Posts Tagged Joe Pass

Sam Dunn Interview

I had the pleasure of meeting Sam in the shop and as is the way of the socially connected world we live in I saw we had many mutual musical aquaintences. I’ve since had the pleasure of checking out Sams playing which seems to cover the whole range of jazz guitar from gentle solo guitar to burning bebop playing. I strongly recommend you head over to his website and check out his fantasic playing, teaching concepts buy a cd or even better try and catch him live with one of his many musical endeavours.

Cheers Sam!

Q: What/who were your initial influences?

Blues, and bluesy rock was my way in! I loved, and still do, guitarists like Albert King, BB King, Stevie Ray, and of course Hendrix. I had a band when I was at school, just jamming on 12 bar riffs that we’d learned, with my friend playing bass and his dad playing drums. His dad is a massive jazz fan, so after we’d finish playing, we’d have dinner and he’d put on jazz record or two. One evening, when I was about 13, after attempting to rock out on ‘3rd Stone from the Sun’ or something similar, he put on ‘Bean Bags,’ which is a really swinging album led by Coleman ‘Bean’ Hawkins and Milt ‘Bags’ Jackson. The guitarist on it absolutely blew me away, I was instantly hooked. Bluesy, but playing ‘weird’ notes! It was a real moment of epiphany for me, I knew that’s what I wanted to do with my life. So it’s all my bass playing dad’s fault! The guitarist on the album was a very young ‘Kenny Burrell.’ This was in the pre internet days, so finding out information was a lot harder than it is for students of jazz today- I’d visit local libraries, and take the train up to London to visit jazz CD shops. I eventually discovered Django, Barney Kessell, lots more Kenny Burrell, Wes Montgomery and Joe Pass. Joe Pass in particular remains a massive influence; I love how he would just sit and play a tune, as opposed to working out a formal arrangement. I found a few transcription books, and made my way through them as best as I could, and learned a lot from magazines like ‘Just Jazz Guitar’ and ‘Guitar Techniques.’ There was nobody that lived near me who could teach jazz guitar so I taught myself, transcribing (very slowly at first) and learning songs from records, CDs and tapes. I think that it should be a challenge to learn this music; it really is a life long mountain to climb, which is something to be celebrated. I feel like I’m still scratching the surface, and it’s exciting to be in my mid thirties and still feel I have a ton of music to learn! I continued to teach myself as best I could until I ended up going to Leeds College of Music and then later the Guildhall, to study formally. Later on I discovered more contemporary approaches to playing jazz, but I’m glad I did it in an almost chronological way.

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

I’m kept pretty busy between my teaching and gigging around Yorkshire and beyond. I have a few projects on the go – my trio is always fun, with Bassist Garry Jackson and drummer Steve Hanley. It’s pretty loose and open, we play standards, and my compositions. Rehearsals are great fun, we tear the music to pieces and make it our own. I play as a duo with pianist Paul Wilkinson, we’ve just released an album of originals called ‘Open House’ which got a nice review in JJG. I’ve got a new band that I’m really excited about which will be a lot of fun – called ‘The Perpetual Motion Machine.’ Its got myself and my old pal Jamie Taylor playing guitar, and Riley Stone Lonergan and Ben Lowman on Sax, with Garry and Steve on drums. We have our first rehearsal in a few weeks, and have a few gigs booked in later in the year. I play with vocalist Sophie Smith when our schedules allow, and we have a few gigs booked in for the spring, and in a few projects let by others. I teach guitar at a local private school, and also run weekly jazz workshops for Sheffield Jazz, and Heart in Leeds. So it all keeps me busy to say the least!

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

I finally got it! Last year, an old friend was selling his late father’s 1966 Gibson ES175DN. It really is the best guitar I’ve ever played, the sound is just magic, and the neck is to die for. I have a 7 string Benedetto prototype that I bought from Howard Alden, which was an early incarnation of what later became the ‘Bambino Deluxe,’ and I just got a Comins GCS1ES for gigs where I’m too scared to take either of the above. I love the sound of 7 string, but I think I’m going to always be a dabbler at best – I love playing my 175 too much!

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

Thats a hard question! I loved seeing Russell Malone with Ray Brown and Benny Green many years ago in Wigan of all places! So strange, being in Wigan and thinking, there’s the bassist from ‘Charlie Parker with Strings!’ Anytime I see Adam Rogers he always blows me away. I’m not fussed if there’s no guitar on a gig – I’m more interested in the music than the instrumentation. Brad Mehldau always has something new to say. I recently saw Derek Trucks, and he was great! His tone and phrasing were just fantastic.

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

I’m sure anyone reading this will be familiar with the ‘biggies’ playing contemporary jazz guitar; Adam Rogers, Gilad Hekselman, Lage Lund, etc etc so I’d like to mention a few of the excellent players near me if I may. There was a group of us at Leeds College of Music that have gone on to be working pro jazz musicians, playing in very different styles. Simon King is an outrageous guitarist, and also plays several other instruments to a baffling level. Tam De Villiers is now based in Paris, and is quite amazing, check him out! John Kelly, Nick Svarc, Jamie Taylor are all great as well, and have totally different voices on the instrument.

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My Introduction to Jazz Guitar

We’ve all got our own story of how we came to love jazz music and specifically jazz guitar, maybe some of you came to it recently or some of you were lucky enough to have been exposed to it at a younger age. For me I was lucky enough when I was 15 to be leant an album on cassette called “The Jazz Guitar Album” and it all started there for me. As a teenager in my bedroom playing guitar, listening to The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix the jazz guitar tape give me lots of questions but sadly not very many answers -’what on earth were they playing!?’ Although I didn’t *dislike* it, I didn’t really know what to make of it either. The names on the tape sounded very exotic like the music within – Oscar Moore, Django Reinhardt, Bola Sete, Herb Ellis etc.

Here’s the track listing and my perspective from 2014 rather than what I thought at the time
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“The Jazz Guitar Album” Verve 2683065

1. Howard Roberts – Relaxin’ At Camarillo
Talk about a shot in the arm to start with! A great Parker bop track taken with incredible energy and an all round great group performance. I love the solo he takes on this; a less natural intuitive guitarist may have gone for another take to try and get it ‘perfect’ but you’d never get close to this again. For such a great natural guitarist it’s interesting to note that he’s remembered more for his involvement with education.

2. Kenny Burrell – Terrace Theme
Cool. Very cool. This track sounds like it might be a straight forward blues but then shows it’s hand with some slinky harmony over the B section. What a sound Kenny gets, I’m not sure anyone got a sound like him in jazz/blues.

3. Billy Bauer – It’s A Blue World
If you talk to any guitarist about close harmony jazz guitar they will no doubt (and quite rightly) talk about Johnny Smith BUT one of the greatest exponents was Billy Bauer. One of the (almost) forgotten greats of jazz guitar, please do search out this track as it’s such a great performance and if anyone has time to transcribe it then drop me a line!

4. Les Spann – Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams
Ah Dizzy Gillespie, one of my obsessions from a few years ago (and the name of my cat). This tune is not one that many modern jazzers have played (Bill Evans did as well as Diz) and I’m not sure why as it’s a great tune with some great movement in the chords in the B section to play off. Not content with being a great guitarist Les Spann was a flute player of great skill too.

5. Charlie Christian – AC-DC Current
One of the founding forefathers of the modern jazz guitar movement. Still can’t fathom how he imagined and played all that great music before passing away too young at only 25 years old- just think about that!

6. Barney Kessel – All The Things You Are
7. Herb Ellis – Gravy Waltz
Two more masters of jazz guitar. Such great taste and tone; performances like these makes you realise why they were such legends.

8. Jim Hall – All Across The City
This really stuck out in amongst the other tracks on this album and it’s such a sparse arrangement compared to a lot of the others just featuring Bill Evans and Jim. A lovely melody and one that sticks with you and makes you realise that sometimes less is more.

9. Bola Sete – Soul Samba
Bola was discovered by Dizzy Gillespie and went on to carve out a great career which blended together Samba and Jazz in a creative and energetic way, miles apart from the Bossa Nova movement. In recent years having seen his performances on Youtube I can say that he was the happiest guitarist in the world, so infectious! To my ears at the time this tune sounded a little odder compared to the others, less chord movement but more rhythm and percussion in the guitar playing. What a master!

10. Grant Green – That Lucky Old Sun
I could write an essay on Grant Green (maybe I will one day) and how he influenced my playing. I go through Grant Green obsessional phases every so often but I have to say that this isn’t in my favourites list. It’s not a bad performance (except maybe the slightly out of tune flute) but there’s lots more to celebrate in the Grant Green back catalogue.

11. Tal Farlow – I Remember You
Another stunning performance and one which I transcribed a few years ago. Tal really played unlike anyone else mainly because of his physical attributes; he had big hands and dwarfed any guitar he played and made big interval leaps easy and therefore they just became part of his jazz language. Everyone else was blown away including a young George Benson who has cited Tal amongst others as a big influence.

12. Laurindo Almeida – Samba Da Sahra
Very stylish track with the ever smooth tones of Stan Getz. Great chord movement in this self penned tune, deserves to be played more.

13. Django Reinhardt – Nuages
His signature tune this time performed with a big band, some lovely artificial harmonics in the solo.

14. George Benson – What’s New
I’ve listened to so much GB in my life and this track was a great introduction to start searching out his work. Worth noting the great young Herbie Hancock on this track.

15. Wes Montgomery – Four On Six
Not a lot can be said of Wes that hasn’t been said already. Every note of this is carved into our heads, what a great solo!

16. Johnny Smith – Sweet Lorraine
It turns out that this was a fairly rare track. All the amazing trademark chord work is present and correct, I literally couldn’t work out (and still can’t) how this was at all possible!

17. Oscar Moore – Oscar’s Blues
18. Jimmy Raney – Buddy’s Blues
Oscar Moore was one of the important early exponents of modern jazz guitar and Jimmy Raney was one of the bebop masters. I’m glad these tracks were on the album as I looked further into their playing in later years and found much to listen to.

19. Charlie Byrd – Samba Triste
Early on I got the Byrd/Getz albums and they are essential listening to students of jazz, such great playing and compositions.

20. John McLaughlin – Binky’s Beam
Now this one really foxed me as there seemed to be some clever odd time signature stuff happening in this track and it had a great raw sound to it. It spurred me onto discover probably one of the most influential musicians I’ve ever heard. Not traditional jazz guitar, something very new and exciting was happening here..

A year or so after that there was an offer in the Sunday paper where you had to collect some tokens to receive a free CD. There were 4 in the collection (Saxes, Groups, Piano and Guitar) and I managed to get all of them mainly because I was still intrigued and I recognised a couple of names of the players.
ojc jazz gtr
“The Great Jazz Guitarists” OJCGS1 (1994)
1. Charlie Byrd Trio “Let’s Do It”
2. Joe Pass “She’s Funny That Way”
3. Barney Kessell “Easy Like”
4. Barney Kessell “Tenderly”
5. Wes Montgomery “Repetition”
6. Wes Montgomery “D Natural Blues”
7. Wes Montgomery “Four on Six”
8. Barney Kessell “My Old Flame”
9. Barney Kessell “Jeepers Creepers”
10. Kenny Burrell “I Didn’t Know About You”

There was no looking back now and the other CD’s in the collection started to broaden my appreciation especially for Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane. Joe Pass’ tune on this album was the first time I’d heard anyone deal with jazz on a guitar as a solo instrument. I loved that tune so much I tried to learn it from the album and although I thought I had it down pretty much perfect, time and wisdom showed me otherwise. Oh well I was never going to be a solo jazz guitarist!

Do search out these artist and tunes if they are unfamiliar to you and hopefully they will inspire you like they did (and do) to me.

Dan J.

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Tom Painter interview

Tom Painter is a fantastic luthier who has built us a few archtops, you can read more here

1/What/who were your initial influences?
Barney Kessel was my first influence in jazz guitar. He just had so much enthusiasm and a bluesy style that was really accessible to me at the time (my late teens). Later, I discovered the other masters Pass, Farlow, Benson, Martino, Breau, etc. I was also really interested in Bossa Nova, the Bossa guitar was and still is just fascinating to me.

2/Are you gigging much at the moment and any projects in the pipeline?
I don’t gig right now.  I played through college, in the school jazz program and with my own group.

3/What’s your ‘desert island’ guitar or have you got it!?
My “desert island” guitar would have to be one of mine or a really fine classical guitar.

4/Best (jazz guitar) gig you’ve ever seen?
I saw Jimmy Bruno when I was 18 or so in Philly. His level of musicianship blew me away…almost incomprehensible. He was such a nice guy too….let me play his Benedetto! I felt the same way when I met Pat Martino.

5/Which guitarist(s) would you recommend for other people to check out?
With YouTube, we see there are so many people around the world playing at such a high level it’s just mind-boggling….and very humbling.  I’m a little old-fashioned in my taste, for me, Jimmy Raney is the Leibniz of bebop guitar.  The beautiful logic!

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David Angus interview

INITIAL INFLUENCES

In the mid 60’s I played rhythm guitar in a fairly regulation type r ‘n b
group in the Lancaster area having made fair copies of a Fender Jazz Bass and a Stratocaster for a ‘name’ guitarist who later became a top London session player. I imagine that Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry were the sounds that first caught my ear and of course the first Elvis album ( Blue Moon, Mystery Train etc., ). Bizaarly, I then heard Monty Sunshine play Petite Fleur (jazz!) in Chris Barber’s band and later the music of Sydney
Bechet and so took up clarinet for three or so years learning to reading in
the process.

After a career in design, teaching and retail management which left little
free time, I returnedto the guitar when my wife and I moved to Derbsyhire in the mid-1990s and for some time focussed on BB King and in particular Chicago Blues. My first lessons were with Andy Gatford in a back room at Foulds and I still have his excellent notes to crib from now when
I give the odd lesson! The instrument itself brought me to jazz and although
Wes had caught my ear in the 60’s it was not until we retired here to South -West France that I really became aware of the diversity of jazz guitar. Additionally, every town in this part of France has a music college and all French youngsters are taught Solfège. There is tremendous enthusiasm for music ‘en direct’ ie live and the span of genres is mind boggling but even here
( 1 1/2 hours north of Toulouse ) there are many pro and semi-pro jazz trios and quartets playing bebop and standards although not surprisingly the predominant style is manouche or gypsy jazz.

GIGGING

Jazz jam sessions hereabouts ( we are in a rural area ) are fairly thin on
the ground and in spite of my earlier comment re-pro level gigs the scope for ‘advanced beginner/intermediate’ players is fairly limited. Jamming with friends is very much the order of the day and I meet regularly with an English friend here who writes jingles and film music and has a profesional studio. He tends to lay down piano tracks and then we work on standards for fun. I have until recently been one of three ‘programmateurs’ who choose the headline acts for the Cahors Blues Festival ( oldest in France: www.cahorsbluesfestival.com ) and have played from time to time with committee members. I have also co-organised one or two charity
concerts here ie Tsunami, Haiti (Gary Brooker et al )etc. and this has
resulted in useful 1:1 jamming situations.
Of course, at my age ( a young 65ans! ) I just need the extra 10,000 hours
to get together my chops!!

GUITARS

When I left the UK ( almost 8 years ago now ) Dan was just getting together
his jazz guitar stock and archtops seemed much less interesting at that time. I seem to recall purchasing one acoustic flattop and one Strat from the
shop and a Laney amp ( or maybe the Fender DeLuxe 90 ). However, almost as soon as we arrived here I bought an Ibanez Artcore jobbie and loved the feel and tone although I now realise how humble it was. Shortly after, I was
in touch with the guy who established Peerless Guitars in the UK having
ordered a Jazz City direct from Korea. This resulted in my establishing numerous retail accounts from Toulouse to Bordeaux for Peerless. I also found a number of endorsees including Big Jim Sullivan and Bill Nelson for the marque and set up the link with Matt Otten who has had 1000,000s of hits on You Tube with the 2 models I sent him. I later on somehow ( quite legitimately! ) acquired a Peerless Monarch and a Renaissance Custom for my troubles. I love both guitars ( both all-solid )but find the mini- humbucker on the Monarch a little thin sounding and routinely play the guitar through a Boss EQ and the Renaissance Custom ( 330 clone ) now
has a Benedetto A6 in the neck – love it. They keep company with a Baja Tele
( SD Alnico II in the neck ) and French Lag Tramontane acoustic for ‘grab
and go’.

My ‘Desert Island’ choice is probably an Eastman depending upon my pension ‘lump sum’ when it arrives!

BEST (JAZZ GUITAR) GIG

Not sure how to quantify this one. I feel I ought to include John McLaughlin – Mahavishnu Orchestra in 1974 . However in recent years we have seen excellent concerts ( mostly at the fantastic Marciac Jazz Festival in
the Gers ) Al de Meola and Stanley Clarke and twice now, the incredible
Bireli Lagrene ( bebop as well as the manouche material.) Off to see him in
Nerac with Sylvan Luc in a couple of weeks. Last October we also saw John
Scofield with his trio at the Jazz Sur 31 festival ( 60 concerts in and
around Toulouse each autumn. Spoilt for choice! Best thing here too is the
average age of the audience at these gigs – mostly around 30ans.

GUITARISTS TO CHECK OUT

For me, BIRELI LAGRENE is probably one of the greatest living guitarists –
forget all the magazine surveys! Just catch him if you can. This is the guy
who had the entire repertoire of Django down by the time he appeared at the
Montreux Festival aged 14ans! Beyond that, I rate highly, Anthony Wilson (
who plays with Diana Krall ), Ted Greene, Pat Martino, Wes Montgomery, MIMI FOX, Bobby Broom, Grant Green, John Scofield, Russell Malone, Joe Pass and of course the vastly underrated Jimmy Bruno.

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Gav Miles interview

Well, I’ve only been dabbling in jazz for about 1 year now, but have had a guitar for years. I just started about a year ago after a back injury kept me from playing for ages and basically i just lost interest.
The first  who caught my interest was Eric Clapton from a CH4 concert from the BIC, with Phil Collins on the drums. I was a bit of a Genesis fan at the time and it was really the only reason for watching the concert.
From then I got into Clapton, Green, Page and then in rock players like Vai, Petrucci etc.
Then , after not having played for years, I saw a few vids on Youtube of guys playing jazz and started studying the scales etc.
I have a Youtube page with my rather sad efforts are for all to see, LOL!!
I¡d really love a Joe Pass model guitar, but that will have to wait.
I’ve not really been to any live jazz gigs if Im honest.
I’d recommend to other people the playing of Pass, Kessel; Benson , Ford, Montgomery, Smith, the list is endless

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Dan Martin interview

INFLUENCES

My initial influence from the perspective of the guitar starts with Jimi Hendrix. He, like other similar artists opened up the guitars capability. Working alongside Dan influenced the majority of music and artists I listen to today. During this time I have been introduced to: Indian music through Shakti with John Mclaughin, Flamenco/Classical music, and most importantly Jazz  The players that have influenced me in Jazz are: George Benson, Johnny Smith, Barney Kessel, Jim Hall, Ted Greene, Lenny Breau, Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery and Dan Johnson.

GIGGING

Currently I can only seem to manage a couple of gigs a month. We are very lucky to even have this opportunity to play the music we want too, rather than ‘restaurant’ music. Most of my time is spent in the woodshed at the moment as well as balancing all the things that are happening right now. I have been enjoying a duo with a bass player recently as this really encourages me to stretch my ideas over the course of an evening whilst attempting to keep interest. A future project would be to build on this format, coaxing the many possibilities with a view to perform more and record.

GUITAR

I am always lusting after guitars and over the years have owned many different types. Currently I am playing a D’aquisto Jazzline Junior (Japan), with its laminate construction and size the guitar is very comfortable to play and handles loud volume. The ‘Desert Island’ guitar would be the Tom Painter P-16 with its fantastic sound, although I would imagine the Benedetto guitars would certainly tempt anyone.

JAZZ GUITAR GIG

Joe Giglio w/ Bucky Pizzarelli, New York at the 107 West, circa 2006. This was perhaps the most significant gig of them all. It was my first time in NYC, taking in the wonderful surroundings, with a developing curiosity for Jazz. The warm reception I received from Joe, not to mention the extravagant guitar playing that I was blown away by, made my mind up on the music I wanted to study and enjoy. I have also had the opportunity to see Pat Metheny, Pat Martino, George Benson, John Mclaughlin, Phil Robson, Howard Alden, Jack Wilkins and many more.

OTHER GUITARISTS

I would always seek ‘local’ players out to share ideas with……… and hopefully gigs!! As well as the tremendous players listed above I would suggest:  Tony DeCaprio, Sheryl Bailey, Tuck Andress, Gary Potter, Jimmy Bruno. Two players that amaze me with their ability to capture the essence of Bill Evans on the guitar are: Stephen Anderson and Sid Jacobs.

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Joe Giglio interview

Joe’s a great guy and great player who I had the privilege of  hanging out with and playing a few gigs when he came over to the UK in Sept last year. He’s got some great CD’s available via CD Baby and iTunes, check them out.
1/What/who were your initial influences?
John Coltrane, Grant Green, Jim Hall, Sonny Rollins, Bill Evans, Lee Konitz, Wes Montgomery, Maynard Ferguson, Ricky Nelson & James Burton on the ‘Ozzie & Harriet’ TV show.

2/Are you gigging much at the moment and any projects in the pipeline?
I am gigging, but not *much*. The scene in NYC is pretty pitiful! I’ll sum it up in a slightly tongue in cheek comment (it is only slightly tongue in cheek):
‘The jazz gig scene in NYC is currently so bad that players are stabbing each other in the back for the best free (no pay-not ‘free jazz’) gigs…’

3/What’s your ‘desert island’ guitar or have you got it!?
If I had to pick one I would pick my Forshage ‘Ergo’ guitar-assuming I would have access to an amplifier.
Of course I would not prefer to pick only one guitar, so I will also mention my cherry red Epiphone ‘Sorrento’ w/P-90 pickups; my Gibson ES-330 ‘Longneck’; my ‘WD’ semi-hollow ‘Tele’; my cranberry red Epiphone ‘Riviera’; an early 1950s ‘Black Guard’ Fender Telecaster with neck pickup capacitor removed (I don’t own one, but if anyone wants to give me one, or the funds to purchase one, I assure them it will employ it to produce much inspired music!); a Lloyd Loar signed Gibson L5 ( again, awaiting the great generosity of a patron), & that should do it…

4/Best (jazz guitar) gig you’ve ever seen?
Pat Martino at the ‘Bottom Line’ in NYC, with the ‘Catalyst’ rhythm section circa 1974.

5/Which guitarist(s) would you recommend for other people to check out?
Let’s start with Joe Giglio, who is always trying to expand his musical palette by playing in many different contexts ranging from: ‘Guitar Trio playing standards in a fresh & modern way’; ‘Solo Guitar’ both traditional & modern; ‘Free/Avant Garde Jazz’ with small & large ensembles; ‘Hard Edged Blues/R & B/Rock’ in the NYC style; Traditional ‘Americana’ style music played with a modern consciousness, …
Also: Grant Green, Jim Hall, Kenny Burrell, Ed Bickert, Ted Greene, Lenny Breau, Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, Ben Monder, All the ‘Kings’; Robert Johnson, Julian Bream, Eddie Lang, Dennis Budimir, Joe Diorio, Jack Wilkins, Carl Barry, Dan Johnson, Dan Martin, Sonny Greenwich, Derrick Bailey, Bern Nix, Pat Martino, Joe Puma, Sonny Sharrock, Chuck Wayne, …

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