Updated: Jan 23
Virtuoso jazz and baked potatoes, what's not to love?
You may not recognise his name, but it's pretty certain that at some point you've heard Michael Landau's guitar playing. He's become part of popular music history after being featured on iconic albums such as Bad, Jagged Little Pill and Music Box. As a prolific session musician, he's also collaborated with music legends like Rod Stewart, Cher, Pink Floyd and Stevie Nicks. At base Landau is a virtuoso jazz/blues guitarist and hearing let rip live is the best way to appreciate why he is lionised by his fellow musicians.
Landau's first solo live album since 2006 is recorded at LA's legendary Baked Potato (and yes they sell them too, with plenty of fillings.) The 120 capacity venue is perfect for this type of music and allows the musical precision of the band (drummer Abe Laboriel Jr, bassist Jimmy Johnson, guitar and vocals, David Fraze) and the intimacy of the gig to come to the fore. The intensity of concentration is palpable and the silence between notes is deafening.
As gig-goers have been denied their fix by nemesis - Covid-19, this album reminds us of the very organic relationship between musicians. The band here haven't rehearsed - they just perform the songs and go where their instincts lead them: this is music in its purest unadulterated form.
The setlist features new songs alongside back-catalogue tracks and instrumentals. Bad Friend swaps jazz for dirty blues and Dust Bowl finishes the set with a smooth and controlled jazz number that reminds us that fast and flashy doesn't necessarily equal mastery and that the tantric approach to music can have the same results.