Magazine article Guitar Player

Steve Lukather's Session Stories

Magazine article Guitar Player

Steve Lukather's Session Stories

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

LAST MONTH, I SAID A LOT OF players can look at the dots and play them, but that only a handful of musicians can sight-read anything and bring emotion to the music. Tommy Tedesco had that ability, and so do Dean Parks, Carl Verheyen, George Doering, and a few others. So how do you put emotion into what you're reading? First, you can't he afraid of what you're reading. It has to be like reading a book. When you read, you immediately understand the language, and you're instantly interpreting what the writer has to say. You have to bring that instant comprehension and interpretation to reading music, as well.

If you want to get hired for a film-scoring session, there's also the pressure of reading and interpreting the music in real time along with an orchestra and a conductor, and there's a totally different time thing going on. It's not like listening to a click track. A lot of stuff is rubato--which means there is no time--so you not only have to watch the conductor, you also have to know how to play with an orchestra. You may have to anticipate the downbeat, or lay back on it. It's a real art.

Those kinds of reading sessions are a whole other ballgame than your typical rock, pop, or funk session, where you often look at a chord sheet and compose your part on the spot. That's a different kind of art, and it's something you work at your whole life. You can't prep for instantly playing a solo or a rift or a rhythm part live--that's the point of improvisation. …

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