Podcast: Les Davidson – Carving Out The Rocky Road To Jazz
Les Davidson has been in the music business for over 30 years. He’s worked extensively in studios across the world and has been on countless world tours.
He’s been a member of both East of Eden and Sniff ’n’ the Tears, and has also worked as a session player/sideman for Rumer, Laura Mvula, Joan Armatrading, Mick Taylor, Donovan, Pete Townsend, Leo Sayer, Tina Turner and Bill Wyman, to name but a few. Les has worked in West End shows, written music for TV, radio and viral media, and currently runs a commercial studio in Hoxton, London.
Today, Carl Orr, FretDojo’s current Artist In Residence, shares a generous interview with world-touring guitarist Les Davidson, where they share deep insights on the process of developing your skills in jazz – and some critical ingredients that are at the forefront of a rock guitarist’s mind but often overlooked by jazz players.
Check out the podcast here and listen to Les Davidson’s story and incredible guitar journey:
Get Les Davidson’s Album!
Check out Les’s newest acoustic album ‘Jump’ with his band Sniff ‘n’ The Tears here: https://www.sniffnthetears.com/jump
Carl Orr: Hi, I’m Carl Orr, Artist in Residence at FretDojo. Greg is very busy at the moment doing a new chord melody course, so I’m taking over the podcast for awhile.
I’ve got a fantastic guest for you today, a guitarist of a very rare degree of experience, many decades in the music business, playing with some of the top musicians in the rock and pop world, but has always had a great fascination and their great dedication to jazz guitar. Anyway, lucky to meet him. This is Mr. Les Davidson. Hi, Les.
Les Davidson: Hi, Carl. Thank you very much for asking me to come on the podcast. That’s amazing. Thank you.
Carl Orr: Yeah, so Les and I have been friends for a long time. We met through a mutual friend who recommended me to guide Les with his jazz guitar playing a bit, but actually, we had met many years before that, in very unusual circumstances.
I’d been to Berklee College of Music in Boston, and I got the plane to San Francisco. And then I was flying from San Francisco to my home in Sydney, Australia. And I happened to sit right in the middle, for some reason, of Joan Armatrading’s band.
There was me and there was, the whole row of this jumbo jet was basically the members of Joan Armatrading’s band, including her road crew. And Les was apparently one of the people in the band.
We must have met briefly at that time. And then, anyway, we figured out we’d been on the same flight, sitting in the same row, 20-plus, 22 years beforehand. Anyway, so we’d got this kind of deep connection in a way, so-
Les Davidson: Yeah, absolutely.
Carl Orr: And we’d become, we just automatically hit it off, and become very good friends in a short space of time.
Les Davidson: Yeah.
Carl Orr: So Les has had a really had an amazing career in the rock world, he’s now teaching a lot at, is it called BIMM now, B-I-M-M?
Les Davidson: Yeah, it’s called BIMM. It’s a BIMM Institute. It’s going to be BIMM University, I think, this coming September, if we all survive. If we all survive the C19 chord.
Carl Orr: The C-19 chord? My least favourite chord.
Les Davidson: Exactly.
Carl Orr: God. So Les, can you please give us some background, tell us how you started playing the guitar, and the things that you’ve done as a musical career, to start with?
Les Davidson: Yeah, well, very briefly, I’ve got an older brother, Tom, who is a singer in a band, and played a little bit of acoustic guitar, to be able to learn the songs that he was performing with the band. He never performed playing guitar, as such, but there was a guitar in the house. I wasn’t allowed to touch it. He’s nine years older than me.
But strangely enough, here’s another weird coincidence. He went to Australia. He went to Perth, to Western Australia on, I think, probably in those days, the 10 pound and six ticket, or something like that, to work for awhile. And at that time I think I was about 10, maybe nine years old, I’m not quite sure. And so, he left a guitar.
There’s only three strings in it. So I started with three strings, and I vaguely think that I probably had a paper round, or something like that. And I managed to purchase one every Saturday, for the next three weeks, another string, got six strings.
I didn’t know how to tune it. And then, I think, when I was in the music shop, somebody said, “Bert Weedon’s Play in a Day.”
Carl Orr: Ah.
Les Davidson: I think I saved up for that, bought that. And then, I’m pretty sure in that book, it tells you how to tune a guitar using the fret system. So that was it really, but I’d been singing from the age of six, and playing a little bit of piano.
But although the piano was wonderful, and I had a great piano teacher, it wasn’t pressing my buttons for, at that particular point, rock and roll. I’d worked with that guitar, learned to tune it, learned a few of the chords from “Play in a Day”, and then, met a couple of other people at school, who were into it, and then met some people outside school.
And I really got serious. I started to really want to learn to play the instrument. And I can’t even remember where I got this connection, but I was brought up in a farming community. And not far from the farm, there was a guy.
Carl Orr: Is that, where was this, Les?
Les Davidson: This is in Edinburgh, in Scotland. Edinburgh, Scotland.
Carl Orr: What’s that? This is outside of Edinburgh?
Les Davidson: It’s not anymore. But in those days it was on the outskirts, yeah, yeah.
Carl Orr: What’s the name of the place?
Les Davidson: It was just called Bridgend Farm. And that was where my dad and my grandfather had a farm. And so, not far from there …
Carl Orr: Because, sorry, my wife’s family are farmers from outside of Edinburgh.
Les Davidson: Oh, right.
Carl Orr: Who moved to Australia, yeah.
Les Davidson: No, don’t tell me. The connection will be too weird, yeah.
Carl Orr: Hey, you might be my cousin.
Les Davidson: I’m probably your cousin, yeah. My brother might even be your father, for all we know. Anyway, we digress. Back to the odyssey.
Somebody recommended a much older, retired BBC radio orchestra guitar player. I didn’t know he was a radio orchestra guitar player at the time, a guy called Jimmy Elliott, who passed away in 1978. But I had started going to him when I was about 11, maybe 12 years old, every Friday.
He was a Django Reinhardt freak, absolute killer player, and loved Joe Pass and Jim Hall, and Tal Farlow and Johnny Smith, George Barnes, all those sort of people. And he was amazing, because of what he did.
I was starting to listen to Peter Green, and Eric Clapton, and Jimmy Page, and all those players and all the blues players. I’d been listening to blues music. I’d been listening to Muddy Water, and Howling Wolf, and Robert Johnson, all these people beforehand.
So I went there, just to learn how to play the guitar, and what he did was amazing. He turned me on, he opened my mind to other styles of music. So he would give me a Jim Hall album, or a Joe Pass album, or a Stravinsky album.
I remember him giving me them right … He said, “Do you like classical music?” I said, “No. No, not really.” And so he gave me a Stravinsky album. He said, “Take it home, have a listen to it, and bring it back next week. Tell me what you think.” So I did.
Carl Orr: What did you think?
Les Davidson: I thought it was amazing. I’d never heard classical music like that before. So it blew my mind.
Carl Orr: I still listen to it, actually.
Les Davidson: Yeah. Oh, it was incredible. So he was very clever. He didn’t tell me to do anything. He just suggested.
And so, I got a love for jazz guitar, because right in front of me was this man, who was 60-odd at the time, if I remember correctly, playing this incredible music right in front of me, playing … I think I’ve told you that he tried to teach me Girl From Ipanema, and I could never get the bridge.
I was always fumbling about, couldn’t remember the chords. And he would play it, and it just sounded wonderful. So it instilled in me this real love of jazz guitar, and jazz music.
And it’s an easy connection, if you think of it, because of the blues. The next step is jazz. So, and then a little bit later, I got into a semiprofessional band, which eventually became a professional band, and there was horn players in that band, a three piece-horn section.
They were bringing Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Ornette Coleman, a million other players, and Lester Young. So I was listening to that as well. And it was a fantastic musical education. But all along, I’ve talked to you about this, Carl, all along, I was still very interested in playing rock ‘n’ roll, and rock music.
So I was spending half of my time trying to nick Hendrix and Clapton licks, and the other half of my time trying to figure out altered dominance, and diminished chords, and going, “I don’t know where I’m going to use these, because I don’t really hear them that much in the rock music, but …”
In fact, years later, it was very useful. Because years later, when I got into doing some sessions, occasionally I would see an altered dominant, and I would know what it was supposed to be. Because I didn’t know how to solo over it, but I could play the chord.
Jimmy was so powerful in his education. And then another guy, who’s only about 10 years older than me, a guy called Lachlan MacColl, who’s still around in Edinburgh, great sort of Jim Hall style player, who wonderfully says he’s never played a minor pentatonic in his life, which I love.
And he taught me a lot of stuff, as well. So that’s how I sort of got kicked off, you know?
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Carl Orr: That’s great. Very interesting. So yeah, so you talked about the common, the commonality between blues, rock and jazz, right?
Les Davidson: Yeah.
Carl Orr: That’s a common thing, isn’t it? And I think a lot of the more jazz guitarists who’ve been become very popular, their very pronounced blues feel, not all of them, but, for example, Jim Hall. Not Jim Hall. Kenny Burrell.
Les Davidson: Kenny Burrell, yeah.
Carl Orr: Kenny Burrell, Grant Green, George Benson, Wes Montgomery, John Scofield, Mike Stern. So yeah, it goes all the way from Kenny Burrell, back in the ’50s, with that beautiful, clear sound, playing with strong blues flavour up to Mike Stern, the kind of very modernistic rock-blues approach.
But there’s this commonality between rock and jazz, which is this blues connection. So that’s the thing that’s in common, but what are the differences between playing rock and playing jazz?
Especially, well, talk about various aspects, if you like, but particularly in terms of soloing, because soloing in rock guitar is a massive part of being a rock guitarist. But it’s a very different approach to soloing in jazz, isn’t it?
Les Davidson: Yeah. And in fact, that was one of the reasons that, at a certain point in my life, when I was doing fairly well as a rock player, getting work and touring the world, etc, and working on people’s records … I found that my ability to be able to solo through changes was not as strong as my ability to be able to sit on a vamp, maybe two chords, using minor pentatonics and major pentatonics, and be able to still make up lines like jazz players do, and connect the lines, and have tension and release, and questions and answers.
But they were quite limited. Penta means “five,” five notes, so with these, proficient in five notes-
Carl Orr: You’re bloody good with the five notes, then.
Les Davidson: Yeah, yeah, yeah. You make a lot of noise with five notes. And I think the main difference to me is, a lot of rock players really focus on the vibrato, their tone, the sound.
Carl Orr: Right.
Les Davidson: Whereas when I listened to, for instance, some of the early Jim Hall records, or even some of the early Grant Green and Kenny Burrell records, that sound is, anyways, the sound is quite clean.
Carl Orr: Yeah.
Les Davidson: Because a lot of the time they use half wound or wound strings.
Carl Orr: Yeah.
Les Davidson: You wouldn’t necessarily be bending notes that much. They wouldn’t be vibrating in the same way.
Carl Orr: Yeah.
Les Davidson: Like BB King would, though, BB King would, and Albert King, and …
Carl Orr: Oh right, okay. Yeah.
Les Davidson: But it was a very different thing.
Carl Orr: Yeah.
Les Davidson: So I think the two main components are the sound, and then the ability to be able to play through changes.
Carl Orr: Before you go any further, Les, you’re talking about rock. Playing rock is a kind of amorphous thing. I think it would be good for people to know who you played with, because you’ve played with some of the finest people in rock and pop music. Would you mind giving us a list of people who you’ve played with?
Les Davidson: Well, I’ll give you a list of a few of them. Yeah, I mean, I played with Joan Armatrading, who’s been mentioned. I did two world tours with her.
I also played with some interesting people like Mory Kanté, the African artist, who was very big in the 80s. Played with Leo Sayer when he was a massive star in the late ’70s. Labi Siffre, who’s a crossover between pop songwriting and blues and jazz, Tina Turner, Pete Townshend, Paul Rodgers. Yeah, loads of different people, like Taylor.
Carl Orr: Mick Taylor?
Les Davidson: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Played with Mick, as well, so …
Carl Orr: So you’re kind of an executive rock guitarist, Les.
Les Davidson: Well, thank you very much. Anyway, so yeah. Yeah, my sleeves were rolled up, and I was definitely in the middle of it, in the thick of it, yeah.
Carl Orr: So yeah, you were saying about the … I think this, I mean, for myself, I remember, as a young guy, I knew a lot of rock guitarists. Because that what most people were.
And they would often say, “Oh, a lot of you jazz guys, you don’t really have your sound together. You don’t have your tone together.” And I always thought, “Yeah, there, well, if everybody’s saying that, there must be some truth in it.” So I’ve really tried to work on getting a good tone.
Les Davidson: Oh yeah.
Carl Orr: Because, as you say, with rock-
Les Davidson: That’s one of the things I love about your playing is, you’ve got a great tone, you got a great sound.
Carl Orr: Oh thank you. But so that, but in rock, I remember a guy saying to me, “In rock music, you don’t have all the clever chords and the fancy notes. You play simple chords, you play fifths.” So your guitar has to be perfectly in tune.
Les Davidson: Yeah.
Carl Orr: Like if you play a C major seven, sharp 11, sharp nine, if your guitar is very, very slightly out of tune, you don’t even really notice it.
Les Davidson: No.
Carl Orr: But if you play a G5, which is just G and D, you really notice it if it’s out of tune. So the whole thing of making sure your guitar is really in tune, and concentrating on getting a good tone.
And also, what about projection? I always feel projection is a massive part of playing rock guitar. And I’ve tried to bring that into my jazz playing a lot.
Les Davidson: Yeah. I think people, for instance, I was very much into John McLaughlin when he came along with Miles.
Carl Orr: Yeah, yeah.
Les Davidson: I think it was on In A Silent Way, I think, was the first time he played with him.
Carl Orr: Yeah.
Les Davidson: Then, of course, he was on Live-Evil as well. And then, of course, the Mahavishnu Orchestra. And that was a big projection thing, mixing his jazz ability … Well, I didn’t even know, for instance, at the time that McLaughlin was a good straight bebop player, I didn’t know at the time that McLaughlin had been a big session player.
But I’d just heard in London, which he had. But I heard this mixture of, he was one of the first that seemed to be able to grab that rock sensibility. You’re talking about that projection, but play a different bunch of notes, that melodic minor and harmonic minor, and Indian type scales, and all sorts of stuff.
But yeah, I mean, I think, if you look at Hendrix, the whole thing about Hendrix, for instance, apart from being an amazing rhythm guitar player, and a great songwriter and a sort of musical visionary, it was all about performance and projection, and trying to get that stuff across.
It wasn’t so much in the head. It was more in the body as well as the head. That was part of the rock music thing. Whereas, I think, maybe in the ’20s and ’30s, when you went to a jazz club, people were up dancing and shouting and jumping around.
But mostly, my experience of going to jazz situations is, mostly people sit and listen. So it’s more in their head. Even though they might be projecting, like Scofield projects, he plays more like a rock player, and Mike stern certainly does.
I remember asking him once, actually, I chanced to speak to him when he came to the school to do a master class. And I said, “What do you listen to and work on?”
He says, “Charlie Parker and Hendrix.” And actually, if you listen to his playing, you go- “Yeah, I sort of hear it. Yeah, that’s about right, yeah.”
So I think there’s been a crossover, obviously from maybe the early ’70s, where the modern jazz guitar player has taken on the projection rock thing and the sound. And I must say that some rock guitar players have crossed over the other way, and taken on the ability to be able to play through changes, and understand about harmony and theory.
Carl Orr: Yeah. Some of them do it extremely well.
Les Davidson: Yeah, yeah.
Carl Orr: Like Greg Howe.
Les Davidson: Yeah, Greg Howe is fantastic, yeah.
Carl Orr: My God.
Les Davidson: Yeah, yeah. And Robben Ford’s another one. Robben Ford has been doing it for years. Playing with the Yellowjackets, There’s some serious changes going on, and with Miles, of course, and it made perfect sense to them. And it-
Carl Orr: But he’s an authentic blues guitarist as well, isn’t he?
Les Davidson: Yeah, yeah, yeah, he could. I think it’s down to hearing, because one thing that-
Carl Orr: It’s down to what? To hearing?
Les Davidson: Hearing, being able to hear the changes. To hear the changes, as opposed to see the changes. A minor II-V-I can be written down, but can you really hear the connection between the chords?
Carl Orr: Okay.
Les Davidson: And for me, my biggest change was being able to actually hear the sound of that movement.
Carl Orr: Okay.
Les Davidson: That’s the big thing that changed for me. And that came about, from actually coming to you, and you opening the door, lots of doors that you opened, and then also going and doing jazz jams, and getting up there and going, “I’m really not very good at this, but I’m being invited back.”
People were saying, “Well, you play great. So okay. So maybe you don’t hear the changes, but you will.”
Carl Orr: Yeah.
Les Davidson: These little things were really important to me, because it meant, “Okay, well, they think I’ve got something to offer, so I’ll go away and work in it.”
Because I think, for me, the biggest problem for most rock guitar players is, it’s a big step to go from playing five-note pentatonics, to playing around Autumn Leaves.
Carl Orr: Yeah.
Les Davidson: To make sense of it, it’s a massive step.
Carl Orr: I always think of people as having a kind of a voice, or even a kind of accent. You know, I’ve got an Irish friend, and every time he picks up the guitar, he sort of, I say to him, “You’re playing a guitar with an Irish accent.”
Les Davidson: Yeah, yeah.
Carl Orr: Which is, actually, he does. And it’s a beautiful accent.
Les Davidson: Yeah.
Carl Orr: But I think you, your natural accent or natural voice, as a guitarist, is this rock-blues kind of rock thing.
Les Davidson: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
Carl Orr: So you play jazz, almost from that viewpoint. And then, the natural sort of rock phrasing comes out, but it’s not in a tasteless, kind of inappropriate way, where it graffitis all over the jazz.
It’s like, you’ve just got, compared to somebody like myself, you’ve got maybe a more pronounced blues feeling in what you do. So while what you’re doing is jazz guitar, your roots are so strongly in rock-
Les Davidson: Absolutely.
Carl Orr: But that comes out, but in a way that’s idiomatically appropriate, jazz wise.
Les Davidson: I agree. Because I think, an interesting thing, we talked about this, which was when I came to you after talking to Pat, our mutual friend Pat, was that I’d made a decision, at that point, that I would, I really wanted to … I’d found a way to stop telling myself that I wasn’t musically intelligent enough to try and learn to play through changes. Yeah.
And that took me many years. Because I would see great guitar players, luckily by travelling the world, and I would see these amazing players. And I would say, “I’ll never be able to do that”. So I didn’t. That was the easiest route. “I don’t think I can do it, so don’t bother.”
Whereas in fact, I was wrong, I was completely wrong. And by, eventually, persuasion or suggestion and encouragement from people like yourself, Paul Stacey, who’s a mutual friend of ours, Jim Mullen, another London bass guitar player, who’s Scottish, a great player, just people saying … And a couple of sax players, Ian Ritchie, and Pat, as well, in actual fact.
Saying, “Yeah, you can. And because you have,” as you’ve pointed out, “this sort of bluesy sound, stick with that. Use that as your main voice, and just learn how to play through the chord sequences.”
So the way I did that was by getting a few people like yourself to open doors and show me things, that, I was confused. What are these Mixolydian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, dominant, what’s all this? Greek.
What’s that got to do with the blues and jazz? How’s a Greek person involved in this? And obviously, when you go to people like yourself, who are experts, and have been doing it a long, long time, you start to realise that it’s like playing the blues, in the sense that it’s just like floating over the chord sequences.
Once you know that the chord sequences are more than three chords or four chords, there’s a few more, but they’re connected, and this is a major sound. I mean, one thing I learned a long time ago is, there’s major, minor and dominant, and that’s it. That’s it.
Once you simplify it like that, then it basically becomes more doable. And I think that’s the thing that changed in me, was I realised that, from my inner self, I needed to attempt to do it.
And so I started to attempt to do it. And yeah, it was hard. And it still is hard. And unfortunately, I’ve opened a can of worms that’s going to be ongoing forever.
But as every year goes by, I feel I’ve got a little bit more of an understanding of what playing through standards is about, and what playing through modal type of music is about. And what, through playing through more modern, post-bop, Pat Martino is a big influence on me.
Joyous Lake, when I heard that, first of all, I was like, “Whoa, this is amazing.” Because I loved that fast type of technique, well, not type of technique, the fast hard bop technique he has. And bless him, he’s not been very well, I believe, recently.
Carl Orr: No.
Les Davidson: So I hope he will be. But also, the sound of that record was much more rocky, and sort of punchy.
Carl Orr: Yeah, with the electric piano and electric bass, yeah.
Les Davidson: Yeah, yeah, Gil Goldstein.
Carl Orr: Gil Goldstein.
Les Davidson: And Will Lee on bass, Kenwood Dennard on drums.
Carl Orr: Yeah. Yeah.
Les Davidson: Amazing. So, yeah, arpeggios, lots of arpeggio work, thirds and sevens, the strong chord tunes, all that stuff, just working, working, working, keeping it simple. I’ve done a lot of work, and I’m doing a lot of work at the moment on melodic minor. I’m just spending a lot of time working on melodic minor, and all the arpeggios over the chords.
That was the thing. Most rock guitar players, no, that’s unfair to say, most rock guitar players. Sorry, I retract that. You can edit that.
Some rock guitar players cannot play you the seven chords of a major scale in seventh chords. They can’t do it. They don’t know how to play that.
So if you don’t recognise that these chords are connected from one parent scale, how are you ever going to look at a chord sequence and go, “Oh, that’s C major,” how would you do that? You wouldn’t.
Maybe your ear would help you, but essentially, it would be very, very demanding to be able to make that connection. And then, the relative minor? I mean, Autumn Leaves is an example.
Some people will say it’s in G minor, some people will say it’s in B flat. So B flat is the parent major scale and G minor is the relative minor scale. So it’s stuff like that, but it takes work.
And I think, you’ve got to, have to have a love for the music, whether it’s on your instrument or not, yeah. And you got to listen to a lot of it. And then you’re going to try and play a lot of it. And you’ve got to experiment.
You’ve got to get up there on the stand and say, “I think that idea I’ve been working on might work,” and mess it up, and go, “Oops, that’s not working,” or, “Ooh, that worked really well.”
And then, yeah, enjoy it. Enjoy it. That’s the thing, enjoy it.
Carl Orr: Yeah. Yeah. We don’t have much time, but I-
Les Davidson: No.
Carl Orr: But I grew up in Australia in the ’70s, when I started getting, really getting interested in the guitar. And everybody who picked up a guitar, seemingly of my age, at a rock sound, and a rock feel, because that’s what they heard.
That was just the feel. And I do feel that, I do think that jazz, whatever else it is, it’s a feel. It’s a feeling, and a particular kind of way of grooving in the music. And I think, as you said, it’s only by listening to a lot of it, that you just pick up on the feeling.
One of the things that I’ve noticed about you is that you have a good jazz feel, like a natural … Because, let’s say, people would talk about somebody like Muddy Waters, “Oh, what a great feel,” and it is. Or James Brown, or some more, BB King.
But actually, Pat Martino has a great feel, as well. It’s a particular feeling, you know?
Les Davidson: Yeah. That’s a different feeling.
Carl Orr: That daring sort of daredevil chromaticism, you know?
Les Davidson: Yeah.
Carl Orr: And that’s, but that’s as much of a feel as BB King, or Muddy Waters.
Les Davidson: Absolutely.
Carl Orr: And I think that’s what you’ve got. Whatever your knowledge or lack of it was, you always had that feel.
You always were able to, even from the very first time I heard you try to play jazz, you had this Pat Martino-ish kind of snakey chromaticism, which was a feel, every much as playing some kind of blues lick, with bending.
Les Davidson: Yeah, yeah. Well, yes, it was, as you say is, because I suppose I’ve been listening to it for a long, long time, listening to basic blues music, from the age of about 11 or 12, and then jazz, not long afterwards. And I’m always very grateful to the fact, as I’ve said, that that first serious band I was in had three horn players, who were all bringing into my world, lots and lots of jazz music, on a different instrument, not the guitar.
Carl Orr: Yeah, that’s great, yeah.
Les Davidson: Yeah. And hearing the way that drummers would approach a boogaloo, or a swing, and what a blues swing was, and what a jazz swing was, and understanding, there’s a different feel.
And they’re both as relevant as each other.
Carl Orr: Yeah.
Les Davidson: I got to a point as well, which is the thing I found about trying to play through standards like Stella, or All The Things You Are, or something like that, especially Stella, is just trying to … The challenge of trying to make good music is hard.
Les Davidson: I had a great statement. I went to one guy, a great teacher, Dave Cliff. I don’t know if you know Dave Cliff, right, but-
Carl Orr: Yeah, I love Dave. Jolly, funny guy, too.
Les Davidson: Yeah. Yeah, oh, he’s great. Here’s, this is what he said to me. I went for some lessons, and we played through, I think it was Stella.
And he said, Yeah, your brain surgery’s really good, but you’re stitching’s shit.” Excuse me. And I thought that was a wonderful statement.
What he was trying to say was that it was basically saying, “Stitch your cords together. Worry about the brain surgery later.” And he was right. The best piece of advice I’d ever had about playing through changes.
Carl Orr: Yeah. Awesome. Okay. Well, that’s been really fascinating, Les, as I knew it would. Wonderful to hear your story, and your unique perspective, and your great passion for music and the guitar, and your broad-mindedness.
And it’s really inspiring. So, before we finish up, is there anything that you would like to let people know about, any project or projects that you’re working on at the moment?
Les Davidson: Yes, there is Carl. Thank you, Yeah. I’m still in a band with the dodgy name of Sniff ‘n’ The Tears, who had a hit with a thing called Driver’s Seat in the late ’70s, and we just made an acoustic dual album.
Although it’s not jazz, the reason I think it’s important is, the sensibilities and the musicality that has been brought to me through playing jazz, and working on playing jazz, I’ve been able to bring to bear upon very simple rock songs. And it’s allowed me to be a lot more musically creative, which I think I perhaps wouldn’t have had the ability to do, if I hadn’t been involved in that part of music.
Yeah, it’s worth a listen. We were going to do some gigs, but obviously, with the dreaded C-19 chord, we can’t do them. Maybe next year, as an acoustic duo, which has been fun.
So yeah, that would be great for people to listen to that. That’s something that’s we finished only about four, five months ago, something like that, which is fun to do, so …
Carl Orr: Excellent. Well, that’s really great. I’ll definitely have a listen to that, and I’ll recommend everybody else does. So thanks a lot, Les Davidson.
Les Davidson: Thank you, Carl Orr. Thank you very much. It’s great to see you …
Carl Orr: Yeah, great to see you. I look forward to catching up in Perth.
Les Davidson: Yeah, absolutely. I owe you a pizza still, actually. Remember? Before all this happened, I said, “I’ll buy you a pizza,” but it’s this good Scottish way of getting out of it, by bringing a virus upon the world, so I don’t have to pay for a pizza.
Carl Orr: It’d save you money.
Les Davidson: Exactly.
Carl Orr: Ah, that’s great. Well, thanks a lot, Les. See you soon. And thanks everybody for listening, and see you next time. Thank you very much. Bye.
Les Davidson: Yeah, thank you, Carl. Bye.
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