Jon improvises arrangements by playing many different instruments himself into a sampler––which he loops and layers upon, creating a ‘full band’ effect. It’s quite inspiring because he’s a gifted player—in command of so many instruments. He is a walking musical divining rod. His chord voicings always astonish—densely packed with non-diatonic tones on nearly every chord he plays.
He’s modal like the jazz greats, yet he plays pop music, as it was practiced in the 1960’s. Kinks, Beach Boys, Zombies, Glenn Campbell, Beatles, “Can’t Take That Away From Me”, “Fever” and more were covered, with plenty of originals and his glorious piano improvisations (my favorite part of his shows).
Benmont Tench was the night’s all-star guest—offering plenty of tasty keyboard touches. It’d be great to see Jon play these shows with skilled singers, people that could play off the rich harmonic structures he builds.
Only criticism: Jon doesn’t have a bad voice, but it starts to grate after a short while because he uses it in a stressful way. Since my vocal surgery I’ve had a lot of vocal singing therapy.
What I’ve learned is that getting great tone isn’t intuitive for most people. It takes thought and work and an awareness of bad posture, placement and breathing habits. Lord knows, I’ve got records and decades of video footage of myself to prove the point.
Jon’s an incredible music producer, but I wonder how he coaches great vocal performances from his collaborators, having such flawed technique himself.