the improvisation letter

Twenty years ago after he died, they made a beautiful performance memorial to George Harrison at the Royal Albert Hall. Many obviously connected to George, were in the show. Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Jeff Lynne, Billy Preston and there were gorgeous surprises. It started with a long improvisation by Ravi Shankar which everyone understood since Harrison studied sitar with him and used it in a few Beatle songs but the segue after the raga to Monty Python marching onto the stage and singing Sit On My Face and the Lumberjack song, was unreal. Even only on film this was goosebumps. Harrison was the producer of Life of Brian. The concert had great touches of class throughout and many guests who I didn’t know. Plainly friends of his, honoured to sing his songs or contribute instrumentally. One particularly stood out in the middle, when Ringo was singing Carl Perkin’s song – Honey Don’t. After the second verse, a voodoo looking guitarist with memorable hair, conjured a show-stopping wicked solo, capturing me like the late 70s, the first time I heard Mark Knopfler destroy everything else on radio. That’s why I went to see 80 yr old Albert Lee last night at the El Mocambo. I left him with a letter asking if I could interview him about improvisation for school. I hope he replies. I don’t doubt when he opens it up he’ll know more about the answering than I do about the asking.

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