
Anyway, here is probably the first song of his I ever noticed, “Always With Me, Always With You” off his second album, Surfing with the Alien. It appeals to me more than his hard rocking numbers. Because I’m an old guy now. But really, how can you not love this, except that it was once overplayed: