What/who were your initial influences?
I originally got into jazz through the Jazz/Funk scene and the resurgence of jazz/funk/soul compilations in the 90’s. A lot of that music had become cheap for people to put out on albums as it wasn’t popular at the time so there was loads of one hit wonders and vaults of stuff that was available for release. I was (and still am) a massive James Brown fan and found very quickly that a lot could be learnt about phrasing from the Godfather of soul and Grant Green. Those two shaped my early woeful attempts at playing jazz, least I had some idea of phrasing if not any idea what was going on harmonically! I used to (and still do!) see Phil Robson play loads of gigs in Derby and he’s always playing great, encouraging and sets a high standard to try and get to! These days I seem to listen to lots of sax players.
Are you gigging much at the moment and any projects in the pipeline?
I am gigging as much as I have time and creative energy for which is usually 2 or 3 a month or so depending on whats happening. It’s not a great deal but I do have a full time job as well. Currently I play with a modal, slightly odd, Hammond jazz quartet as well as guesting with various duos and trios. I would like to try and get a gtr/upright bass/drums combo together, I’ve got a plan of who to use and ideas for tunes are coming together slowly…!
What’s your ‘desert island’ guitar or have you got it!?
Well guitarwise I think I’ve got it with my Eastman T146SMD, it’s light responsive and got a great sound. Weirdly (working where I do) I’m not a great gear head when it comes to chopping and changing guitars all the time, I try to get something good and stick with it. I occasionally think I’d like a Benedetto Bravo, but they’re very expensive and might not give me the sound I want, I prefer having a bit of lightness to the sound rather than the traditional Joe Pass type of 175 sound. Don’t get me wrong, I love that sound but it just doesn’t work for me.
Best (jazz guitar) gig you’ve ever seen?
Difficult one….for out and out jazz guitar I think the Pat Martino at Ronnies was great, but I equally enjoyed the 2 times I’ve seen John McLaughlin with Shakti. Special mention to a set I saw George Benson do in California, wow!
Which guitarist(s) would you recommend for other people to check out?
I recently stumbled upon Adam Rogers who is great, I see him as a guitarist who is taking on the Brecker torch. He covers the whole spectrum of modern jazz and has got such facility on the instrument that he can seemingly just think aloud spontaneously through his instrument.