Friday, July 8, 2022
Welcome back to my blog. This time around we have four great guitarists. Each one is different than the other. Let me introduce Bill Farrish. Freddie Bryant, Michael Coppolla, and Nelson Riveros.
Off-Broadway productions of The Man of LaMancha, Lil’ Shop of Horrors, Hair, and Tapestry. Television credits include: Bea Moss Productions and “The Carl Bruno Show“ TCI Cable, TV., featured artist in the independently released production “An Evening with Bill Farrish” by Raven Productions, QPTV, and composer of the theme and incidental music for The Park, Eun Kyung Show, Radio Seoul, Flushing NY, and many jingles. Contributing writer for Jazz Guitar Today. Bill is also an Assistant Professor of Music at Five Towns College where he teaches jazz guitar, Harmony, and Ear Training courses and maintains his own private teaching practice.
To learn more about Bill and what he is up to, visit his website:https://www.billfarrish.com
1. How long are you playing?
I’ve been playing guitar for about 48 yrs now. I started playing guitar when I was 12 years old. I played mostly blues and whatever rock songs I could figure out like most kids. At one point I heard Miles Davis’ “Milestones” album and that was it for me. I started on trumpet when I was in grade school, PS 2. That was very, very short-lived though. I’m surprised that I continued with music after that experience. The school’s music teacher was really a miserable guy. It was because of him that I refused to study with anyone. I learned the guitar and about music on my own from recordings and books I would get from the library until I went to college. College was a completely different environment. It was totally supportive. However, I always felt like I was behind everyone else. I was constantly shedding, 8 or more hours a day. I was committed that music was what I was going to do with the rest of my life so it all just seemed natural to put that kind of time into it. As a student, I studied extensively with John Abercrombie, JoAnne Brackeen, Joe Monk, Peter Rogine, Joe Carbone, and Doug Munro.
2. Why Jazz? I wanted to be a studio musician when I was younger. I had learned that most of the players doing recording sessions were jazz musicians. I was curious and I wanted to learn about that music. I bought the Jerry Coker Improvisation book and there’s a list of albums on the back of it. I went to the library the next day and took out Milestones, Maiden Voyage, and Giant Steps. That was all I needed to hear; I was hooked after that.
3. Who are your Major influences? I’m all over the place. That’s always been a difficult question for me. I’m not sure if I have any “major” influences. When I was younger it was Buddy Guy, BB King, Jimmy Page, Chuck Berry, Jeff Beck - mostly blues players. In college when I got serious about jazz, I was drawn immediately to Jim Hall’s playing. Later on I got into Bill Evans, Wes, Joe Diorio, Johnny Smith, Frisell, Scofield, and Stern. John Abercrombie was a big influence. I got to study with John for a couple of years. I had already been playing professionally at that time so the lessons were ac just playing songs, and talking about music and life for about 4 hrs a week. That was a great education in- itself. Looking back, I really learned a lot from John in terms of approaching music and composition. He was the real deal both as a musician and as a person. When my father passed away, John spent about two hours talking on the phone with me, which was really kind. He was that kind of person. I was also influenced by a lot of horn players like Miles, Coltrane, Lester Young, Dave Liebman, Brecker, Ornette, Louis Armstrong, and Sonny Rollins. I’ve also gotten - heavily into Bartok, Chopin, Bach, and Debussy at times. Recently I’ve been listening to Mampou.
4. How do you feel about the use of electronics? No problem with it whatsoever if it’s done tastefully in terms of what the music asks for. By that I mean even if effects are used to an extreme, if it fits what’s happening with the music it’s a non-issue. Personally, I always use a bit of reverb or delay. I like the immediacy of solid-state amps but they can be a bit sterile sounding. I find some reverb or a bit of delay tends to fatten them up and add a bit of a vocal quality to the sound. Depending on the situation I might also use an old Rat pedal for some edge on the sound and a volume pedal. Once -in -a -while, I’ll use a chorus pedal, which I have a love-hate relationship with. I love it when I hear other guitarists using one. At times when I use it though it literally drives me nuts. Just the out-of-tune-ness it creates really messes with my ears, and at times and I find myself trying to push the notes back in tune. With all of that said I’m also extremely happy most of the time to just get the guitar to sound like a guitar, which is something I’ve spent my entire life working on.
5. Where do you think Jazz is headed? I think it’s heading exactly where it should be in terms of music. Young musicians are still into the music, and I think going to change with every generation. You can’t invite new people/musicians into the music and expect them to leave their personal experiences at the door, that’s absurd, Unfortunately, that’s what I hear a lot of older musicians asking and at times demanding from them. That’s a sure way to put an end to the music. We all preach how great this music is and how accepting it is and then put down folks for doing something different with it. Very silly and a hypo-critical. I think. Now with social media, we have fans of the music following musicians, and reading posts with this infighting happening. That’s not such a great way to attract an audience.
The music will continue to evolve and change, it’s normal in a healthy artistic culture for that to happen. It’s a very tired and old argument that some put out there - “it has to be this or has to be that” You can only wonder what someone’s motivation might be for making such statements. We all learn and come at things from different angles. Some start with what’s happening now and as they learn and progress, they work their way back through the history of the music. Others start with the history and work their way forward. Eventually, we all end up in relatively the same place. It doesn’t matter which roads we take to get there. Anyway, all in all, I’m optimistic about the future of music.
He has toured 55 countries and collaborated with musicians from various backgrounds, including Indian classical musicians, African singers, oud players, traditional Arab groups, and klezmer bands. In 2006, Bryant spent a week in Cuba, performing and working with other musicians. As an impassioned educator, he has taught jazz to all ages worldwide.
Bryant is on the faculties of Berklee College of Music and Prince Claus Conservatory in Groningen, Holland. 2017 saw the world premiere at the London Human Rights Watch Film Festival of Complicit with his music score. He was a recipient of the CMA New Jazz Works Composition Grant, 2019 and the resulting piece will be an epic work for 9 piece jazz band that premiered in 2020 featuring an all-star cast of Regina Carter, Donny McCaslin, Steve Wilson, Akua Dixon, Gwen Laster and vocalist, Carla Cook.
His new CD, Monk Restrung, celebrates the music of Thelonious Monk. He has seven other CDs as a leader: Dreamscape: Solo, Duo, Trio featuring Chris Potter and Scott Colley (GJKSounds), Live Grooves…Epic Tales with his band Kaleidoscope including Donny McCaslin and Yosvany Terry (HiPNOTIC records), Brazilian Rosewood, Boogaloo Brasileiro, Live at Smoke with Steve Wilson, Chris Cheek, Diego Urcola, Edward Simon, Edsel Gomez, Avishai Cohen and Jordi Rossy (Fresh Sound Records); and Take Your Dance into Battle with Steve Wilson, Don Braden, Ira Coleman and Billy Drummond (Jazz City Spirit) as well as Trio del Sol (Twinz Records) with Misha Piatigorsky and Gilad.
To learn more about Freddie, visit his website: https://www.freddiebryant.com/
1. How long are you playing?
I've been studying guitar since I was a child, somewhere around 7 years old? My parents were musicians and my father, was a pianist so piano lessons came first but the guitar was my voice - my own, without the baggage or intimidation of playing my father's instrument. He was a great person and very nice, not a strict authoritarian but I still appreciated that I was more independent on the guitar.
As for professional playing, I had my first real gig as a senior in high school (1983). My high school band teacher hired a professional drummer to play my senior concert. His name was J. R. Mitchell. He hired me to play one of those union lunchtime gigs in midtown. That's where I met great musicians who became my mentors like bassist Dennis Irwin and saxophonist, Carter Jefferson. After that, I kept up with the jazz scene in NYC. I was lucky enough to grow up in the city and have a family home here. I always was impressed with musicians who could come to such a huge and unfamiliar place to make it playing music. But I had a support system so had it a bit easier.
2. Why Jazz?
Again, I think jazz was my voice. I loved the music my parents played. My mother sang in seven languages, sang Italian arias, German Lieder, French chanson to Russian and Yiddish songs, etc. She was the best "Serena" in Porgy and Bess (my humble and very subjective opinion!). Every concert ended with show tunes, so that was the beginning of my connection with "standards" that jazz players sometimes played.
But the key was the deep and moving Negro spirituals she sang like Swing Low, Sweet Chariot and Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child. These gave me an easy connection to the blues. Growing up I was always deeply connected to my African-American heritage and blues connected to jazz and, my early interest in guitarists like B.B. King, Chuck Berry, and Bo Diddley. My father was Caucasian and a deeply soulful and progressive person - marrying a black woman in the '50s, being called in front of McCarthy and the Un-American Committee, and having a curly-haired, olive complexion child as a 70-year-old! He was supportive of my interests but the first records they gave me were of Classical guitar masters like Segovia and Carlos Montoya.
That Classical sound and tradition have never left me. I have a masters in Classical guitar from Yale School of Music and play a lot of jazz-related music on the "Spanish Guitar," so my relation to jazz and the answer to your question is more complex and nuanced - beyond the "J" word!
3. Who are your Major influences? As mentioned, Segovia, classical guitar, and B.B. King to Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, Grant Green, and George Benson. And on the way a diversion into Brazilian music (Baden Powell, Raphael Rabello, João Bosco, and Gilberto and Gilberto Gil, etc). But I'd have to say Charles Mingus and Rahsaan Roland Kirk at the top as well as Miles Davis, and John Coltrane as well as hard Bop kings like Art Blakey, Lee Morgan, and modernists like Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Woody Shaw.
I'm not a guitar fanatic and sometimes all that picking really annoys me! Jajaja!
4. How do you feel about the use of electronics?
I'm cool with it, as long as it's musical. Sometimes sounds that completely rely on midi to hide this individual distinctive sound. But lines and phrasing come out regardless - like Metheny's midi sounds you can hear his phrasing and voice and regardless of how much distortion you can airways feel and hear Hendrix clearly.
5. Where do you think Jazz is headed?
I'd rather stay out of this discussion because I don't think my opinion matters much. Also, it'll be easier to say in fifty years, Jajaja!
From my extensive travel, performing and playing with musicians in fifty-five countries I'd say jazz is alive and well BUT traveling on a thousand different paths. These paths can be 100% alien and unfamiliar to someone trained in the tradition of American jazz from the 20th century. It goes from fusions with traditional cultures around the world to electronic and produced music varying from Euro-centric modern classical to Hip Hop. Debating whether to can these music styles "Jazz" is as tiring as debating whether to even use the term jazz - even as related to what's normally thought of as jazz. For instance, some of my mentors, Max Roach, and Dr. Billy Taylor liked to call it American Classical Music and Nicolas Payton has continued in a similar vein by using the term BAM.
Certainly, some of the improvised music I've encountered on my travels has had little similarity and connection to "American" music, yet they feel inspiration from jazz and American artists even though they grow further away from that tradition.
In the end terms and labels are annoying and also anti-musical and anti-creative so I just listen for the spirit of the people playing and the group dynamic. I'm happy if it sounds different as long as it's honest and heartfelt.
On the other hand,the music business will not reflect the true nature and huge body of work that is out there. It will always be limited and restricted to a smaller number of the artists. So the "Jazz Business" is not what I prefer to follow to show me where Jazz is headed.
In 1986, after a stint in the John Mehegan Trio, Michael began expanding the harmonic possibilities of the guitar by adding 2 extra inner higher octave strings between the 4th and 5th, to easily achieve the tight voicing pianistic sounds of Bill Evans. In 2000, he added a 9th string to the new group, completing the “Hydra” guitar. From this instrument, in Michael’s hands, one hears not only pianistic comping but unique harp-like sounds woven into traditional guitar-type lines.
Jazz critic, Scott Yannow, in his book, “The Great Jazz Guitarists” called Michael “a master of the 9-string guitar”. Michael has played at major jazz and guitar events such as the Montreal Jazz festival, the NAMM show, and the Chet Atkins festival. He has also played at New York City clubs such as the Blue Note, Knickerbockers, and the Iridium, where he was invited to perform with the legendary guitarist Les Paul. Michael has several recordings as a leader Including “Return of the Hydra” which was a top ten pick for Coda magazine in 2004.
Coppola has been featured in many guitar-based magazines such as Just Jazz Guitar, 20th Century Guitar, Guitar Player, Fingerstyle Guitar, and more.
In addition to extensive solo guitar playing, Michael performs with small groups and duos with vocalists, bassists, and other guitarists, including many of today’s notable players such as Gene Bertoncini, Jack Wilkins, Tony Purrone, Howard Alden, Robert Conti, and more.
To learn more about Michael, visit his website:http://9string.com/
1. How long are you playing?
I began guitar at age 11 at a local music store in Fairfield, Ct. At 15 I took 2?years of lessons with Sal Salvador and at 17 added local classical guitar lessons to my studies. I then went to Boston Conservatory Of Music and the Vienna (Austria) International Music Center.
2. Why Jazz? Like so many kids my age in the early 70’s, I became fascinated with John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. This led me to more traditional jazz. In my first year of music school I heard Joe Pass’ “Virtuoso” and was hooked.
3. Who are your Major influences? John McLaughlin, Joe Pass as mentioned above, also Wes, Bill Evans, McCoy, Walter Bishop Jr and Joe Diorio
4. How do you feel about the use of electronics?
I don’t personally partake, but have no problem with others using them with taste and purpose.
5. Where do you think Jazz is headed?
Everyone will switch to 9 string guitar any minute now LOL. I believe that jazz evolved so quickly compared to classical music that there were many stones left unturned. I don’t see it heading anywhere new, but rather exploring more deeply the innovations from the masters of the 60 s, such as, Dolphy, Coltrane, Taylor, Mingus, and so many others.
Nelson Riveros:A New York based guitarist, vocalist and composer Nelsonis part of an emerging force of a new generation of Contemporary Latin-Jazz artists. He received his Masters Degree from New Jersey City University in Jazz Performance and Business. His latest recording the “Latin Side of We Montgomery” on Zoho Music reached #2 on Jazz Week and was the #7 most played Jazz CD of the Top 100 on Jazz Radio in the US in 2021. Nelson took several of Wes Montgomery’s compositions and arranged them in different Latin and Caribbean styles creating a fresh new sound on Wes’s music. As Awilda Rivera from WBGO 88.3 FM quoted “Nelson is killin’ it on the Latin Side of Wes Montgomery” In making this terrific album Nelson collaborated with Grammy winning and Grammy nominated musicians Hector Martignon-piano, Andy McKee -bass, Mark Walker- drums, Jonathan Gomez- percussion. Nelson’s group has performed at The Iridium, The Side Door, Zinc Bar, 55 Bar, Mintons, Trumpets, The Bar Next Door. He did a tour of Colombia in 2014. Riveros has also performed with John Benitez, Jeff Tain Watts, Regina Carter, Jeremy Wall of Spyro Gyra. He performed for the CD release of ‘Charles Ives for Jazz Orchestra’ arranged and conducted by saxophonist Jack Copper of the University of Tennessee featuring Luis Bonilla, Billy Drews, Scott Wentholt, Jim Seeley, John Mosca, Ivan Renta, Vince Cherico and many other noted musicians. His debut recording ‘Camino Al Barrio’ peaked at #8 on the Jazz Week World Music Chart. He was voted as,”Best Next Generation Artist” and ‘Best Latin Jazz Guitar for the 2010 Latin Jazz Corner Best of The Year Awards. Nelson was on the music faculty of the 92nd St School of Music for 12 years and now has built his own teaching guitar business.
1. How long have you been playing?
I’ve been playing guitar for about 40 years, since I was about 14 yrs old. There were two brothers that were a few years older than me, who played guitar and lived in a house behind my building. They had a band and I use to follow them around and go to their rehearsals and gigs. These events sparked my interest in guitar. So I got a paper route and purchased my first guitar and amp. I started learning off of records slowing down the turntable. I also took some lessons at a local music store. I stared playing Rock as most of us do but I also soaked up everything I heard on the radio. Rock, Disco, Funk, Reggae. I carried a small radio with my everywhere I went. I loved all of it and it all influenced my deeply. I started playing with a Rock band mostly basement and block parties in my senior year of high school. One day a friend came over with an LP of Al Di Meola and that changed it all for me. I bought a couple of his records but I really had to SLOW those records just to learn a few lines.
2. Why Jazz?
It was a revelation to me when I heard the spontaneity and fluidness of improvisation in Jazz and I wanted to know how to do that. The complex harmonies and rhythms resonated deeply in me. I wanted to play and write music with all of it.
3. Who are your Major influences?
My major influences in music and guitar are Wes Montgomery, George Bien, my first guitar teacher who turned me on to many jazz player. Pat Martino, George Benson, Larry Carlton. Lee Ritenour,Jaoa Bosco, Joe Pass and Pat Metheny have been two of my greatest compositional influences. Both are VERY different but their styles have found a way into my music in a profound way.
Al Di Meola was the first Jazz/Fusion guitarist I ever heard when I was already playing Rock for a few years. Also Miles Davis, Jobim, Ivan Lins, Keith Jarrett,Chick Corea, John Coltrane, Afro-Cuban music. My first jazz guitar teacher and a major influence of mine George Bien turned me onto to many great records of the players I mentioned as well as, Joe Pass, Barney Kessel and John Mclaughlin.
In my mid-twenties I studied with Remo Palmieri. He was a studio musician and on staff with Arthur Godfrey on CBS Radio but had also played with Coleman Hawkins, Teddy Wilson, Dizzy, Charlie Parker and Billy Holliday, Art Tatum, and many others. He really got me into the language of Jazz and Bebop and how to think of using 2 or 3 other chords when improvising over any chord. He would write out solos over tunes for me to analyze, and he would arrange beautiful chord melodies for me. I still have all of Remo’s lessons and may do a Blog or You Tube Channel dedicated to him featuring this work.
He changed his name legally from Palmieri to Palmier in 1952 to avoid being confused with Eddie Palmieri. I also studied with Gene Bertoncini who helped me visualize the fretboard and Vic Juris who just being in his presence said it all to me.
How do you feel about the use of electronics The use of electronics is great if they are used well. Many players really know how to use them and have become an extension of them and their sound. I like using effects to enhance the sound. I love a nice clean smooth overdrive on certain solos and tunes and a booster pedal. Mainly I use delay and reverb and an occasional chorus.
Now I'm going to start exploring more with synth and flute-type sounds. I play different kinds of music that often need more electronics.
5. Where do you think Jazz is headed?
I think Jazz is going to continue to evolve with different musical influences while keeping the tradition. This keeps the music fresh.
Many young musicians have taken Jazz into very expressive and beautiful areas with their innovative and creative ways. Even though a lot of Jazz has been sampled by hip-hop and rap artists they are still having people improvise over this. The tradition is also being kept alive at the educational level and I think this is very important.
We have to keep finding creative ways to turn young people on to this music, which has already been going on for quite some time.
I want to thank all the participants for their talent and contributions to this blog and jazz.
Sunday, June 5, 2022
This is my next Blog about guitarists, in my estimation, could you use more exposure. This is a group of innovative players. Each and every one of them is a cut above. Let me introduce you to John Stowell, Steve Adelson, Dave Allen, Tom Lippincott, and Taylor Roberts. All will answer the same five questions.
In 1983, John and David joined flutist Paul Horn and Paul's son Robin Horn (on drums) for a historical tour of the Soviet Union. This was the first time in forty years that an American jazz group had been invited to play public performances in Russia. In 1993, 1995, 1998, and 2012 John returned to Russia, playing in numerous cities. His two sold-out performances in Kursk may have been the first appearances there by an American jazz musician.
John continues to tour, record, and teach internationally. He has been Artist-In-Residence at schools in Germany, Indonesia, Argentina, the United States, and Canada. He served as assistant director and performer in Oregon Public Broadcasting's PDX Jazz Summit in 1991, and since 1995 has been a contributing columnist for several magazines, including "Downbeat", "Guitar Player", "Canadian Musician", "Soundcheck" (Germany), and "Guitar Club" (Italy). Chosen "Talent Deserving Wider Recognition" by Downbeat's International Critic's Poll, 1978 and 1979
To learn more about John, visit his website: http://www.johnstowell.com/
DM: How long have you played the guitar?
JS: I’ve been playing the guitar for about 60 years. Playing and studying jazz for 50 years. My teachers were pianist John Mehegan and guitarist Linc Chamberland, and they were both very helpful in terms of giving me a good foundation. They also encouraged me to sit in with them at their gigs, and that was a valuable experience for me; I was able to learn some repertoire and get experience playing with seasoned musicians.
DM: Who were your major influences?
JS: I played in rock bands in my teenage years. The early fusion of the 1970s (Miles, Weather Report, Return to Forever) pulled me into jazz. Once I began studying harmony and theory, I began to listen to jazz from the 1930s-the 1960s. When I became aware of the rich history of this music and its rich harmonic and melodic vocabulary, I was hooked I’ve never copied anyone, but I’ve done a lot of listening. I would count Jim Hall, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Sonny Rollins, and Cannonball Adderley
As some of my favorite players. I encourage guitarists to listen to horn players and singers to learn how to breathe on their instruments and leave space. Pianists are also a good resource for us to learn about how to comp and to focus on voice leading and integrating chords and single lines into comping.
DM: How do you feel about the use of electronics?
JS: I think some guitarists use electronics very creatively and I enjoy hearing them. These days I use some reverb in stereo on my gigs, mixing a tube and solid-state amp together to get a nice spread to my sound. In the studio, In the studio, I use a close mic on my guitar to capture some pick articulation. I’m interested in hearing how my touch and a pure sound can create a sound and a recognizable identity when someone hears me play.
DM: Where do you think Jazz is headed"
JS: Jazz has always combined eclectic musical traditions, and will continue to do so. With the internet, musicians all over the world can become aware of each other and reach out to create virtual and/or in-person collaborations. I’m not sure what new hybrids of jazz will emerge, but I think that the more traditional jazz repertoire will continue to be performed along with any new forms of the music.
Steve Adelson is the premier jazz Chapman Stick player. He has six recordings as a bandleader and has guested on CDs by the Dean Brown Band, Standa Barak, Special EFX, and others. A pioneer in the tapping technique style, Steve is listed as the only Stick player in Scott Yanow's book "The Great Jazz Guitarists". Steve has recorded or performed with Larry Coryell, Tony Levin, Oz Noy, Rachel Z, Les Paul, Chieli Minucci, Pat Martino, Danny Gottlieb, Frank Vignola, Stanley Jordan, and others. He is the author of Mel Bay's "Stickology...." and "Ultimate Stick" with TrueFire Video Productions. Steve has written for Twentieth Century Guitar, Downbeat, and Jazz Improv magazines. He has played at international jazz festivals traveling to The Czech Republic, Germany, Japan, Italy, Turkey and Canada. Steve produced the Long Beach, NY Jazz Fest for 16 years. He helped install the Chapman Stick exhibit at The Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix and performed there with Emmett Chapman. Steve now resides in the Phoenix area.
To learn more about Steve, visit his website: www.steveadelson.com
DM: How long are you playing ( can include teachers you studied with etc
SA: I started playing guitar in 1969. Played rock of the day, then fingerpicking ala Leo Kottke, John Fahey. Took jazz guitar lessons with Charlie Didier in Brooklyn, NY. Had a weekly duo jazz guitar gig in Manhattan mid 70's for two years where I got to play with, and learn from great players including Jimmy Ponder, Attila Zoller, Jack Wilkins, and Chuck Wayne. Started tapping on the guitar when I first saw Stanley Jordan in 1983. Bought my first Chapman Stick a few months later. Lots of music still waiting to be discovered on this incredibly creative sonic tool. Revolutionary
DM: Why Jazz
SA: As I said before I was a child of the 60's, so I listened to The Beatles, Zappa, The Allman Brothers, and Jethro Tull. I discovered jazz later on through my teacher, Charlie Didier. Loved the challenge of those sophisticated harmonies and solo lines. While I still enjoy the energy of those rock classics, the complexities and swing elements are very appealing as a player, especially on an instrument that has little history
DM: Who are your major influences?
SA: Guitarists would be primarily Wes, Django, and Pat Martino. Then some of the bebop guys like Jimmy Raney and Tal Farlow. Pat Metheny is major as an innovative player and composer Of course encountering Stanley Jordan changed my life. I also dig finger stylists like Michael Hedges and Leo Kottke. My buddy Ben Lacy is a major influence. Bassists are a part of the equation. Listening to Victor Wooten, Michael Manring, Jaco, and Ron Carter affects my bass accompaniment concepts. Also, pianists like McCoy, Oscar, Herbie, and Chick. Remember, I'm playing simultaneous guitar and bass on the Stick so my influences come from multiple sources.
DM: How do you feel about the use of electronics
SA: I always use a Roland VG 99 effects processor. The tapping technique has a different string attack. The guitar and amp simulators get me closer to the sound I need. And I definitely use effects for certain genres like funk or fusion. Besides Wes covers, I do play jazz versions of Led Zep and Stevie Wonder. Phasers, delay, wah-wah, distortion are all part of the equation for creative output
DM" Where do you think Jazz is headed
SA: Hopefully on an innovative path. Honoring historic jazz playing is great. But I absolutely appreciate players like Holdsworth, Jeff Beck, and Oz Noy as well. Their creative spirit and forward-thinking are vital to jazz. The music must move forward. From Django to Wes to Martino and Metheny, improvised music must evolve and challenge our ears. Innovative concepts are very welcome
Taylor Roberts: The love affair with the guitar. began early, which may very well explain how Taylor Roberts’ professional career is well into its second decade. Spanning a wide range of influence and success, Taylor Roberts has earned a reputation as one of the Southeast’s top calls for Jazz Guitar. Yet, it is not just the jazz label that defines Roberts’ career. He cut his young teeth on punk, dove headlong into classic rock standards, and found a voice in jazz. Yet, Roberts does not easily fit into any one box.
Years of intensive study with world-renowned educators such as Barry Greene, Keith Javors, and Bunky Green have proven to continually pay off as his career expands. His reworkings and adaptations of songs old and new entrance established fans, serving up Roberts with the type of challenge that any artist craves, the ability to be creative while erasing expectation and assumption. Roberts has appeared multiple times at the Jacksonville Jazz Festival and has toured internationally with the Christian Tamburr Quintet. He has been hired by the Rolling Stones to play their private events. Accolade and admiration are the reward for years dedicated to the guitar. Forever enveloped in humility, Roberts will always attribute his success to the simple tenet, “music serves all occasions.”
Since switching to 7-string, he has become a favorite among local and regional vocalists for duo work and can be seen frequently playing solo guitar at events in Jacksonville and the surrounding areas. Roberts can do what few can, which is delivering the whole song on one instrument. No looping stations. No playback tracks. Yet, a sound so full and rich that the casual listener is taken aback and the professional stands in awe.
Likened to Tommy Emmanuel, Russell Malone, Tuck Andress, and Charlie Hunter, Roberts’ masterful playing has begun to etch his name alongside his heroes. He continues to learn and record and in 2021 released his sophomore album, “Live at the Blue Jay.” Roberts doing what he does best, connecting with people through his music and inviting all to relish in the sound.
To learn more about Taylor, visit his website: http://tr7guitar.com
DM: How long are you playing? ( can include teachers you studied with etc)
TR: I started in 1995, at age 13. This was after a touch-and-go relationship with the piano, starting around 6. When Green Day hit the scene, I wanted to play drums (for obvious reasons: their drummer is incredible!), but my parents thankfully bought me a Peavey Predator with a little practice amp instead. I started lessons immediately at the Academy of Music and Art in Gainesville, FL. I kept it a secret from all my friends for the first couple of months because I wanted to wow them all. By that point, I had my power chords together. That was enough at the time.
DM: Why Jazz?
TR: To be honest, I hadn’t had much exposure or interest in Jazz until my junior year of high school, when a friend’s mom urged me to join the Jazz Band. Thankfully, there were a couple of other kids in the band who turned me on to Wes, Coltrane, Bird, Miles, etc. I was hooked. It also seemed like a feasible route for me in terms of college.
DM: Who are your major influences?
TR: Wes Montgomery is, and likely always will be, my favorite guitar player. In any genre. Outside of that, I’ve borrowed (stolen) lots from Joe Pass, Russell Malone, Tommy Emmanuel, Charlie Hunter, Tuck Andress, and Lenny Breau. DM: How do you feel about the use of electronics?
TR: While I don’t personally do anything beyond plug-and-play, I’m all for it! Jazz, to me, implies infinite possibilities. As Wayne Shorter put it, “Jazz means ‘I dare you. ’” DM: Where do you think Jazz is headed?
TR: I’ve noticed a serious resurgence in the music, especially over the past ten years. There will always be purists out there, waxing philosophical on what “is” or “isn’t” Jazz. That discussion frankly bores me. I don’t care what you call it. I play music from all genres, and while 100% subjective, good music is good music. What I can’t afford to forget is that, at its core, it is an African-American art form. Blues, Jazz, Rock, Soul, R&B, Hip Hop. I love it all. It’s always spoken to me. Robert Glasper, for example, has taken the music into an incredibly beautiful and expressive territory. I’m excited when I hear kids call Roy Hargrove tunes at jam sessions. Being a stubborn optimist at heart, I can’t wait to see and hear what the future of Jazz has in store for us.
Dave Allen is one of the more distinctive voices on his instrument today. He has continually sought to forge a unique vision through his playing and writing, one that features lyrical melodies with lilting, complex rhythms, and rich, intricate harmonies. At the age of 16, Allen was already recognized by Guitar Player Magazine as a talent to watch. Born in Philadelphia, Allen moved to New York in 1988 to attend the Manhattan School of Music. Leading his own groups for the past 20 years, Allen has has worked with many of the most exciting young players in New York City, including David Liebman, Mark Turner,, Seamus Blake, Jeff Ballard, Ravi Coltrane, Drew Gress, Donny McCaslin, Dave Binney, Marcus Gilmore, Tyshawn Sorey, Miguel Zenon, Ted Poor, Tom Rainey, and many others. Allen has two critically acclaimed CDs featuring his original compositions; "Untold Stories" and "Real and Imagined"
To learn more about Dave visit his website: http://www.kk-en.org/dave-allen.html
DM: How long are you playing ( can include teachers you studied with etc)
DA: I started playing at 13. I became serious about it pretty quickly and put in a lot of practice time. I started composing, though I didn’t really know what I was doing at that time. At 18 I went to the Manhattan School of Music where I studied with Jack Wilkins and Chris Rosenberg, who was in Ornette Coleman’s band at the time. New York City was the campus. You could hear the best players in the world at places like the 55 Bar, Cornelia St Café, and the Vanguard. I started playing at those venues as well and I spent 25 years in NYC. I was fortunate to play with so many incredible players. I had regular gigs as a leader/composer and was able to experiment with different combinations of players.
DM: Why Jazz”
DA: I feel like jazz was inevitably going to be my focus. I’ve always had a natural affinity for things that are challenging, difficult and mysterious. The intricacy, complexity, and beauty of improvisation pulled me in. At some point I heard Metheny and Chick Corea, and that eventually led me to Coltrane, Monk, Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter and Keith Jarrett. Those players are still the ones I listen to the most, over 30 years later. I call them “life’s work artists”. Those that you can spend your life studying and never grow tired of. Jazz is a small word for a large spectrum of music.
DM: Who are your major influences.
DA: Pat Metheny’s clarity, time feel, and articulation were a huge inspiration for me. John Abercrombie’s lyricism and touch, along with his overall sound and his writing, had a big impact on me. I loved Jim Hall, of course. Those are the three guitarists I focused on. Hearing Keith Jarrett changed my life. I wanted to improvise like that! I listened to his records over and over, and I still do today. Seeing Keith play live many times really opened things up for me. Then I developed a deep love for certain bassists and drummers. Charlie Haden, Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland, Roy Haynes, Elvin, Paul Motian….they’ve always been a big part of my life. I have many records with those players on them. When I buy a record it’s most important to me who the bassist and drummer are. In fact, about 80 percent of my record collection is recordings that do not have a guitarist on them. I spent a lot of time with Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, and Wayne. Later I think Ben Monder was a big inspiration, although I cannot play anything like him.
DM: How do you feel about the use of electronics
DA: I have no problem with them if they are used well. I have never used it much. For 20 years my setup was just a delay pedal, and for practice and composing, a loop pedal. That was it. More recently I’ve been experimenting with some. But usually, once I find a setup I like, I don’t make any major changes. I prefer to get as much sound as possible out of the instrument.
DM: Where do you think Jazz is headed
DA: I think the music continues to evolve and that there are a lot of innovative, high-level players keeping the music alive. In my upcoming book, I talk a little about how the expectations of jazz musicians developed to now include fluency in odd and mixed meters, and in complex, non-functional harmony. There are some fantastic composers writing beautiful and challenging music. Ben Monder, John Hollenbeck, Craig Taborn, Matt Mitchell, Tim Berne, Steve Lehman, Immanuel Wilkins, Logan Richardson, to name a few. There are instrumentalists who are playing in a way you might not have heard 30 years ago. I’m thinking of Tyshawn Sorey, Dan Weiss, Craig Taborn, Ben Monder, Thomas Morgan, and many others. The language is still developing. There is also the influence of composers like Bartok, Ligeti, Nancarrow, Stravinsky, Shostakovich and Schoenberg. There is never a shortage of new music to check out. But even there, I would just go back to everything that Miles recorded with Wayne, Herbie, Ron, and Tony. We still have a lot to learn from those recordings! Talk about “modern”!
Tom Lippincott: Eight- and six-string guitarist Tom was born in New Jersey and grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but has made South Florida which has been his home since 1988. He has a bachelor's degree in jazz studies from the University of North Texas as well as a master's in jazz performance from the University of Miami. Tom teaches jazz guitar at Florida International University, Miami Dade College, and Broward College. He also teaches lessons in person and online, conducts clinics and workshops, and has jazz guitar classes available through Mike’s Master Classes.
As a longtime contributor to the South Florida jazz community, Tom has played and recorded extensively with many of the area’s musicians and bands. He has also performed throughout the world as both sideman and leader and has performed and/or recorded with jazz luminaries John Stowell, Jonathan Kreisberg, Ben Monder, Dave Liebman, Don Friedman, and Ed Schuller. In addition to previous recordings such as his 2000 release Painting the Slow Train Brown, Tom has been featured as a performer and composer recently on David Fernandez’s Land, as well as the upcoming release from Rodolfo Zuniga’s band Surfaces with Strings featuring Camila Meza. Tom has a new album of original compositions, Twenty Years Later. To learn more about Tom, visit his website: https://tomlippincott.com/
. DM: How long have you been playing, and who were your teachers?
TL: I've been playing guitar for 42 years. I played trombone in school starting in sixth grade but was self-taught on guitar until the age of 17 when I started taking classical and jazz lessons from local guitarist and teacher Randy Wimer where I lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I went on to major in jazz studies at North Texas State University where my most influential teachers included Jack Petersen (jazz guitar), Dan Haerle (jazz theory and improvisation), and Phillip Hii (classical guitar). Afterward, I received a master's degree at the University of Miami where I studied jazz guitar with Randall Dollahon and received valuable guidance from two other jazz teachers there, Whit Sidener and Ron Miller.
Since then, my education has continued, mostly by playing gigs and learning on the bandstand but also through self-study and taking lessons with musicians I admire. In 1996, I sought out a lesson from the legendary guitarist and teacher Mick Goodrick in Boston, and that one lesson changed the course of my life and enabled me to finally begin to develop my own voice on guitar. In 2006, while in New York, I took a lesson from the great jazz drummer Ari Hoenig. From that lesson, I finally learned how to work on rhythm in the same systematic way I'd been working on the other elements of music.
Even at age 55, I still feel like I'm at the beginning of my musical journey and looking forward to the exciting undiscovered, and challenging roads ahead.
DM: Why jazz?
TL: I love all different styles of music but, as a teenager, I became particularly enamored with the richness and depth of jazz. Once I heard Miles Davis and John Coltrane and then, later, guitarists like Joe Pass, Johnny Smith, and John McLaughlin, I knew I had to try to figure out what they were doing, and I wanted to be part of that tradition. Also, even though I hoped to support myself as a professional musician, it seemed to me jazz was more about delving deeply into self-expression and about being a force for good in the world and less about making money and becoming “famous.” As the old joke goes, I wanted to play jazz because I hate crowds.
DM: Who are your major influences?
TL: All of the aforementioned teachers and musicians influenced me significantly. However, if I had to name just one musician who has been a role model and hero and someone whose music I have probably learned the most from, it would have to be pianist Bill Evans. My short list of major jazz influences includes musicians like Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Gil Evans, Larry Young, Paul Motian, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, and Brad Mehldau.
DM: . How do you feel about the use of electronics?
TL: I like to use whatever means I have at my disposal to get out the sounds that I hear in my head. Acoustic guitar sans effects/amplification is a beautiful sound, and I love to play that way sometimes, but I have always loved the sonic possibilities of electric guitar. I’ve always thought it’s funny that there is this debate among jazz guitarists about whether or not it’s “legit” to use electronic effects. A guitar amplifier is an electronic device that changes the sound of an unamplified guitar, so any guitarist who plugs into an amp is using electronics to alter the guitar’s natural tone anyway. I believe that effects, like any other tool, can be used clumsily and ineptly or adeptly in a way that increases the expressive range of the guitar.
DM: Where do you think jazz is headed?
TL: In the last 20 years or so, I've noticed a distinct trend in jazz. After the schism between the "young lions" advocates (personified by Wynton Marsalis) and the more progressive-minded musicians in the 1980s through the 1990s, the next generation seemed to make peace between those two camps and actually combine them into one style. They took the respect for tradition from the Marsalis camp, returning to playing standards and tunes written by past jazz greats, using upright bass, acoustic piano, and smaller drum sets, but also took the compositional complexity, odd meters, funk grooves, world music influence, and the rise of electric guitar as a prominent instrument from the more progressive and "fusion" side of the music. This trend is also probably a partial result of the rise of jazz education in colleges and universities. Most young, upcoming jazz musicians have an academic background, and this contributes to the increased intricacy of the music.
However, some of the really complex music that sounded new and exciting to me ten or fifteen years ago now sounds a bit dated and played-out, and I wonder if the next big movement will be a return to simplicity and lyrical expression with less emphasis on odd/changing time signatures and metric modulations. I’ve also noticed an embrace of hip hop and rap culture happening in some parts of the jazz community, exemplified by artists such as Robert Glasper and Kamasi Washington, and this could be another way that jazz is headed. Jazz has always absorbed influences from other styles of music and evolved as a result, and it's my fervent and optimistic hope that the music will become more relevant in mainstream culture and that the new generation of jazz musicians will just have to get used to playing for crowds.
I want to thank these inspirational musicians for participating and giving great answers
Tuesday, May 10, 2022
To my surprise there are so many great guitarists now it’s almost impossible to name them all or interview them but every few months or so I choose the ones I like to give more exposure to.
For this article, I asked Jake Reichbart, Anders Nilsson,Steve Herberman and, Jaakko Salvolainen. Each guitarist is different and yet in my estimation great.i
Having composed four DVD/book packages for Hal Leonard, the largest instructional music publishing company in the world. He has offered clinics and master classes locally, from the University of Michigan‘s jazz department, Bowling Green and Oakland Universities all the way to Berklee affiliate schools in France and Israel, Jake has been featured on the cover of Just Jazz Guitar magazine alongside the great George Benson, as well as being a featured artist in Fingerstyle 360 magazine in the same issue Tommy Emmanuel was on the cover.
He has performed concerts in the Ann Arbor and Westland district libraries, public schools, town halls, festivals, and nearly any form of public venue imaginable. When a performance calls for more in-depth Jazz virtuosity, he will perform music by Chick Corea, John Coltrane, Allan Holdsworth, and virtually all the jazz greats.
To learn more about Jake, you can visit his website:
br> DM: How long have you played guitar?
JR: Although at age 58 it seems it’s been a while, I actually started fairly late, right around age 16 or 17. My original inspiration were the blues/rock players of the 60s and 70s, Clapton, Santana, Jeff Beck, and many others
DM: Who are your major influences?
JR: Once I became serious about the guitar, and since I was involved in a variety of styles of playing, my influences are quite varied. As I “graduated“ from blues and rock into a more sophisticated fusion, I have become deeply enamored with Allan Holdsworth. I was also a big fan of the modern sound with a clean tone, so Pat Matheny also became a major influence. As I became aware of the possibilities of solo guitar, Joe Pass became my biggest influence and the one I have tried the most to emulate
DM: Why Jazz?
JR Being able to play jazz, for me, was actually a financial decision… Trying to find the quickest path to making a living, I realized in my mid-20s that by being able to play the standards and further, adapt to popular music to the jazz format, I would be able to find jobs in the “background music industry“ meaning playing cocktail events, restaurants, etc. At the same time I have become deeply in love with harmony and the feel of jazz and I have developed a great love and a fairly deep knowledge of the classic American songbook while continuing to adapt pop music to jazz. < br >
DM: How do you feel about the use of electronic effects with Guitar?
JR: I have no problem with the idea that anybody might use electronics to create new and interesting music that falls under the jazz category. Nevertheless, for myself, I don’t feel any need to use anything beyond the guitar and an amp with a little bit of reverb, since nearly 100% of my focus is on trying to pick great tunes, the choice of notes and ultimately attempting to deliver a satisfying performance through the use of my fingers and guitar only.
DM: Where do you think Jazz is headed?
JR: Obviously that’s really hard to say, although I would hope that, at least in part, jazz would return to where it was always welcome, to clubs, restaurants, bars, and cafés. While proper jazz concerts are obviously every jazz musician's goal, I believe people should also be able to experience great music in casual settings without having, necessarily, to pay a premium.
Anders Nilsson is a Swedish-born, now living in New York City, experimental guitarist. As an electric, acoustic, and 11-string alto guitarist, he has performed at festivals and concerts throughout Europe and North America. His solo guitar music is featured on the albums “Night Guitar” 2012 and “Äventyr” 2022. “Anders is comfortable with everything from free improvisation to avant-garde metal
His recent solo effort, Night Guitar, traverses ghostly mood-setting, bluesy twang, and overdriven riffage. He leads three bands playing his music; Anders Nilsson Group with Satoshi Takeishi drums, percussion, and David Ambrosio electric bass, bata, Outer Space Caravan with Stephanie Griffin viola, Michael Attias alto sax, Ken Filiano bass, Anders Nilsson’s AORTA, a jazz-rock band in Malmö, Sweden. He has played on over 40 albums and has performed and/or recorded with many artists such as Mohsen Namjoo, Gordon Beeferman, Jason Kao Hwang, Kalabalik, Paquito D’Rivera, Elliott Sharp, Fay Victor, and Angelblood.
Nilsson’s work as a composer has produced 100+ compositions ranging from brief to epic solo works to large experimental ensemble works, many of which have been released on several acclaimed albums. He has also written music for string quartet, short films, butoh dance performances and theatre. To learn more about Anders you can visit his website: http://www.andersnilssonguitar.com
DM: How long have you played guitar?
AN:I started when I was 10, my dad had an acoustic and I began taking lessons. At age 14 I started really practicing and was driven by whatever music seemed real at the time. I grew up in Sweden and just approaching jazz I went to a music high school in Malmö where my teacher Thomas Hallberg offered a healthy outlook and focus for practice. I proceeded to learn on my own, and through the university system, listening, playing, and transcribing, influential teachers were Bo Sylven who was an active jazz guitarist influenced by Bill and Gil Evans, and Helge Albin, an alto saxophonist/composer/big band leader with good, far-reaching ideas. All of this school training would have meant nothing unless I was internally driven.
DM: Who are your major influences?
AN: The older I get this list keeps growing; blues musicians such as Freddie King, Blind Blake, Mississippi John Hurt, Brazilian guitarists Baden Powell, Luiz Bonfá, João Gilberto, jazz musicians Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, Ornette Coleman, and composers such as Maurice Ravel, Béla Bartók, Arnold Schönberg, distinctive guitarists such as D'Gary, Shiyani Ngcobo, Allan Holdsworth, and in new music my old teacher Stefan Östersjö, all incredibly great at what they do.
DM: Why Jazz?
AN: All of the above influences have their own unique mark, that's why. In the history of jazz, there is an idea that you can show up and be yourself, with whatever chops, and that's good. It's not the full truth however as professional typecasting can be encapsulating even at this moderate level of public acceptance and exposure. Learning how to navigate between the norms and the individualistic has been telling. Unity within a band can be hard to find, though I've been fortunate to find bandmates who are willing to use their musicality to be flexible whilst expressive many times over.
DM: How do you feel about the use of electronic effects with Guitar?
AN: The guitar is not a very important instrument in the history of jazz. Aside from early players like Eddie Lang, and later Charlie Christian there wasn't really a place created for it until Hammond Organ trios, when it appeared to be a voice for this music, although we follow in the fray of horn and piano players. I love George Van Eps, Tal Farlow, Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, George Benson, and John Scofield.
Using effects on an already electric instrument was pretty much designed to happen and I'm glad to use effects as they change the sonic environment in a musically meaningful way, such as a piece of composed music changing its instrumentation from strings to brass for example.
DM: Where do you think Jazz is headed?
AN: The elements of music we care about will continue to be part of it no matter what happens. I just hope there is continued room and space for people, and individuals in bands, to express themselves and pursue the originality of it.
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Steve Herberman is a 7-string guitarist and a graduate of Berklee College Of Music. He’s featured in the book “The Great Jazz Guitarists” by Scott Yanow. Steve’s composition “What We Do” won first place in the jazz category of the 2018 American (International) Songwriting Competition.
Steve has performed and given music workshops across the US and Europe. He has played with renowned musicians such as John Pisano, Jimmy Bruno, Keter Betts, Gary Bartz, Buck Hill, Drew Gress, Chuck Berghofer, Harvie S, Mark Ferber, Jim Snidero, Ali Ryerson, Bob Wilbur, Steve Williams, Steve LaSpina, Jeff Hirshfield, and many more.
Steve has four CDs as a leader; Thoughtlines (2001) Action:Reaction (2006) Ideals (2008) and Counterbalance (2019.) His recordings have received wide critical acclaim in JazzTimes, Downbeat, Jazz Improv and many others. Action:Reaction, a CD of Steve's original music, was chosen as one of the top 50 CD's of 2007 by Jazz Improv magazine.
Steve Herberman taught jazz guitar on the faculty of Towson University near Baltimore MD for 14 years and is presently teaching music for the Jazz Band Masterclass and JazzWire in addition to home studio and online teaching. Steve has written instructional material for Downbeat magazine, Mel Bay’s Guitar Sessions, Just Jazz Guitar, and Fingerstyle Guitar Journal. He is an online instructor for www.mikesmasterclasses.com where he has taught over 60 instructional jazz video lessons. Steve Herberman has been featured on the covers of Just Jazz Guitar Magazine (Feb. 2009) and Fingerstyle Guitar Journal (2016) with his Comins guitar that he has endorsed for many years. To learn more about Steve you can visit his website: https://www.steveherberman.com/
DM: How long have you played guitar?
SH: I’ve played for 45 years starting at age 11. I took lessons with a local DC player named Keith Grimes who was a great help in getting me prepared for Berklee. I studied with William G. Leavitt at Berklee and some other great teachers there including Al Defino. Larry Baione and Jon Damian.
DM: Who are your major influences?
SH: My big guitar influences are Lenny Breau, George Van Eps, Ted Greene, Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, Joe Pass, and Ed Bickert, in no particular order. I love so many piano players such as Wynton Kelly, Bill Evans, Barry Harris, Tommy Flanagan and Hank Jones. Horn players get a lot of listening time with me as well: Charlie Parker, Clifford Brown, John Coltrane, and Cannonball Adderly to name just a few.
DM: Why Jazz?
SH Because I love to improvise and jazz uses all of the colors of the musical rainbow. I love the fact that jazz crosses boundaries into other styles and I like to add classical, Brazilian and other styles into the music I play.
DM: How do you feel about the use of electronic effects with Guitar?
SH I love hearing effects being used by other guitarists. For me personally I choose to incorporate an organic, unaffected tone with no effects.
DM: Where do you think Jazz is headed?
SH: There are so many great younger players of this music and it will go on forever as far as I can tell. Jazz will continue to draw from all music and art for its influences and will continue to grab the attention of the folks that really pay attention to beauty in the world.
Jaakko Salvolainen was born 11.08.1970. Helsinki, Finland. As a child, he got to know the music of Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt, Miles Davis, and all the other greats of that time with his father and dreamed of becoming a saxophone player.
He got his first guitar from an uncle at age of 4 or 5 who taught him a few chords and some simple things which he loved to play. He would try new things every now and then. That’s when his love for the guitar began. He started practicing the guitar at the age of 10 and found the music of Jimi Hendrix. At that time his dad gave him a Joe Pass album, Virtuoso # 4, which is still to this day an important album in his collection He started studying Classical music at age of 13 but spent time with several rock bands playing Blues with friends. He quit rock bands and began studying the music of J.S. Bach and other baroque musicians. On his own, he studied lute composers. He got bored with music and stopped playing for some years, but the music stayed inside his head. In 2006 he started creating art with the name of Alvari Lume and had an art exhibition with letter paintings where he played and improvised music with a friend and got back to music and it felt natural to continue with the name Alvari Lume. He started recording and playing music again and performed a night of improvised music in a local Bar. Whether he performs, either solo or with musicians he loves creating new music in the real-time
For more info about Jaakko visit his website: http://alvarilume.weebly.com/
DM: How long are you playing Guitar?
JS:I got my first guitar at age of 4 or 5. I started practicing around the age of 10 and started studying Classical guitar at age of 13.
DM: Who are your major influences JS: No one precisely. Every music I hear / everything in life. I think that these things happen in the time and we are only tools for showing it out. It doesn’t come from us but through us.
JS: My dad was a jazz lover so it is the very first music I have heard and the music I have lived with all my life. Jazz gives the freedom to breathe
DM: How do you feel about the use of effects with Guitar?
JS: I have used electronics a lot but nowadays I prefer not to. I even play acoustically as much as possible. I like to rely on my Fingers.
DM: Where do you think Jazz is headed?
JS: jazz will combine with new things in time and with the new generation
I want to thank all four of these wonderful guitarist for their cooperation.
Monday, April 25, 2022
When we left off a few months ago Jake Masters ( have given him a name) was deciding if he should stay in New York or go back home to teach, play and make a decent living without the hassles of trying to get jazz gigs while playing club dates that he hated.
He thought long and hard about this. He called his old guitar teacher, as he always did, asking for advice. This time his teacher told him he had to decide on his own. The old adage “if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere…” doesn’t necessarily apply anymore.
Hanging up the phone, Jake was more confused than ever. He decided that he would try meditating and sleep on it. It was a restless night filled with all kinds of dreams. One of the dreams had him playing at the Vanguard with Mike Clark on drums, Herbie Hancock-piano, Wayne Shorter-tenor and soprano saxophones, and Dave Holland on bass. His dream-band playing his original music. He had such a feeling of joy and self-fulfillment. In another dream, he was old and gray and playing at a Bar Mitzvah. He was also married with two children, teaching eighth grade in a NYC school. He felt depressed and angry in the last dream before he woke up.
He woke up more confused than when he went to bed. Each day seemed longer and longer, he wasn’t practicing and he kept going deeper and deeper into depression. The only thing that ever worked was to practice himself out of depression, so he forced himself to practice even though it was difficult.
He decided to challenge himself. He went online and downloaded Beethoven’s Sonata No.8 for Violin and Piano. The Violin part was extremely hard, especially at that tempo. He went over it at a slower tempo, just to get the fingering and the feel of the music down. He thought he was a good reader, but this was another level.
It took him several weeks of practicing three hours a day to master it. Slowly he was coming out of his depression and feeling good about himself, but he still hadn’t made up his mind or what he should do. Stay in New York City or go home?
After a long practice session, he decided he would go home. It took him a month to get organized. He contacted his parents and told them he was moving back home and asked if he could stay with them till he found his own place. “Of course,” they said . He contacted a storage facility in his home town to rent a space. Then he hired a moving company to pick up his stuff on a certain date and deliver it to the storage facility and he would meet them there. He also contacted many of his friends to let them know he was moving back and to keep an eye opened for a place to live.
He started to contact schools and colleges about teaching,. He let them know he was moving back and he would be ready to start work in the fall semester. He gave his landlord notice and in a 2 weeks he would drive home to Liberty N.M ( a fictional town). As the time of departure got closer, Jake started to wonder if he made the right decision. He was nervous. This is a big step. The one good thing is that he would not have to move his car twice a week. In NYC there is alternate-side parking. Which means on certain days and times your car can’t be on the east or west side of the street because a garbage truck will come by to pick the garbage. If your cars isn’t moved you can get towed and get a ticket with a big fine..
Ending Number One On a bright Monday morning Jake packed his car with some clothes, two guitars and two amps and was about to leave, when two guys approached him. They had that typical New York- street look. Jeans, longhair, shirt out, sneakers and a bulge coming from their waistbands. They said to him, “we saw you put two guitar cases in your back seat. Can we take a look? Jake’s face had an astonished look upon it. No one ever asked to see his guitars before. He answered, “sorry guys I’m in a hurry and I gave to get on the road as soon as possible”. And he started to walk around to the front of the car on the driver’s side. The tall guy said,” I don’t think so “ and pulled out a gun. The other guy followed suite. Jake astonished by all this said, “guys, I am leaving NY and I need those guitars to make a living.” “Not anymore said one of them” and fired 2 shots into Jake’s chest. One bullet hit Jake in his heart. Jake fell dead to the street. The two guys took the guitars, Jay’s wallet, and ran off, never to be seen again.
All the TV News stations ran with the story. Jakes parents came to New York to identify and claim his body. How did the cops know Jakes name? Jake left the car’s registration in the glove department along with a medical info tag to call in case of an emergency.
Five days later there was a wake and memorial in Jakes honor. His parents spoke and so did some old friends and his guitar teacher who guided him most of his adult life. The next day he was buried in his home town’s cemetery. Because of the notoriety of Jake’s murder , his CD was selling like crazy on all outlets. It was getting radio play on all the jazz stations around the world. Within months Jake’s name became synonymous with jazz guitar. In life no one knew him, but in death he became a star. Ending Number Two On a bright Monday morning Jake packed his car with some clothes, two guitars and two amps and was about to leave, when two guys approached him. They had that typical New York- street look. Jeans, longhair, shirt out, and what looked like very expensive sneakers. “Hey man, are those guitars?” Jake smiled and said , “yes they are”. “Looks like you’re going on a trip”. Yes said Jake . “ Well safe journey” and they continued walking.
Jake got in the car and started the long drive home. It took him four days of driving 8 to10 hours a day only stopping for gas, bathroom and food. Along the way he found cheap motels to sleep in and would start early the next day. He reached Liberty and his parent’s home about 6 pm, New Mexico time.
Both parents were thrilled to see him and hugs and kisses went on for a few minutes. Jake’s mom made his favorite dinner. Home-cooked fried chicken with dumplings, gravy and peas. After dinner Jake and his father settled down in the living room. Mom brought over coffee and they spent most of the evening catching up.
The next day Jake met the moving van at the storage facility. Once everything was safely locked away. Jake went home. Later that evening he met up with some old friends at the local pub. He realized how much he missed them and it felt good to catch up. The next day he visited his old guitar teacher. This man was like a second father to him. They talked and an laughed a lot and after a while they picked up the guitars and jammed.
Jake was no longer the young student who fumbled through chord changes. He had developed into a strong improvisor and his teacher told him so. This made Jake very happy. Later, after exhausting their energy playing, the teacher took out two glasses and poured each of them a half-filled glass of Bourbon. Jake was surprised. This had never happened before. Jake thought to himself, ‘wow I guess I am finally an adult in his eyes.’
They talked about his plans and the teacher said. “if there is anything I can do for you, let me know.” He left that night feeling fulfilled and happy, but he knew the road ahead would be iffy.
The next day he got on the phone and called some of the colleges he had written to. All but one told him they couldn’t help him. The one college set up and interview for the following week. Jake prepared himself by getting all his transcripts, letters of recommendations, and his current CD. The following week Jake was invited into Dr. Raymond Blake’s office for his interview. Dr. Blake carefully looked over Jake’s transcripts and his teaching qualifications. He asked some questions and stated they were looking for someone willing to work hard and get the guitar department up-to-speed. He ended by saying “you seem like you can be the one, but I have a few more interviews and I will be in touch, either way, in two weeks.”
Jake left the campus feeling positive. His next move was to find some gigs. He went home and started a google-search for clubs or even solo gigs at some restaurants. He found some clubs that were nearby. He decided to record few solo tunes for the solo restaurant jobs. It took him 15 minutes. He transferred the recording to a blank CD, designed a cover and was ready to go. He also uploaded his solo recording to You tube.
Later that night he hit the clubs and spoke to managers and gave them a copy of his CD and a resume. All the managers were cordial and polite and said they would let him know. The next day in the early evening he visited about ten restaurants. Again, all the managers were friendly and told him they would let him know. This was not like New York City at all.
The next day he took ten CDs with him and started to visit the local colleges and radio stations. Again, everyone was polite and thankful. All promised to listen and if the music suited their public, they would put the recording in rotation . Jake thought to himself, home for such a little while and I feel so much better and positive. The next day he worked on putting together a new trio. Finding the right musicians who can read and play his music would be a challenge, but he knew if he stayed positive, things may just work out.
The following day, while driving to the supermarket with the radio on a local jazz station, the DJ says “here’s a new recording from a local homeboy Jake Masters”, and lo & behold there was Jake’s original tune being played! Jake practically jumped through the roof. Maybe things will be much better.
While he was at the supermarket Jake ran into his old girlfriend, Nancy. Nancy was shocked to see him as was Jake to see her. They had a polite conversation and Jake found out that since their breakup she met someone and was getting married in a few weeks. Jake tried to hide his disappointment, but Nancy could see it. Later that night Jake stayed home, watched TV and went to bed. Since coming back home he hadn’t practiced but the next morning he started his day with coffee and practicing. Around 11am his cell phone rang, and to his surprise, it was Dr. Blake. He hadn’t expected his call for at least another week, but there he was on the phone.
“Hello, Hello Jake, I wanted you to know..” (Jake thought, here it comes the big let-down) “I thought it over and decided I really don’t want to interview anyone else. The job is yours if you want it.” Jake was stunned and couldn’t believe his ears. “Jake! Are you there?” Jake answered “Yes! Thank you.” “OK we are set. Come by the office tomorrow and sign the contracts. One thing though, we usually hire teachers who have their doctorates, so in order for you to become a professor, you will have to eventually get your doctorate.” Jake agreed and said “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Jake was thrilled. He couldn’t wait to tell someone. He called his old teacher and told him. He was practically jumping with joy when his father came home for his lunch break and saw the excitement in Jake’s face. “What happened” ?” “I got the job at the college. I start in the fall”. His father congratulated him and said,” let’s go out with your mother tonight for a special dinner” Jake thought, ‘wow, he never goes out to dinner’.
That night at dinner, Jake’s father proposed a toast and told Jake how proud he was of him. This brought a tear to Jake’s eye. His father never-ever said anything like that before. While eating dinner the manager of the restaurant came by their table. “Aren’t you the guy who dropped off the CD of you playing solo guitar?” ‘Yes’ said Jake. “I listened and really liked it, so I played it for my boss and he liked it. Can you play here two nights a week starting next week?” Stunned again Jake said ‘yes I can’. The Manager told him it would be Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5pm to 8pm . He explained weekends were very busy and they needed the space for tables. Then he whispered in Jake’s ear that it would pay $100 per night plus any tips, and a suit and tie were required. Jake immediately agreed.
Jake really didn’t want to play background music but he needed to make money and at least he would be playing and it left his weekends open for any jazz gigs that may come along.
Jake knew there was a long road ahead, but at least he was able to be a musician. It wasn’t the Jazz Life he wanted, but who knows what could happen in the future. For now, he was content. He was off to a good start in a new life. A slower life but a good life. He found an apartment he could afford near the college. He had to report to school two weeks before the fall semester began. He was assigned courses he would teach and when the school actually started he would be getting private students too. He would be there three days a week, which gave him time to play his gigs, do some private teaching and get into a part-time doctorate program which he could take at the college with no cost at all. It would be a lot of work, but he knew he could handle it. And so, the story ends…… or has it?
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
Jack is a guitarist, composer, multi-instrumentalist and has performed on more than 60 albums as leader and sideman and as one of the co-owners of Unseen Rain Records. He has produced almost 100recordings for Unseen Rain Records. Hailed in THE WIRE magazine as masterful, he has played and recorded with numerous jazz greats and performed at major European festivals including a sojourn with Ronald Shannon Jackson that resulted in the classic record Red Warrior. His latest recording is Bare Trees on Unseen Rain Records. To learn more about Jack, visit his website: https://www.jackdesalvo.com/
DM: How long have you played the guitar? Jack De Salvo56 Years DM: Who are your major influences? JD: Keith Jarret, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Django Reinhard, Ralph Towner, John McLaughlin, Bill Connors, Tal Farlow , Lenny Breau, and many more DM: Why jazz? JD: Jazz is currently the most sophisticated and flexible musical tradition that allows for ultimate expression through improvisation while allowing for composition to (or not) affect the direction of the music DM: How do you feel about the use of electronic effects with guitar? JD: It depends on the context. Lately, I've been playing mostly acoustic nylon string, but I do play electric guitar on gigs and recordings and occasionally use reverb.. DM: Where do you think jazz is headed? JD: Jazz has always been absorbing material from every possible style of music in the world and will continue to grow and expand. Popular culture has dipped far below even the lowest common denominator, which along with the devaluation of music in general via streaming, etc. does not bode well for the jazz world, but musicians and jazz listeners' passion for the music has only grown. Whether in a tiny room or a large concert hall Jazz in its many forms will grow and flourish creatively.
Vinnie is a guitarist, drummer, producer, writer, arranger, sound designer, custom hip-hop drum loops, accordion,