Condolences to the McGann family.
Condolences to the McGann family.
Those who think they should think, like they think others think they should think, need to think out their thinking, I think.
I first met John when I sat in on fiddle with his band Lost in the Shuffle in the early '80's. He was an amazing musician, inventive and supportive, broad and deep in knowledge and playing ability. At the few mandolin lessons I had with him, he could explain and demonstrate everything and anything, from how to sound more like Monroe, to how to gain speed without sacrificing accuracy in picking, to new ways to think about chords and backup. He'd done it all, thought it through, learned from it, and could teach it, with encouragement, grace and humor. I'll miss him. His impact as a gifted musician and wonderful human being will live on.
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wow. life is so short. What can you say? Sorry to hear, very sad.
Epiphone Mandobird IV
I haven't felt this overwhelmed since the loss of Alison Stephens, and of course Butch Baldassari. I never met Alison or John except through here, and Butch through his recordings, but they became a real part of my mandolin landscape. A part of what I felt I was participating in when I played.
Sad to say, I have cousins whose passing affected me less.
So, where to from here? Its hard, ya know?
And it's really something to see current posts from him, some very recent.
He served a wide open palette, from Bill Monroe to Miles. It was all good to him.
I took a few mail-order octave mandolin lessons from John many years ago, back in the days when cassettes were exchanged by mail. This was perhaps fifteen years ago, maybe more. I just listened to one of the tapes this morning and realize that I still haven't incorporated all John had to offer in these lessons. It's bitter-sweet to be able to listen to his teaching again via these tapes. Like so many others have expressed here, I have enormous respect and admiration for John as a teacher and as a person. Thank you John and God bless you.
I always had the greatest respect for Mr McGann. I’ve got a couple of his books, and I recently started on some of his downloadable material.
But what I really appreciated was his contribution on here. Whatever the topic was, if John McGann had posted something on it, it was always something worth reading. Whether it was a nugget of wisdom, the benefit of his vast experience, or an example of his sense of humour (didn’t he do those animations about ‘I’m a traditional bluegrass mandolin player’?) then regardless of the subject, it was always worth taking notice.
I very much regret that I never got to meet him in person. I would very much like to have done. I feel a great sorrow at his unfair and premature passing.
Wow - I just found this out (currently live w/out internet or computer access). I'm utterly floored by this sad & terrible news.
I met John a few times when I lived on Peaks Island years ago. He would come out and play/jam w/ Chris Moore (the other half of Rust Farm) at Chris' restaurant. He possessed a huge musical mind & I was lucky enough to learn from him at the NH workshops he put on w/ David Surrette. I will sorely miss his contributions to this forum & the entire music community.
Thanks, John, for the music & lessons
Many of you will remember John's beautiful tune, Canyon Moonrise. I taught it to my New Acoustic Music ensemble this week, and it was a perfect way of tying together what we've been doing. John, I hope you're enjoying it!
I knew John for about 25 years—especially in the mid 1980s
when he’d play some of my local swing and bluegrass gigs.
Has anyone ever played both jazz and fiddle tunes so well
on any instrument? He was also into all sorts of electric guitar
styles. Really outstanding at it too. As serious about music
as anyone I’ve met, yet very irreverent. He’d mix bluegrass
and jazz music together in hilarious ways and do the same
with pop music at parties. Tony Trishka was a big early
influence – especially Tony’s mid 1970s “inside/outside”
music. Life is very different from 25 years ago when you
could catch John and (earlier) Bela Fleck playing local gigs,
jam sessions…and a lot of street music.
John was always very friendly and gave fantastic lessons.
Spent several years working through one tape of swing guitar stuff.
I was happy to see him connect with people here and at Berklee.
He was in a wonderful band called the New Boston Ideals
which featured virtuoso banjo music from the early 20th century.
John didn’t play banjo there but amazing guitar and mandolin
parts. Like everything else, he found the deep part of the
music and explored it. Lots of musicians around, but more
than most he really “had the music in him”.
Very tough to have someone so inspiring
[& in the prime of their life]
gone so quickly.
As a testament to the living legacy of John McGann's teaching, I have just shared a post on http://www.secondcousincurly.com featuring Granny's Hot Sauce, a young band that features some of John's students. Here's the video from the post:
Last edited by Second Cousin Curly; Apr-24-2012 at 11:03pm. Reason: improved layout
This from that:
Folks like that are all too rare. It breaks my heart when we lose them.A multi-instrumentalist whose playing was in demand around the world, Mr. McGann wore his talent lightly, whether performing alone or as part of an ensemble.
“When I’m trying to play music, I don’t want it to be the wonder of me,’’ he told the Globe in 1999. “Virtuosity is worthless in itself. Being able to play an instrument with facility is monkeys with typewriters. It’s mechanics. So it’s amusing to me when I see people in music who have a big head about themselves. Because it’s not about them; it’s about the music.’’
Nicely written and very nicely said by our dearly departed friend. It always amazing to witness someone who can touch so many The way John did and heartening to see their words and message live on after they're gone. What a gift he was and I only knew him through M/C posts and e-mails. Still miss his posts around here.
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Wall Hangers - 1970's Stella A and 60's Kay Kraft
The John McGann Memorial Fund has been established. Donations to the fund can be sent via check to:
1808 Centre st
West Roxbury, MA 02132
Glad to hear that this fund has been established.
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Washburn M6SW "Jethro"
Paul Newson Single Cutaway Custom "The Yiddish Mandolin"
Grandmom's solid mahogany teen's no-name bent top
Thank you Mandolin Cafe, Scott, and fellow members for helping out.
Many years ago, at an Ashokan camp "Northern Week" I had the opportunity to take Johns course on Irish mandolin. I was new to mandolin and enthralled with the Mick Moloney/Seamus Egan style (still am), and remember John saying to the effect of "that’s great stuff but I do it a little differently". He then taught us, in the patient kind and fun JM style, some subtleties and approaches that evoked a "wow moment" and that I still work to absorb. Sierra Hull did a JM inspired Celtic Medley at Merlefest in tribute that brought tears to my eyes. Thanks Sierra and thanks John for everything.
AKA Colin, in Central Virginia
I'm slow to catch up with this, but want to add my condolences too. This thread and the material linked from it are proof, if any was needed, of the legacy he has left for so many to share and enjoy.
Just one year ago today we published this interview with John. Sad seeing these anniversaries as they come around. This is a really great piece of information for those of you that never read it.
I was just listening to The Boston Edge with John on guitar backing up Joe Derrane on accordian. What a true musical talent. I miss him around here.
Yep, miss that rascal round these parts. But, he's never far, between the transcriptions, learnings, music and sage advice he so generously shared, like this one he sent me when I was struggling with Key Signator
"Alan, it's an Eb6, not an EbMAJ7, dagnabit!! "
(and that's a quote)