10 Seconds: Nigel Price
1. Wes Montgomery - Blue 'n Boogie (7'00" - 7'10")
From Wes Montgomery - Full House (1962)
" This is the ultimate live album. Apparently the gig was so packed that they pointed speakers out of the windows to cater for the crowds of people outside who couldn’t get in! Johnny Griffin whips up the crowd in this incredible solo which peaks at 7mins - 7mins 10 seconds (or thereabouts). Sometimes when you’re playing you’re not too sure if the crowd’s on your side but in this case there is no doubt as they start whooping and hollering as Johnny takes it where everybody wants it to go!"
2. Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass - The Very Thought of You (1'49" - 1'59")
From Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass - Live at Ronnie Scott’s (1974)
"Sometimes my favourite parts of records go beyond the music. This performance from Ella Fitzgerald at Ronnie Scott’s, London 1974 was recorded and released as an album. The band was star-studded. Tommy Flanagan on piano, I think it was Bobby Durham on drums and Keter Betts on double bass, but for a lot of those in attendance the biggest presence in the room was Joe Pass who was absolutely on top of his game, having recorded the seminal solo guitar album ‘Virtuoso’ just one year previously. The excitement in the club is palpable. The crowd know they are in the presence of greatness and these heavyweight US jazz stars do not make it across the pond very often.
The thing about that gig at Ronnie’s is that Ella was bursting with confidence and literally sang all night. That’s great, but none of these incredible musicians got a solo. Not one. All night. Except for this one by Joe Pass, which kind of adds to the understanding of why this moment is special! It seems a bit odd to choose the moments before the solo but what I absolutely love is the way Ella sets him up without breaking step by incorporating the words “Play one Joe” into the lyrics, but then it’s the subsequent delighted moans of euphoric anticipation from some of the crowd that really does it for me. Not because of what Joe is playing right at that moment but because they know he’s just about to blow their minds!
It’s a moment in history that can never be repeated again."
3. John McLaughlin - Florianapolis (10'17" - 10'27")
From John McLaughlin - Live at the Festival Hall (1989)
“John has to be the greatest technical player of all time. This is an epic 15 minute track, riddled with virtuosity. It would be potentially very hard to pick a moment within this track that is any more mind blowing then any other but it’s this moment, during a section of impossibly fast and complex guitar synthesiser backing, where he and the legendary percussionist Trilok Gurtu hit a rhythmic point together that confirms that it’s not just random virtuosity. They know exactly what they’re doing and for me, this moment is a celebration of just how brilliant human beings can be, how high they can fly and the degree of excellence they can reach. Just incredible."
4. Miles Davis - Stella By Starlight (1'46" - 1'56")
From Miles Davis - My Funny Valentine (1964)
"Miles is splitting the cavernous Philharmonic hall with wailing long notes that sound like they’ve been summoned from the very bottom of humanity’s soul. Some guy in the crowd just can’t take it anymore and yells out, his primal "yyyyyeaaaahhhhhh" spiralling upwards to join Miles’ dazzling notes right up in the gods, like some kind of aural firework display. Of course I can’t possibly condone this kind of behaviour, but in this case I’ll let it be. We are all with the unknown guy. We all know exactly what he means and maybe this was the only way to say it. I’ll tell you what though, every version that I can find on the Internet seems to be edited so you don’t actually catch the end of his interjection. You’ll have to buy the album to get the full version! This is the best I can do."
5. George Benson - Theme From Good King Bad (4'12" - 4'22")
From George Benson - Good King Bad (1976)
"George is simply the best guitarist. It’s not all about speed with him. It’s about the relaxed placement of the notes and the unbelievable feel he has. But sometimes it just is about the speed! There’s a massive section in the middle of this tune that is working it’s way up to something really big and George has to put the icing on the cake just before the head comes back in. What’s he gonna do? What’s he gonna do?? Holy shiiittt! He sticks a goddam cherry on the icing on the cake and pulls the most incredible run out of the bag at exactly the right moment. Yes, George. Let us all bow before you!"
6. Mahavishnu Orchestra - Eternity's Breath pt 2 (2'32" - 2'42")
From Mahavishnu Orchestra - Visions of the Emerald Beyond (1975)
"This album is the jewel in the crown for the Mahavishnu Orchestra. There’s a real sense of continuity between the tracks and there’s been more attention paid to the production values. That’s not to say that the music loses any energy. Far from it. Parts of this album are WILD!
This moment has to be the pinnacle. The virtuoso jazz violinist Jean Luc Ponty has replaced Jerry Goodman (who’s no slouch!) and he follows John McLaughlin on this absolutely thundering 5/4 groove. Who wants to follow John? Jeez! But Jean-Luc totally destroys it. It’s absolutely amazing playing and then suddenly he GOES UP A GEAR! It feels like the goddamn roof is going to lift off! Every time I hear it it makes me want to smash my bedroom up, but my wife would be cross and I’m now way too old for that sort of thing… "
7. Ted Greene - Danny Boy (4'26" - 4'36")
From Ted Greene - Solo Guitar (1977)
" Ted only ever made one album. I guess he thought that he’d said all had to say and it’s hard to disagree with him. This album is a work of art. His ability, especially with plucked harmonics, is truly astonishing and this section finishes with an example of this hard to master technique that, to my mind, remains unparalleled, even 45 years on. I’ve chosen this 10 seconds (slightly more but hey, gimme a break) because he shows his genius by taking a motif from ‘London Bridge is falling down’ through some descending harmony before the final flourish. I can’t help thinking that there’s a chance that this is a very quiet and beautiful protest song. Or maybe he just played it because the alternative name for ‘Danny Boy’ is ‘Londonderry Air’. I don’t suppose we’ll ever know."
8. Charlie Parker - A Night in Tunisia (1'12" - 1'22")
From Charlie Parker - The Complete Dial Sessions (1946)
"This is it - the famous alto break! The irony is that the take was never used. Whenever jazz musicians play this song there’s a chance that someone will have a stab at this break. This usually results in calls for celebration or laughs as the brave soul crashes and burns! Whether you’re a Charlie Parker devotee or not, you’re hearing his word passed down through others and through the generations."