i worry sometimes that i like a style or genre generically, without having the refinement and/or education to be able to really discern good from bad within a context. kinda like when it comes to beer, i love IPAs, but i'm unsure whether i could really tell a good one from a bad one. honestly, though i've tried many many IPAs, i cant think of one i really don't like.
similarly, the above concert vid: is it a stellar performance from Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, or a middle-of-the-road one? i can't tell, though i'm enjoying it. i frankly don't know enough to be able to call it, like i can with Frank Zappa or Bill Laswell or someone like that. with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, i know i like the style of what he does, but i'd be hard pressed to name another qawwali artist that wasn't related to him, so clearly i don't know enough. in fact, a live cd i have of him, which is one of my favorites of his performances, was reviewed on amazon as being a relatively lackluster performance, not really worthy of note.
luckily, in cases like these, my catholic guilt is there to swing in and make me nervous. "is it racist that i just like it without assessing its quality?" "do i like it just because of what it is, and not how good it is?"
when i was younger, around my college years, i taped the Lonesome Pine Special that this came from. it was a time in my capricious music fandom youth where i was easily impressed by technical virtuosity, and thus was a sucker for the thing that Victor Wooten does.
this was cool, though, because it introduced me to Ray Brown, a titan of jazz, and Edgar Meyer, a guy who's done so much i don't even know how to classify him. the Wooten stuff hit my sweet spot at the time, but I'd continually go back watching Meyer, someone who had weirdly classical... stiffness? no, more like formality, where he'd sort of color inside the lines and then just furiously go all over the place in a controlled fashion, and then dart back like nothing. so cool.
to be honest, though, i do still dig the Wooten stuff, i just understand it's fromagete now. :P