LIVE AT THE GOTHIC THEATRE
I have been privileged to know many fantastic musicians in my life, and will know many more before it is done. But none has made a greater impression on me than Steve Kimock. He is one of the best guitarists of his generation, and outside of the jam band arena, where he is a phenomenon, his talent is still awaiting due recognition, though his name grows every year. Jerry Garcia told Guitar Player magazine that Steve was his "favorite unknown guitarist" and Bruce Hornsby once told me that he didnt like to gig without him anymore if he could help it. I should have saved that photo of Steve and Bruce in tuxedos playing at the White House for Bill Clinton.
We played together many years in our youth, which is covered somewhat in our interview with Steve a year or two ago. In fact, the very touching fourth tune on this DVD, "One For Brother Mike," was written for my brother who died in San Francisco last year, a truly amazing guy. You can imagine that it was quite an experience for this reviewer to listen to that and have it all come to life, and have the old times and places wash over me, and see my old friend eulogize Mike in this beautiful rock and roll way. Its a beautiful piece. Mikey used to love the jazz quartets of the 50s and 60s, I know Steve and I each spent many special times with Mike listening to just that
Kimock has long been my favorite guitar player, his playing changed my life forever. Just the way he approached the guitar, thought about it, practiced it, battled and made love to it. He became so one with his instrument over his lifetime that it became something with which he could tap into and actually affect the lives of others in a very obvious and yet mysterious way. I must sound much less than objective, and surely I am. But what good is objectivity when you're turning on your friends to something great in the arts? Im just always looking for things that will enliven me, move me, awaken me, and pierce the armor that I use to operate in the world. And Steves playing has always done all those things, and always will, I hope.
This show is a New Years show at The Gothic Theatre in Denver. It features the legendary Alphonso Johnson on bass, who has played with around fifty of the top names in jazz, and been a member of Weather Report and Santana. The consistently astonishing drummer is Rodney Holmes, also formerly a member of Santana. Mitch Stein on second guitar is a respected NYC jazz player, invisible and indispensable, the man in the middle. The newest ensemble member is another old friend of ours and Steve's, Jim Kost, a piano prodigy with whom we lived in Marin County in the 70s.
There are many outstanding moments in this show, and many hippies swaying to the K-waves. My favorites are the very surprising quiet passages of deep musicality, reminding the listener that this is "guitar music," not a jam--its improvised music, tunes with 3 or 4 parts, and fabulous players to carry it off.
Ill put it this way: if youre what you call a fan of the guitar, this is a must have. (You can pick this up as a CD/DVD combo package at kimock.com, by the way.) Steve Kimock, he just Is what the guitar is to me, no different than Hendrix or Michael Hedges, Clarence White or Jimmy Page. Buy this DVD and turn your friends on to it, it's a groove. (And thanks to our friend Rick Childs for sending this our way.) FG