I seem to like musicians with classical training as well as I am a sucker for the virtuoso player like John Cipollina, Rory Gallagher, Alvin Lee, Freddie King and the still living Jeff Beck and Jack Bruce. I really don’t know if any besides Jack Bruce and John Cipollina had classical training, but all could play marvelously and had great imagination in their work. I cannot even say this is a partial list of the best musicians, that is opinion and not for me to say. These are just some of the players I often look up on YouTube and before internet days, are ones I have bought mumerous albums and tapes and CDs or went to concerts featuring their playing. Enjoy the pure joy of musicians working together to create moods and influences. I took this album to Brasil in 1967 and have always loved this song a lot.
John Cipollina (August 24, 1943 – May 29, 1989) was a lead guitarist best known for his work with the San Francisco rock band Quicksilver Messenger Service. He pronounced his surname with the Italian “C” (Chipollina).
Born in Berkeley, California, he attended Tamalpais High School, in Mill Valley, California (as did his brother, Mario Cipollina). He showed great promise as a classical pianist in his youth, but soon switched to the guitar as his primary instrument. Cipollina had a unique guitar sound, mixing solid state and valve amplifiers as early as 1965. He is considered one of the fathers of the San Francisco psychedelic rock sound.
Throughout his career, Cipollina usually played Gibson SGs, but in the late ’70s and into the ’80s could also be seen playing a Carvin DC150, which was similar to a double-cutaway Les Paul, but with more modern factory installed electronics. He played with finger picks, thumb picks, and used a whammy bar extensively which, he explained to Jerry Garcia, was to make up for his weak left (tremolo) hand. Even more unusually, he attached six wurlitzer horns to the top of his distinctive amplifier stack.
His style was highly melodic and expressive. Cipollina’s classical past no doubt influenced his guitar style, which was miles beyond the usual blues-scale, pentatonic work of many of the other psychedelic-era guitarists. His work on fellow dueling guitarist Gary Duncan’s electric arrangement/adaption of Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five”, retitled “Gold and Silver,” which appears on the self-titled first album of Quicksilver, is an excellent example of how Cipollina took rock to places it usually didn’t dare to venture.
Cipollina died on 29 May 1989 at the age of 45 from chronic emphysema. Quicksilver Messenger Service fans paid tribute to him the following month in San Francisco at an all-star concert at the Fillmore Auditorium which featured Nicky Hopkins, David Freiberg, and John’s brother Mario, an original member of Huey Lewis and the News.
In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him 32nd of the greatest guitarists of all time.
John Cipollinas Memorial website