Posts Tagged Wes Montgomery

John Clarke Interview

John Clarke from the Southern Jazz Guitar Society contacted me and very kindly answered our interview questions. I will do a feature on UK jazz guitar societies soon.

What/who were your initial influences?

Jim Hall (‘Jazz Guitar’ with Carl Perkins and Red Mitchell), Barney Kessel (‘Four’ with Hamptom Hawes), Wes Montgomery (all the Riverside recordings)

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

I only average half a dozen gigs a year, and this year it’s less than that, but I play in public twice a month at jam sessions. Last year, one of the bands I play in supported the Clark Tracy Quintet at the Reading Jazz Cafe, and another band I play in has played at The Marlborough Jazz Festival, the Brighton Jazz Club, the Reading Jazz Club and the Southampton Jazz Club in the past. The close proximity of London, and the dearth of gigs there for pro musicians means that, now, these local gigs can attract London jazz musicians for modest fees, so there are fewer opportunities left for local semi-pros and good amateurs.

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

My ’59 Gibson L7 with Kent Armstrong custom archtop pick-up, but a similar vintage L5CES would be even better. I also have an Ibanez AS200 bought c. 1990, which is an exceptionally nice guitar.

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

Wes at Ronnie Scotts, I guess, but Pat Metheny at The Shaw Theatre c. 1980, and Mike Stern at the Bracknell Jazz Festival c, 1987 also stand out

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

Depends on the era (my taste covers all from fifties to the present). Pre 1980 – Wes Montgomery, Jim Hall, Kenny Burrell, Grant Green, Pat Martino, and Jimmy Raney are my favourites. Post 1980 – Pat Metheny, John Scofield, and Mike Stern, or for a more conventional sound, Peter Bernstein and Jesse Van Ruller.

John Clarke
Basingstoke

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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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Tiago Paiva interview

Thanks Tiago, for someone who hasn’t played jazz for that long it sounds like you’ve got some great influences there!

What/who were your initial influences?

What got me into jazz was Pat Metheny, later on I started to listen a lot to Miles and Coltrane and also Wes Montgomery. I’m still in the beginning of playing jazz guitar, I’ve been playing guitar for 4 years and started playing jazz 2 years ago. Now what I’ve been listening more to modern jazz and that’s probably my biggest influence so far.

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

I’m not gigging much but a fair bit actually, but nothing regular so far. I’ve a couple of active projects, one of those being a modern jazz quintet (guitar, saxophone, piano, drums and double bass), we play originals which is really fun, and a more standard oriented quartet (vocals, guitar, double bass and drums). Apart from that I’ve also been playing trio (guitar, double bass and drums) in a jam session where we are resident musicians. In the future I would like to try to get more with busy with this (or another) trio since I love to play in a formation like this.

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

Difficult one since I’ve never played many jazz guitars. I really like how those sadowsky guitars look and sound, so I would guess that my desert island guitar would be a sadowsky semi-hollow. But I’m really satisfied with main guitar (Peerless Manhattan), which I bought recently from Foulds Guitar, I’ve already had a couple of really good experiences with it while gigging and rehearsing.

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

I live in Portugal and there are really good guitar players here and I’ve not seen many international guitar players like so I would say that the most incredible jazz guitarist I’ve seen was Kurt Rosenwinkel but it was in a masterclass not a gig, and the most incredible jazz gig I’ve seen was André Fernandes (I totally recommend it) with is quintet here in Lisbon.

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

Well there are a couple of portuguese jazz guitarrists that I really like for example André Fernandes, Afonso Pais, Nuno Costa etc. I recommend, if you can, to grab their albuns, they are really good. Internationally I’ve recently found Lage Lund and I’m really impressed with is playing I’ve been listening a lot to him and also, if you don’t know him already, Ben Monder you got to love that sound he has.

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Tony Marshall interview

Tony is a great player currently residing in France, there’s an album currently on iTunes called “Made In Brittany” which is great, full of choice standards and well worth checking out!
1.What/who were your initial influences?
Johnny Smith, Wes Montgomery, Barney Kessel and Tal Farlow.
2.Are you gigging much at the moment and any projects in the pipeline?
Living in rural France very little work. However I have some duo gigs with Bruce Adams in March, plus 5 days in Paris at Le Caveau de la Huchette with Bruce and rhythm section in April. Major Jazz Festival in Brittany in July – two 7 string guitar duo with Parisian guitarist Dano Haider.
3.What’s your ‘desert island’ guitar or have you got it!?
Jimmy Foster St Charles Ave 7 string Custom with EMG active electronics, quite simply the best guitar I have ever owned. I have two of them and the second one, a 7 string with a Charlie Christian pu, is a very close second.
4.Best (jazz guitar) gig you’ve ever seen?
Wes Montgomery live at Ronnie Scott’s old club in Gerard St. 1965
5.Which guitarist(s) would you recommend for other people to check out?
Ron Eschete, Larry Koonse, Ed Bickert, Peter Leitch, Gilad Hekselman and Jonathan Kreisberg.

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