Michael Landau: Guitar Player interview

By age 20, Michael Landau had toured with Boz Scaggs and was a staple of the Los Angeles studio session scene. With a resume that runs from Julio Iglesias to Miles Davis, Landau’s list of credits fills ten pages of the All Music Guide. Over the last two decades, he has found time between sessions to release a stream of solo recordings. His latest, Organic Instrumentals[Tone Center], combines the guitarist’s distinctive brand of Strat strangling with the modern organ sounds of Larry Goldings to produce ten tunes ranging from the Howlin’ Wolfstyle blues “Wooly Mammoth” to the Bill Frisell-like introspection of “The Family Tree.” These disparate feels are knit together by Landau’s personal harmonic sense and intensely focused attention on the details of tone.

Could you read music when you started doing session work?
Yes. I’m a decent reader and got better at it the more I was forced to do it. I’m by no means a great reader, but on record dates it’s mainly chord charts and pretty simple stuff. I always focused more on the tone and playing.