MOVE's Ambitious Tribute to George Harrison on His Birthday
Jon Zell (bottom right corner) with the members of MOVE
Courtesy of Jon Zell
It takes an ambitious band to recreate an ambitious album live. Especially when that album was written by a Beatle. When it came out in November of 1970, George Harrison's All Things Must Pass not only declared his independence from the Fab Four, it solidified his genius as a solo artist.
Hits like "My Sweet Lord," "What Is Life," and "Isn't It a Pity" were the bonus marks on an album that introduced Harrison's signature slide guitar, eastern religious themes, Phil Spector's Wall of Sound and other brilliantly overlayed tapestries of sonic material. The album credits include giants like Eric Clapton, Badfinger, and Billy Preston and influences from Bob Dylan. So yeah, you could say that Long Beach band MOVE had their work cut out for them when they decided they were going to perform it at Fingerprints tonight in honor of what would have been 72nd birthday. No pressure.
But even in the face of such a task, this band--comprised of a cast of nearly a dozen core members and additional rotating musicians--is probably the perfect group for the job. Finely tuned and trained on a wide variety of cover songs and originals, the band already know how to deconstruct classics from the rock-n-roll songbook and put them back together.
"The whole thing with MOVE is that it's been a moving festival for different artists and different projects," says guitarist and bandleader Jon Zell.
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Together since 2012, MOVE have performed in a wide array of settings from open monthly jam sessions around Long Beach to local theater productions for RIOTStage. In fact, these guys are so active that the name MOVE is an understatement.
The idea to take on All Things came up after the band started tossing around the idea of performing the album of another Beatle, Sir Paul McCartney's Ram, but opted to tackle Harrison's masterwork instead.
"This was George's opportunity to show what he could do without the Beattles and instead used all the different musicians he knows to get together and jam...I just seemed like a perfect fit for MOVE," Zell says. "As a songwriter I really identify a lot with this album. Maybe more subconsciously mod that I know."
Though All Things does contain three LPs (the third LP, "Apple Jam," is comprised entirely of informal jams), for the sake of time (and sanity) the band will stick to the 17 proper tracks on the album. The troupe have been practicing every week since January with an additional horn section to recreate as many layers of the songs as possible. Perhaps the biggest hurdle is to keep the song structures tight and well balanced with so many different members. But rest assured, MOVE is on top of it.
"I tend to be a purist with a lot of this stuff. Of course we're making it our own, none of us are George Harrison, Eric Clapton or Bob Dylan," Zell says. "But we're trying to be true to the material...it's a little bit of a tightrope to walk but I'm really happy with the way it's sounding."
To get a taste of what you're in for, here's MOVE performing David Bowie's "Moonage Daydream"
MOVE perform George Harrison's All Things Must Pass tonight at Fingerprints in Log Beach. Free show. All ages. 7 p.m. For more info, visit the band's event page.
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