Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Banjo According to John Hartford Vol 1 and 2 Licks Ideas and Music|
Genres: Special Interests, Educational
The late John Hartford was the extraordinary fiddle and banjo man who danced, played and sang to delighted audiences at festivals and concerts around the nation and the world. A thoughtful and knowledgeable musician, John ... more »
A chance to get in John Hartford's head
RE Geiger | 12/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"John Hartford is the only banjo player who has a style so unique as to make his playing instantly recognizable to me. So, when I picked up a banjo again after a 25 year distraction, I was curious to know what he had to say about his playing.
These two DVDs are a sort of master class for five-string banjo players. You might think you are going to learn some cool licks and how to play some of his songs - and you can - but the real value of these DVDs is the chance to get inside John Hartford's head and begin to understand how he thinks about music.
He starts out pretty basic - on a level even the greenest beginner can relate to and progresses to more and more advanced concepts, yet nothing out of reach. There is enough substance here that, unless you are a very advanced player, you will have enough to keep you challenged for quite a while. Tablature is included. (I hate tabs - music is so much easier and more understandable.) The tabs are not entirely reliable, so if you don't think it sounds right, it's probably the tab and not you. However, enterprising banjo players will not be trying to copy John Hartford's playing. Enterprising players will be looking for ways to incorporate John's ideas into their own playing.
I was particularly interested to learn about his "slide whistle" lick. It is a defining characteristic of his playing. He uses it effortlessly and is surprisingly self deprecating about it. I tend to think that it is neither as "phony" nor as easy as he claims. Great players make the difficult sound easy.
The production and sound are good quality. The editing perhaps could have been a little tighter, but it was obviously loosely scripted, as a master class would be. Chris Sharp looks bored.
Don't be tempted to buy only half of the set."