Harvey Mandel (born March 11, 1945, in Detroit, Michigan, United States) is an American guitarist known for his innovative approach to electric guitar playing. A professional at twenty, he played with Charlie Musselwhite, Canned Heat, the Rolling Stones, and John Mayall as well as starting a solo career. Mandel is one of the first rock guitarists to use two-handed fretboard tapping. (by wikipedia)
Always the innovator, always in demand and a pioneer of electric blues, few guitarists can claim to have played with John Mayall, Canned Heat and the Rolling Stones, performed at Woodstock and at the Grammy Awards with Bob Dylan.
Harvey The Snake Mandel’s career has spanned over 50 years, bridging the gap between the blues, jazz and rock with his two handed fretboard tapping and his creative use of sustain and controlled feedback. Mandel was a major influence on the styles of legendary artists Stanley Jordan, Eddie Van Halen and Steve Vai, among others.
Born in Michigan but raised in Chicago, he played with other Second City blues and rock greats like Charlie Musselwhite, Howlin’ Wolf, Mike Bloomfield, Steve Miller, Muddy Waters and Barry Goldberg before moving to San Francisco after being invited to play at the Fillmore by Bill Graham. And the Snake (so named by Barry Goldberg) continues to perform at a high level as hen tours with the Chicago Blues Reunion and the Snake Crew. (Press release)
BLUES GUITARIST? ROCK GUITARIST? JAZZ GUITARIST? HIS OWN MAN ON THE GUITAR.
Mandel has long been known to fans as a “player’s player” when it came to the electric guitar. I first heard him on the “Stand Back!” album (which I still own) by Charlie (Charley) Musselwhite in ’66, and then on a pre-release of Mandel’s first solo album “Cristo Redentor” in ’68. He has released a number of albums under his own name which have been collected into a box set (with an unissued live set from the Matrix Club) which is now pretty expensive.
This (78 + minutes) album, recorded in 2001 in front of a live studio audience, can sit alongside his other albums as another good example of his guitar playing. The band is Mandel-guitar, John Ulen-drums, Joe Devito-bass, and Dave Scott-keyboards. The sound is very immediate, clean, and open, taken from digital soundboard sources, but has a couple of slight, very short sound level problems–but these are of no real concern.
This instrumental set includes versions of well known Mandel tunes like “Before Six”, “Christo Redentor”, and “Wade In The Water”, plus “The Snake”, “Blues Shuffle”, “Experimental Song”, “Midnight Sun” and a couple of others. This album is a showcase for Mandel in a straight quartet setting which accentuates his guitar playing. But his band too are no slouches on their respective instruments–especially Devito’s bass–which is almost a second lead instrument. The majority of the songs are in the 6 + to 8 + minutes range giving Mandel and the band room to expand the music in this stripped down setting playing for a live audience. “Wade In The Water” is 14 minutes long, giving the band a chance to really explore this tune. Included on this set are genres like the blues, rock, jazz, and a nice swinging shuffle, all of which show Mandel’s overall abilities exploring the sonic capabilities on his guitar.
Fans of Mandel will want to give this a close listen. On”Christo Redentor” Mandel uses his guitar in place of the wordless vocals on the original album version. “Blues” is just that–a scorching example of Mandel’s blues chops–in his own inimitable style. But every tune has something that makes it well worth hearing for Mandel fans or fans of the electric guitar. There’s no fancy, intricate or cluttered arrangements–just Mandel in front of a basic band of sympathetic players which is perfect for hearing Mandel do his thing. And he does it.
There’s no booklet–just a single cover sheet with a short essay on the back. Too bad there’s spelling and grammatical errors–someone wasn’t paying attention. But in the end it’s the music that’s important–and this live set delivers on all counts. This is another example of what Mandel fans have known for some time–with all the albums he’s released–that he’s perhaps the best living relatively still unknown electric guitarist today. Just listen to “Midnight Sun”, with it’s distorted tone full of sustain and controlled feedback and fret board tapping. Ahh…yes. (Stuart Jefferson)
Recorded before an enthusiastic audience at Broadway Studios in San Francisco,
on June 21, 2001.
Joe Devito (bass)
Harvey Mandel (guitar)
Dave Scott (keyboards)
John Ulen (drums)
01. Before Six (Fraiser) 8.46
02. Blues Shuffle (unknown) 7.31
03. Blues (unknown) 8.32
04. Christo Redentor (Pearson) 7.51
05. Emerald Triangle (Mandel) 5.34
06. Experimental Song (Mandel) 4.59
07. Midnight Sun (Mandel) 7.31
08. The Bad Monster (Mandel) 6.13
09. The Snake (Mandel/Taylor) 7.17
10. Wade In The Water (Traditional) 14.00
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