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  1. #1

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    I'm starting to get into Mike Stern. What are the best albums to get started with?

    So far I've heard that Miles, Man with a Horn is a good starting point. Any other favorites? Commentary would be greatly appreciated.

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  3. #2

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    My Stern recordings are Standards And Other Songs, Who Let The Cats Out, and Play. I really like Mike, and his approach to the instrument certainly straddles a couple of lines. He of course recorded with Miles and the Yellowjackets, along with being the guitarist for Blood, Sweat & Tears for quite a while.

    Go to iTunes or Amazon, and listen to the samples there to get a feel for his playing and what he is doing on each disc.

  4. #3

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    I had always heard stuff from him that was more rockish, so to be honest I just kind of wrote him off.

    BUT... the other day, one of my students brough in something with him playing over Moment's Notice, and I was pretty impressed. So now I've been going through youtube and such, and hearing him play with Brecker and Bob Berg, and I'm really pretty blown away.

  5. #4

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    Don't get "Big Neighborhood" if you don't want to hear "rockish" stuff. His standards and post-bop straight-ahead playing is tremendous, bu7t his rock stuff I can live without.

  6. #5

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    Well as an update I just got "Time in Place," and "Give and Take." I have to say that they are both good, but "Give and Take," is amazing. There are moments that are bluesy-rockish, some things that remind me a little bit of Pat Metheney, and some straight ahead playing that is just burning. That is one that I can definitely add to the desert island list! WOW!!!

  7. #6

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    it's all about "Upside Downside".

  8. #7

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    +1 for Standards and Other Songs and Who Let the Cats Out. Also, I think he's on tour now. You should definitely try to catch him if you can. He's so good and yet so humble and modest onstage.

  9. #8

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    Yeah, I just got Standards and it is awesome.

    dblfatstrat Upside Downside is more kind of rockish no? Either way, I like all of his playing now. It is funny how sometimes in your playing you get comfortable, and then you hear something and realise how much more you have to learn. The last time that happened was the first time that I heard Wes.

  10. #9

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    Upside Downside was recorded close to the time when Mike played in Miles band. While it admittedly came with a rock flavor it is IMHO one of Mike's milestone recordings. Check out "Mood Swings" and "After you".

    In addition to "Standards and other Songs" I recommend "Is what it is" and "Give and Take" as cool entry tickets to the world of Mike Stern.

    I also suggest that you listen to some of the material Mike recorded as a side man outside his stint with Miles.

    1. Mike played on Lew Soloff - Yesterdays, a great CD that features Lew S. on trumpet, Mike on guitar, Charnett Moffett on bass and the great Elvin Jones on drums. An absolute must have for anyone who likes listening to Mike Stern in my opinion. The title track is my favorite.

    2. Mike partnered for many years with Bob Berg and appears on several of Bob Berg's releases.
    If you like this youtube clip you may want to check out one of the Bob Berg records:


    Enjoy
    Last edited by frogeye; 08-12-2010 at 02:56 PM. Reason: Corrected a small typo

  11. #10

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    Maybe a too long commute for some of you but I thought that I would still share. Anybody around and up for it?

    ::::::The 55 Bar::::::

  12. #11

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    my favorite stern playing is as a sidemen on les arbuckle's "bush crew."

    and you get abercrombie on some tracks too!

  13. #12

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    Frogeye, I'd totally be there if it weren't for this pesky living in St. Louis thing I've got going on right now.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    my favorite stern playing is as a sidemen on les arbuckle's "bush crew."

    and you get abercrombie on some tracks too!
    Thanks, I have to check this out.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    my favorite stern playing is as a sidemen on les arbuckle's "bush crew."

    and you get abercrombie on some tracks too!
    Do they play together on any tracks or are they separate?

    Thanks,
    PJ

  16. #15

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    I think the These Times disc he did was the best thing he's done. No secret that the guy can play, but his compositions and songwriting are highly overlooked. And that is his strength, IMHO. And he just wrote some highly memorable TUNES on that disc. When you take his melodies and put a vocal to them (a la Metheny), it shows just how beautiful and heavy they are. Plus Vinnie Coliauta plays the BEST stuff for each tune on that disc. He just makes the disc.

    ...And coming in a close second is "Play"
    ....3rd? "Time in Place"
    ....4th? "Standards and Other Songs" (his version of Nardis is worth it alone)

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by P.J.
    Do they play together on any tracks or are they separate?

    Thanks,
    PJ
    together on two tracks, seperate on the other six.

  18. #17

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    Mike studied with Charlie Banacos in Boston which automatically gives him credibility(at least in the local area)

    I used to go see him play at small bars in Boston playing with the cream of the Berklee crop...this was in 1975-79. He had a '50 something Tele (that got stolen) that he played through an Acoustic 134 and nothing more than an MXR Phase 90 for effects.

    He would blow over Giant Steps, Stella, Night Has a Thousand Eyes, etc. and just wail!..I believe this is how I learned (or at least tried to) how to build a solo.

    And comping??.....scary good.

    The man's paid his dues, many times over. I congratulate him on his success. It's well deserved.

    I've got a good size collection of cassettes that I recorded of him playing with Randy Roos, Tiger Okoshi, Mike Metheny. Truly a jazz guitar primer.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by emckenrick
    Mike studied with Charlie Banacos in Boston which automatically gives him credibility(at least in the local area)

    I used to go see him play at small bars in Boston playing with the cream of the Berklee crop...this was in 1975-79. He had a '50 something Tele (that got stolen) that he played through an Acoustic 134 and nothing more than an MXR Phase 90 for effects.

    He would blow over Giant Steps, Stella, Night Has a Thousand Eyes, etc. and just wail!..I believe this is how I learned (or at least tried to) how to build a solo.

    And comping??.....scary good.

    The man's paid his dues, many times over. I congratulate him on his success. It's well deserved.

    I've got a good size collection of cassettes that I recorded of him playing with Randy Roos, Tiger Okoshi, Mike Metheny. Truly a jazz guitar primer.
    When they were both at Berkely...Pat as a 22 year old prof, and Stern as a student!!

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by emckenrick
    Mike studied with Charlie Banacos in Boston which automatically gives him credibility(at least in the local area)

    I used to go see him play at small bars in Boston playing with the cream of the Berklee crop...this was in 1975-79. He had a '50 something Tele (that got stolen) that he played through an Acoustic 134 and nothing more than an MXR Phase 90 for effects.

    He would blow over Giant Steps, Stella, Night Has a Thousand Eyes, etc. and just wail!..I believe this is how I learned (or at least tried to) how to build a solo.

    And comping??.....scary good.

    The man's paid his dues, many times over. I congratulate him on his success. It's well deserved.

    I've got a good size collection of cassettes that I recorded of him playing with Randy Roos, Tiger Okoshi, Mike Metheny. Truly a jazz guitar primer.
    I wish I lived in Boston...I can only imagine the kind of talent playing in small clubs around the area!!

  21. #20

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    Now that I've been listening for a while, my two favorites are Give and Take and Standards. I'm really not crazy about the rock sounding stuff, but on those two records, it is mostly straight ahead but with kind of a hint of more modern phrasing with the straing bending and phrasing. That to me is what's really cool. Plus, I do hear a hint of Pat Metheney at times which is cool. I really dig this guy.

  22. #21

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    Put me down for Upside Downside too. Check out the tune, Friday Night at the Cadillac Club on YouTube with Bob Berg. It smokes, although I do prefer the tempo of the studio version.

  23. #22

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    Upside Downside is definently one of the records that really shows the Mike Stern-thing.

    But he tears it up on some of the Davis-recordings as well. The Man With The Horn and We Want Miles! are some of the records that comes to mind.
    Last edited by Klok; 08-22-2010 at 10:59 AM.

  24. #23

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    Mike's first album was great. Play is right up there. I feel his rock tone is a bit strident. Perhaps it's the orange Boss distortion he's still using. Like to hear him through a Rat.

    I was at Berklee in 1979-1980. Talk about the gift of guitar players up there at the time: Stern, Vai, Roos, Lorn Leber (THE fastest guitar player I have ever heard). I'd see these guys at Pooh's Pub, Michaels for $3. Unreal time.

  25. #24

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    "Give and Take" my def faveorite Mike Stern recording, followed closely by "Play"

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffstritt
    I'm starting to get into Mike Stern. What are the best albums to get started with?

    So far I've heard that Miles, Man with a Horn is a good starting point. Any other favorites? Commentary would be greatly appreciated.
    Hey man, don't know if anyone pointed this out yet, but if you read the linear notes of man with the horn, Mike stern actually only plays on the track Fat Time, the title is actually mile's nickname for stern. Anyway my suggestion for stern as far as electric miles would be Star People which also has scofield, or we want miles is pretty killer too. Of his solo work, Standards and other songs is by far his best straightahead-ish outing.

    Good luck finding some good stuff, it shouldnt be hard. He's been my favorite guitar player since i saw him when i was 13.

    -Joe