A series of essays wherein I explore the numerous musical identities of my favorite musician: from child prodigy to teen idol to guitar hero to singer/songwriter to award-winning in-demand film composer.
Featuring news/updates and commentary/analysis of Trevor's career and associated projects.
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Friday, July 28, 2017

Media Watch: playing favorites

On Wednesday, Guitar Tricks Insider magazine published an article in their "Essential Albums" series, featuring a list of Trevor's top five selections, which can be viewed via this link:

I thought it would be fun to compare those selections to the Desert Island Discs list he proffered to Tim Morse for the Yesstories book (published in 1996).  I have annotated each of these selections for further context.

In no particular order...
-1- Leonard Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic doing the 1812 Overture
(Trevor might be referring to the 1963 Columbia Masterworks release.)
-2- Ashkenazy playing the Rachmaninoff C-minor
(Trevor might be referring to Vladimir Ashkenazy's 1963 recording with the Moscow Philharmonic.)
-3- The Paganini caprices performed by Heifitz
(It seems Trevor is referring to more of a wishlist item than an actual recording, as it appears Jascha Heifitz only recorded three of Paganini's 24 caprices.)
-4- Any Schoenberg
(Trevor has cited Arnold Schoenberg as his musical hero in prior interviews.)
-5- Apocalypse - Mahavishnu Orchestra
(released in 1974)
-6- Electric Ladyland - Jimi Hendrix
(released in 1968)
-7- Bookends - Simon & Garfunkel
(released in 1966)
-8- The Bulgarian Choir
(It's not clear whether Trevor is referring to the Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir or Trio Bulgarka.)
-9- Anything with Oscar Peterson.  I love him - he's a tremendous player.
(When I interviewed him, Trevor told me jazz pianist Oscar Peterson was also his mother's favorite.)
-10- Rimsky-Korsakov, Scheherazade is one of my favorite pieces.
(Trevor has cited a specific recording of this composition in prior interviews, but I can't recall which one it was.)
-11- Antonio Carlos Jobim with Elis Regina did an album called Elis and Tom.  A phenomenal record.
(released in 1974)

It is clear when contrasting these lists that there is a focus on guitarists in the new list, whereas the other comprises music Trevor deeply loves, much of it classical.  However, it is a fitting list for a guitar magazine.

What is interesting about the new list is that it displays how heavily Trevor has been influenced by guitarist John McLaughlin - which I have commented on several times over the years - as of those five recordings, three are from projects featuring the fusion fire of Johnny Mac.  Electric Ladyland is the only overlap between the two lists and also another choice which speaks to his burgeoning influences, as Trevor has cited Hendrix multiple times and stated his father Godfrey was a fan as well.  In a 1995 interview when discussing his influences, he noted:
Hendrix was an amazing experience for me.  People say he was this great guitarist, but beyond that to me his lyrics, demeanor, production and his voice all had so much passion.
His choice of Return To Forever is also not surprising to me, as he has mentioned keyboardist Chick Corea as an influence, concurrent with his discovery of jazz fusion in the 1970s.  Romantic Warrior is the ensemble's most popular release, featuring the amazing talents of jazz legends Corea, Stanley Clarke, Al DiMeola and Lenny White.

And so for Trevor to name five classics of fusion (because Electric Ladyland can be considered from that same perspective, given how it blends blues, funk and psychedelia, for example) shows that his taste has always been deeper than what people would expect...and broader than they would imagine.