My guest today is Mike Stern.
Mike is one of my favorite guitarists and has been since I first got interested in jazz as a teenager. Mike cut his teeth playing in blues and rock bands like Blood Sweat and Tears before joining the Miles Davis Band in the early 80’s. His career with Miles, Steps Ahead, and also with The Brecker Brothers and Jaco Pastorious is widely documented. His solo career has produced 16 solo records and numerous Grammy nominations.
I like to think of Mike's playing like equal parts NYC sophistication and part “cobra” guitar player - he can bend your ear with the hippest be-bop lines played with flawless right hand technique or seduce you with that big piano sound he dials up (with that ancient Yamaha SPX 90) and then without warning he’ll stomp on his distortion pedal and slay you with screaming rock licks, building solo after solo up to an intensity like few guitarists can.
This interview took place at Mike Stern’s apt in NYC Feb 2016.
In this casual interview Mike talks about many topics including -
the importance of good time, what he learned from Miles Davis, singing what you play, some cool sax licks Michael Brecker showed him,what it was like playing with his good friend the late Jaco Pastorius- and of course lots of funny stories!
Mike is an inspiring guy to be around- he is always practicing and still hungry to learn after many years or playing. Even though he's at the top of his game he is a humble cat and it’s not beneath him to stop you to learn a lick or idea- He’s also a pretty hilarious guy as you'll hear- Enjoy!