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  1. #1

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    I read an interview with JimHall where he was asked who were the new and upcoming players he was impressed with "well there's this guy Michael Hedges". But Jim came at guitar from a compositional music background so it makes sense. I saw him (MH) a few months before he passed. Small club. He was doing yoga while the radio guy introduced him. His guitar tech was tuning the next guitar ( I mean a totally different tuning) for the next song, after every... song. As far as guitar performances he was up there with Hendrix in my mind...

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  3. #2

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    michael hedges was mindblowing in his day...was on all the guitar magazines covers...loved by other players...david crosby adored him...

    his aerial boundaries recording is still a good listen

    the title tune-



    cheers

  4. #3

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    Got to see Michael at Wolf Trap in VA in 1988. During the 80's I was deep into the acoustic alternate tuning fingerpicking scene but could never master the percussive stuff that has now become part of many fingerstyle guitarist's work. The NGSW was still in existence and the next year I got to spend a week in San Rafael on campus with Pierre Bensusan and Alex De Grassi studying fingerstyle guitar and hanging out with fantastic guitarists all eager to learn. Of course, Michael included a tune on his Aerial Boundaries album entitled Bensusan. Here is Pierre telling about his experiences with Michael and then playing his song dedicated to his remembrance.

  5. #4

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    Around ‘87 I went to a John Scofield concert at the University of San Diego. Michael was the opening act and I’d never heard of him. He performed a solo set that was absolutely mind blowing. The clarity and inventiveness of his music was totally refreshing and his use of the harp guitar was enthralling. When Sco came on I found the juxtaposition of his “electric” sound and Hedges’ acoustic performance so jarring I actually left after the second tune. I’ve seen Scofield several times since and have enjoyed every performance.

    AKA

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaco
    I read an interview with JimHall where he was asked who were the new and upcoming players he was impressed with "well there's this guy Michael Hedges". But Jim came at guitar from a compositional music background so it makes sense. I saw him (MH) a few months before he passed. Small club. He was doing yoga while the radio guy introduced him. His guitar tech was tuning the next guitar ( I mean a totally different tuning) for the next song, after every... song. As far as guitar performances he was up there with Hendrix in my mind...
    He certainly transformed the way guitar is played like Hendrix did. Spawned a new generation of guitar players (almost all of which seem to be on Candyrat!)

  7. #6

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    I’ve never heard of him. Did Michael ever have a major recording contract? If not why? There have been lesser players that received contacts.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    I’ve never heard of him. Did Michael ever have a major recording contract? If not why? There have been lesser players that received contacts.
    I think that he was on that Windham Hill label. I saw him play once in the late 80s. Was kinda mesmerizing as I recall.

  9. #8

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    All of Hedges' recordings were on Windham Hill, as far as I know. Which I guess would not qualify as a major recording company by the numbers--although, man, did they come out with some of the best acoustic guitar music ever recorded.

    There was a time in life when ECM and Windham Hill saved me from the pits of musical despair as the world around me went to disco and urban cowboy land.

    The first two albums--Breakfast and Aerial--are just magnificent.


  10. #9

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    windham hill was a label put together by acoustic guitarist william ackerman...windham hill was huge in the 80's to early 90's...the new age era....they were one of the first companies to market their recordings on cd...at a time when few other companies had taken the plunge....


    you couldnt get a beatles cd...but you could get a windham hill release..and they sounded great..and had some great players...they also did seasonal samplers etc...very smartly run label

    as i writ ^ hedges was extremely popular with many guitar players...was in all the magazines...

    unfortunately his career was cut way short in an norcal auto accident

    rip mh

    cheers

  11. #10

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    As I recall the pianist George Winston was big in their catalogue. After looking it up I can see that Yanni and Vangelis were also Windham Hill artists.

  12. #11

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    Yanni was a WH recording artist during his successful recording period? In the 90’s? Not to my knowledge. I saw him once during the early 90’s. He could put on a concert. Now that I think of it his was the last time I’ve gone to a large concert. The concerts I later attended with Keith Jarrett weren’t that size. But they must have been 12k or so.

  13. #12

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    Saw him live two years in a row at a small world music festival in Chico CA. I spoke with him briefly, 1 on 1, after his set. He was gracious, humble, appreciative of my praise, and autographed my program. He’s in the pantheon of the guitar gods.

  14. #13

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    There was a time in the mid/late '80s were there were several guitar players in the spotlight (not all jazz) using what seemed like radical techniques, and as a young player, I was wondering if the instrument was going to go in any or all of these directions.
    Hedges was bringing that percussive acoustic thing (his career was peaking around 87-90, in terms of concerts and album sales), Stanley Jordan was breaking through with his tapping technique, Alan Holdsworth was playing Synthaxe, Bill Frisell was doing both guitar synth and his spacy volume pedal / delay thing. And on the radio and, flashy guitar lived and sometimes got weird, like Steve Via's playing with David Lee Roth.
    I remember a John Scofield blindfold test in Downbeat where they played him a Stanley Jordan track, which at first he thought was two guitarists. After figuring it out, he basically said "time will tell" on the jazz finger tapping thing. For Hedges and his new acoustic cohort (which seemed to be maybe coming out of parts of John Fahey and earlier hippie artists, including Joni Mitchell), it seems they created a style people have continued to work in. Not so many guitar synth players these days, or people doing Stanley Jordan's thing, but percussive fingerstyle really seems to scratch an itch for people. When I hear it now, I think about seeing Hedges in the late 80s with that giant reverberant guitar sound he got, and his singing and techno-hippie vibe as a performer. One of the two shows I caught was really mesmerizing as I recall. He was charming and funny, his set list was varied and kept the surprises coming, his singing was intense. I probably thought he was the future of guitar! And he was to some extent, though today, he's hardly a household name.
    In 1997, I was working in a great stringed instruments shop (mostly high-end acoustic guitars), and Mike Marshall was killing time in the shop before a gig that night with Edgar Meyer and someone else (Bela Fleck or Darol Anger?). Mike got a phone call as I recall (early cell phone days), and learned that Hedges had passed away. By that point, to me, Hedges already seemed like a distant memory of the 1980s. I think after his career had the sharp upward spike around 1987-89, his next few albums sold more modestly.
    Last edited by 44lombard; 10-03-2020 at 11:21 AM.

  15. #14

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    I can’t help but thinking had he been white he’d have been a bigger deal. His acoustic playing is phenomenal but without musical hits he’s just another truly talented guitar player. And his career was the 80’s, a bad time to be an acoustic guitar player unless you were John Denver or Glenn Campbell, again creating hits.

  16. #15

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    I did not understand at the time, and nor do I understand today, what the big deal about Hedges' playing was all about. Yes, he melded some techniques of modern classical music with acoustic guitar and popularized some advanced techniques such as tapping and selective string muting but his music never moved me. David Qualey and Alex Degrassi were two acoustic finger stylists whose music affected me much more than Hedges 30 years ago. Not putting him down or arguing with anyone's taste, just expressing my own opinion.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    I can’t help but thinking had he been white he’d have been a bigger deal. His acoustic playing is phenomenal but without musical hits he’s just another truly talented guitar player. And his career was the 80’s, a bad time to be an acoustic guitar player unless you were John Denver or Glenn Campbell, again creating hits.
    Had he been white? Seen a picture of the dude, man?

    Michael Hedges-hedges-bald-pose-jpg

  18. #17

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    I loved WH music back in the 80’s. My roommate in med school bought every single album that came out, recorded it on cassette, and put the album away in a plastic sleeve for storage. So I listened to a lot of Michael Hedges back in the day...

    Incredible technique, like Stanley Jordan almost too technically out there to try to imitate. Alex de Grassi played a similar, though more structured, style. All the WH instrumentalists were technical whizzes, and exquisitely recorded.

    His later albums were less compelling to me. He was doing some vocals, not a bad vocalist, it’s just that it detracted from the focus of his guitar. Kind of like if you heard Joe Pass did a vocal album.

    So I think he did evolve over the years, and possibly might havfe been an elder statesman of the guitar these days, like Tommy Emmanuel or Martin Taylor, if he had not passed away in the tragic accident.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by lammie200
    As I recall the pianist George Winston was big in their catalogue.
    winston was sorta the hedges of piano...he was a big guaraldi fan...

    woods



    cheers

  20. #19

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    Liz Story also did some phenomenal piano albums for Windham Hill. Clear Bill Evans influence in her playing.

  21. #20

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    I second Aerial Boundaries. The Review on Allmusic is dead on. I got this on vinyl back in the day and still comeback to it. Aerial Boundaries - Michael Hedges | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic

  22. #21

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    This is a great concert video featuring several Windham Hill artists, including Hedges. He’s in rare form and the video and audio are crystalline, befitting the high standards of the label. I pull this one out and watch the Hedges set every few years. The William Ackerman set is lovely as well, but lacks Hedges’ fireworks. Shadowfax and Scott Cossu are also featured.

    I owned this concert on LaserDisc. It was re-released on DVD a few years later and I updated my copy on that format just for the Hedges performance. He performs Aerial Boundaries on a harp guitar. Still stands as one of the most beautiful solo guitar compositions I will never be able to play.

  23. #22

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    I played electric violin locally for Scott Cossu after his accident during the time his Windham Hill tenure was winding down and self recording was starting. Lots of practices to help get him back in shape. His guitarist Van Manakas is a talented, friendly guy. One of the more challenging gigs was at a remote Bed and Breakfast with an ancient upright piano that hadn't been tuned since 1910. Scott just smiled and went for it, I think the dissonance inspired him to explore tunes we had never practiced but I was used to free jams and had the advice of a sax player friend who'd warned me anything could happen. My main takeaway from that night was being really happy I didn't have frets as I stretched to stay with that d*** piano.