Matthew Warnock Interview

Matthew Warnock is a great guitarist and educator with a impressive CV which includes stints teaching and studying in many US universities. Matthew is coming over to teach in the UK at Leeds College of Music and I hope we can meet up at some point to hang out. You can check out his playing on his Youtube channel.

Q: What/who were your initial influences?

I first got interested in guitar by listening to classic rock and blues, so my earliest influences were Jimmy Page, David Gilmour and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Once I got hooked into jazz, I was influenced by some of the usual suspects, like Wes Montgomery, Pat Martino and Mike Stern, but I have always been drawn to cats like Lenny Breau, Ed Bickert and Ted Greene.

Q: Are you gigging much at the moment and any projects in the pipeline?

I spent most of 2011 living in Belo Horizonte, Brazil where I was performing 10-15 times a month, so I was gigging a lot and getting the chance to play with some great Brazilian musicians. I recently relocated to Manchester, and have decided to gig a bit less right now because I want to really focus on finishing my first record. The album will be all solo-guitar, and I’ve got the tunes worked up already. I just need to get into the studio and begin the recording process.

Q: What’s your ‘desert island’ guitar or have you got it!?

My desert island guitar is the Koentopp Telecaster that I own. It’s a custom build by Dan Koentopp, a Chicago luthier who makes the most beautiful sounding guitars I’ve ever played. So, I’m lucky in that I searched for years for a guitar that really brought my personality and musical intentions out in the sound of the instrument, and I finally found those qualities in Dan’s guitar.

Q: Best (jazz guitar) gig you’ve ever seen?

I would have to say that it was a tie between the first time I ever saw Ben Monder in Montreal, he was playing with his quartet and they absolutely killed it, and a Mike Stern show I saw this summer in Brazil, where he played with a Samba trio. Both of these shows were full of energy, the bands were interaction at a very high level and the intensity was just electric. Two shows I will never forget.

Q: Which guitarist(s) would you recommend for other people to check out?

A few of the guitarists that I really like that I think more people should check out are Lenny Breau and Ed Bickert. Two Canadian guitarists, well Lenny was a transplanted Canadian, who I grew up listening to and two of the best chord players in the business. I will never get tired of hearing either of those guys play, in any ensemble, and I always try and turn people on to their records whenever I get the chance.

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