Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Don Mock flying at Mock One in 1978

Another Tom Letizia-like guitarist who made one and sadly only one record in those golden years, which I felt everyone should really hear.  The following from the artist, well worth reading in its entirety, appeared on a blog post that I believe once long ago held a download too-- today I am no longer able to find this album available anywhere legally:

As a performer growing up in the Seattle, Washington, Don played in several of the areas
top rock and later, jazz bands. Later in his performing career while in Los Angeles, Don had
an exciting fusion band and performed at most of the top jazz venues. The band developed a
large following of students and fans alike. Don became well known for his intense style, and
his amazing guitar synthesizer playing. He also showcased his acoustic side as a member of
an acoustic guitar trio with blues veteran Robben Ford and fingerstyle wizard, Jamie Findlay.
As a recording artist, Don Mock has appeared as a sideman on several albums and has two
solo efforts: "Mock One" and "Speed of Light".
Don's improvising concepts have been made available for the education of guitarists through
a number of instructional books including, "Hot Licks", "Fusion - Hot Lines", "Artful
Arpeggios", "Ten", and his recent Warner Bros. "Guitar Scale Secrets" series. Don also has
three instructional videos "The Blues from Rock to Jazz", "Jazz Guitar Tips" and "Jazz
Rhythm Chops". Don began his teaching career in 1972 at the Cornish School of the Allied
Arts and Olympic Jr. College, both in Washington State.
Don continued his interest in furthering the education of musicians when, in 1974, he met
guitar legend Howard Roberts and agreed to manage guitar teaching seminars in the
Northwest for Howard. In 1977, Don moved to Los Angeles to help start the Guitar Institute
of Technology (GIT). Don became a primary instructor and curriculum author for the school.
That same year Don teamed up with publisher Roger E. Hutchinson (REH) to write and
produce guitar method books. Don taught full time at GIT until 1983, then began a part-time
arrangement while commuting back and forth from L.A. to Seattle. He also traveled around
the U.S. and to Europe giving seminars to promote GIT with Howard Roberts, Robben Ford,
Keith Wyatt and Tommy Tedesco.
In 1983, GIT (now with its parent name MI) added video to its curriculum, and Don was
brought in to direct most of the 300 (30 to 60 minute) videos. In 1988, when REH began its
very successful instructional video line, Don was hired as the primary director and producer.
Don has worked on video projects with a virtual "who's who" of modern guitar. Don's talent
and expertise as a player and teacher, as well as video producer, have benefited many
artists who have been featured in REH's videos including: Joe Pass, Alan Holdsworth, Robben
Ford, Scott Henderson, Herb Ellis, Steve Morse, Paul Gilbert, Pat Martino, Albert Collins,
Shawn Lane, Chuck Rainey, Blues Saraseno, Frank Gambale, Carl Verheyen, Kee Marcello, Al
DiMeola, Roscoe Beck, Keith Wyatt, John Petrucci, Bret Garsed, Gary Willis, Steve Bailey,
Victor Wooten, Joe Diorio, Steve Travato, Clint Strong, Mark Hansen and many more.
Don is also a life-long fan of unlimited hydroplane racing and has produced and written
music scores for several boat racing video productions. He currently heads up the
Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum's video productions adding his unique compositions and
guitar talents to those programs.

1978 Wolf Records – 2007 Mock One Productions
Mock One was recorded in early 1977 right during the time I had moved to Los Angeles to
help start The Guitar Institute of Technology with Howard Roberts. I flew back to Seattle a
few times to complete the recording. The band was made up of great Seattle players and
was called “Marbles.” We performed regularly in the area either as a quartet or with the
added horn players and percussionist. The music was deep rooted in Jazz and Fusion popular
at the time. I wrote most of the compositions and the arrangement of the Joni Mitchell tune
“Song to a Seagull.” Ken Cole, our fine key board player, contributed his suite
“Entrance/Transition of Heather.”
On a few cuts, I played one of the very first guitar synthesizer’s; 360 Systems had
developed a pitch to voltage converter which I ran through an Oberheim synthesizer module.
The tracking was pretty rough with lots of glitches but the system was the forerunner of
current systems such as the Roland GR series. I played my trusty 1971 Les Paul and my
‘60’s L-5 for the rest of album except for a borrowed Martin acoustic for the Joni Mitchell
During the 1970’s, mainly thanks to John McLaughlin, writing compositions in odd-time
signatures was all the rage. Drummer Dave Coleman and bassist Paul Farnen, who I had
been playing with since high school, spent hours working on every weird odd-time feel we
could. The result was three pieces for this album. The opening cut, “You Choose One” is in
6/8. “Stellar Stomp” is a funky groove in 7/4 that transitions into the 14/8 “Dance of the
Stratus Dancers.”
There is some great playing at times by all the talented the musicians that still holds up
Denny Goodhew’s sax solo on “Song to a Seagull” is a high point as is Ron Soderstrum’s
“out” fluegal horn solo on “Theme to Dream.” The core quartet also turned in fine
performances. Although I’d love a chance to go back in time and have another shot at some
of the guitar solos. But, there’s a few moments of decent ’70’s fusion guitar playing. Ken
Cole, the burning keyboard player, and I used to have lots of fun with the ripping solo
trading sections. And I still love the energy and colors our two percussionist Luis Peralta and
Tim Celeski brought to the music.
Dave Coleman, who I still perform and record with, showed why he is one of Seattle’s top
drummers. In fact, Dave and bassist Paul Farnen joined me in LA later on in 1977. We
rented a house together in North Hollywood and continued the band performing at most of
the top Jazz clubs in the area.
The “Mock One” album brings back lots of great memories of my early career and I hope you
discover tunes or performances that you enjoy. So, thanks for re-visiting the amazing late
‘70’s with me. It was quite an exciting and musical time!
--Don Mock

On this album the energy never lets up from the get-go:

All instrumental from beginning to end, with an outrageously gorgeous acoustic number called Stephanie's Peace:

End of the second side's Heather Suite brings it all home to us, baby:

Echoes of Return to Forever but of course, this is in a league of its own...  Better in many respects to anything RTF ever did in terms of originality...  I like also that there is not one throwaway, or even, half-decent track on here, each composition or adaptation is excellent in its own unique way.  Lowest rating for a track would be 3/5 for me but most are way above that, unmistakably genius.  Also shocking to me is that it was never featured in Tom's CD reissuewishlist, where it would have seemed to be a perfect fit!

Highly recommended, and all my thanks to the amazing fusionary genius Don Mock.  He proceeded to have a glorious and successful career both teaching guitar and writing books about it.

His second album, called Speed of light (1993) is here on amazon.   (Mach One of course refers to the speed of sound.)  A wonderful sample from the later album:

Of course bear in mind most of it is fusion, though of a later variety than the late seventies style.  Nonetheless, some very well-composed thoughts in there worth hearing.

I'll take this link down very soon out of respect for the artist.

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