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Question for an excellent piano player/Wilco fan

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Wilco as a guitarist's band has been well analyzed and appreciated. From Bennet's hot dogging, Tweedy's emotional skronk, Cline's unparalleled dexterity to Pat's deft supporting licks we get what this band is up to (and it's amazing).

 

The piano business is less clear to me. Clearly Jorgensen has a recognizable mark, that stretches out even more in live renditions with some inventive, dark, and sometimes jazzy chord voicings (see 'You Are My Face' live).

 

But Mr. Bennet has an almost trademark style on his Being There and Summerteeth piano playing that is brashly unmistakable on some live recordings. I know theory and everything, but as a hack keyboard player his go-to tricks don't immediately explain themselves to my ear. What is the key to the Jay Bennet sound? What are those chords he seems to love on 'What's the World Got in Store' or  'When You Wake Up Feeling Old', or ' Pieholden Suite'?

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i think its just him serving the song the best he can. I reference The Band a LOT when I talk to people about musicians who aren't exactly "classically trained" but you know its them when you listen to a song with them on it. You can tell its every member of The Band. Thats what I think of when I hear Being There and Summerteeth. Just a guy who had a sound. 

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2 hours ago, Cam Jones said:

i think its just him serving the song the best he can. I reference The Band a LOT when I talk to people about musicians who aren't exactly "classically trained" but you know its them when you listen to a song with them on it. You can tell its every member of The Band. Thats what I think of when I hear Being There and Summerteeth. Just a guy who had a sound. 

 

Yeah I just remember in some interview about the Mermaid Avenue stuff he was kind of trumpeting his (and by extension the band's) refinement of one of Bragg's ditties. He said something about using Burt Bacharach chords, playing 9ths or something. It gave me the impression Bennet was hip to theory. His style on piano specifically, is so distinct I felt like some of it came down to his chord voicings choices. I'm a hack piano player so I kind of wish I knew what was going on there to extend my knowledge, but I can't point out the chord tones blindfolded.

 

Maybe some day I'll just sit down at the ivories with the boom box and see if I can suss some of it out.

 

Now on guitar I know exactly what he's doing, but that's also been covered around here with tabs etc.

 

Also Garth Hudson was a well-schooled shredder. All those other dudes though, you're dead on.

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