Manchester music legend Aziz Ibrahim told music students not to be afraid to experiment when he performed a masterclass at the University of Salford.
The guitarist, who has played with or written for artists such as The Stone Roses, Paul Weller as well as Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke of The Smiths, spoke to students at the University’s Peel Hall about his playing techniques as well as anecdotes from his varied career.
He treated them to demonstrations of his wide range of techniques – from using myriad effects pedals to playing the guitar to emulate instruments like sitar, koto and santoor – before bursting into an extended version of Stone Roses’ classic Fools Gold.
The Longsight-born guitarist has also played with folk singer Donovan, UK rapper Akala and progressive rock musician Steven Wilson.
Aziz, who founded the Asian Blues Collective with tabla maestro Dalbir Singh Rattan, and is lead guitarist for Lahore based Pakistani band Overload, talked about the importance of mixing musical genres and cultural influences – as demonstrated by his Arts Council collaboration Project 70 Asian Blues.
He described the moment his own career started as ‘music chose him’ when he received an unexpected invitation to join Simply Red in 1987 – despite wanting to be a doctor or a basketball player as a young man – before bringing the story up to date by talking about his latest project, a reinterpretation of his unreleased Lahore To Longsight album with the Manchester Camerata.
The album, being performed at HOME Manchester on October 11, charts his father’s journey from post-Partition Lahore to Longsight in Manchester, as well as his own experience of growing up between vastly different cultures.
Speaking after the event, Aziz said: “The sharing of knowledge is a very gratifying thing, and I love helping people explore and find their way, but I also learned a lot from talking to the students and from some of the responses they gave.
“Having a work ethic is very important in music, and that was something I wanted to get across to the students. My dad always said to me ‘if you’re going to do something do it properly’, and I think he was right. I make as much effort if I’m playing a big concert in a Brazilian stadium as I would if I’m playing a pub in Wythenshawe – I’m only ever as good as the last show I’ve done.”