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© Simone Cecchetti/Corbis
Did you have any other particular guitars up your sleeve?
“There was a brand-new 5th Avenue Godin that Robert Godin gave me to try out. It’s all maple, I think. It’s a beautiful guitar. I think it’s the best model that they’ve ever made. I tried out some of the earlier ones, and they were nice, but they didn’t have what I’d call a ‘classic’ sound. These new ones have definitely got it.
I plugged it direct in, and mic’d it up as well, and I used that on Lullaby Of Birdland. If you listen to that song, it starts out with us both kinda fugue-ing together, then when it comes into the melody, that’s me playing the Godin. On Secret Love, I played my Maton Custom EGB808, because I wanted the midrange to be nice. When I’m doing my own shows, that’s the guitar I play.”
It’s a very unfussy recording. At some points, the listener can actually hear you both chuckling...
“We just left the mics open and sat down, and away we went, just kinda looking across at each other. I think the only thing we fixed up was in one song; Martin went in and fixed the end of one of his solos.
Everything else was just live as it went down.
Like, on Down At Cocomo’s, Martin has to move the capo up, and so instead of trying to do that in a clever, quiet way, you can hear us going: ‘Oh, we’d better have a key change,’ and he moves the capo up, then we go into the next bit. We do that on stage and people crack up.”
Do you think Martin pushes you – and vice-versa?
“I hope so. There’s a real difference between us, and you’ve probably heard it in our playing. Martin definitely comes from the jazz area, and I don’t, so I’ve never learned all those cliché lines that most players play. I’ve learned so much from working with him: chord substitutions, chord ideas. I love the way he interprets melody in that beautiful kinda 40s way – that relaxed way he plays it. You don’t hear people doing that any more.
When I’m around people like that, I’m a real sponge. Playing over some of Martin’s chords was really good for me, because my ear really perked up. I was used to hearing the way that other players interpret songs like The Nearness Of You – but Martin’s chords on that are different from any other player I’ve ever worked with.”