We’ve reached part 4 of 5 in this special tribute to TrueFire educators. Our list has already covered some of the best guitar players and teachers, but we’re not done yet! Here’s are the next 10 (alphabetical order):
Adding up the raw data – solo performances, participation in multiple bands, invitations to sit in with friends’ bands, and studio sessions – it’s fair to conclude that Warren Haynes is among the hardest working performers in music today. But for the 23rd greatest guitarist of all time (as determined by Rolling Stone), music doesn’t feel like hard work. Haynes is just doing what he loves, being what he is. He’s a man who loves music. Everything about it, really: creating it, playing it, singing it, experiencing it, appreciating it, sharing it. “Musicians are the biggest fans,” he says. “That’s why they become musicians in the first place.” This love of music has led Haynes to some extraordinary collaborations that have defied the laws of genre labeling and propelled his reputation far beyond the notorious boundaries of jamband scene quarantine. For example, he co-wrote a No. 1 single, Garth Brooks’ “Two of a Kind, Working on a Full House,” which remained on the charts for twenty weeks. He was the only guest musician at Dave Matthews Band’s high-profile Central Park Concert, September 24, 2003. He appeared on fellow singer/songwriter Everlast’s second post-House of Pain solo album, EAT AT WHITEY’S. And he compelled metal icon Jason Newsted and hip-hop country boy Kid Rock to join him on stage, at the same time. For audiences, to see and hear Warren Haynes perform in any capacity is to witness his love firsthand. To catch him alone on stage, with only his voice and acoustic guitar, drives the point deeper still. The unadulterated emotion he pours into and gleans from music – any music, his own or another’s – takes on the prominence of a lead instrument, sharing in the delivery rather than just inspiring it.
Check out Warren’s official website – www.WarrenHaynes.net
David Grissom has toured and recorded with such artists as The Dixie Chicks, John Mellencamp, Joe Ely, Storyville, the Allman Brothers Band, Chris Isaak, Robben Ford, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Montgomery Gentry, Ringo Starr, Buddy Guy, John Mayall, Martina McBride, and Jennifer Warnes. His songs have been recorded by Trisha Yearwood, John Mayall, Lee Ann Womack, Shannon Curfman, and Storyville, among many others. He has been featured several times in Guitar Player, Guitar World, Musician, and Vintage Guitar magazines. His highly acclaimed instructional book A Guide to Blues/Rock Guitar Soloing is published by Cherry Lane Music, distributed by Hal Leonard.
Visit David’s official website – www.DavidGrissom.com
Ravi has performed on Letterman, Leno, Saturday Night Live, Today Show, and Good Morning America. He’s played at the White House, Madison Square Garden, and the Louisiana Superdome. He toured as the guitarist of the top selling band in the world just a few years ago and has recorded sessions in the finest studios of New York City. Ravi has written for leading music magazines (Music & Sound Retailer, Electronic Musician) and had his autobiography/tour journal published by Simon & Schuster. He taught guitar at an independent music store for ten years, relating to music enthusiasts of all ages and now has become a TrueFire master educator. As the Berklee College of Music puts it, “”Ravi affects musicians in a positive way, and his work has positive ripple effects that spread out, carrying enthusiasm and honesty to others who will go on to improve the lives of many more. The principles Ravi speaks about are best applied to our lives and work on a daily basis. He and his message are among the best that Berklee has to offer and he will be welcome here in the future.”
Stay tuned for Ravi’s new guitar lessons – How to Play Guitar in 21 Days.
Ladd began playing guitar at age 4. He began to write songs at the age of 9 and had written over 350 by the time he reached 19. Along the way he managed to record 3 original albums, play on nearly 400 sessions and perform at over 1,000 live shows. Ladd spent his teenage years working on Music Row learning all aspects of the business inside and out, known for saying “If there are any mistakes that are going to be made in my career, I want to be the one to make them.” Artist Sheila Aldridge took Ladd to meet John Briggs at Ascap when Ladd was only 15 and John Signed him to ASCAP on the spot. Considered a prodigy by his studio mentors, Ladd was personally sponsored into the Local 257 Musicians Union by President Harold Bradley at age 15. Ladd has spent the last ten years writing songs, playing guitar and singing back-up live and in the studio for tons of Nashville artists and producers. Ladd is often noted as being reminiscent of a young Vince Gill. The kind of artist that his ardently dedicated to being a consumate musician. In turn, with a repertoire of lyrics and music of over 2000 songs Ladd is known by fellow musicians as a “Human Jukebox” and is consistently ranked in the Top 3 Musicians and 1 Guitarist in Nashville by his peers on TheReferralList.com. Ladd has performed in over 17 countries including Kuwait where he was honored to play for our troops. As a Performing Artist and/or Member of the Band, Ladd has shared the stage and/or studio with Blake Shelton, Heartland, Phil Vassar, Merle Haggard, Confederate Railroad, Mustang Sally, Clay Walker, Jeanie Sealy, Deborah Allen, Helen Cornellius, Josh Turner, Vern Gosdin, Tanya Tucker, Trick Pony, Scout Cloud Lee, Dr. Hook, Leona Williams, Charlie Louvin, Josh Gracin, Aaron Pritchett, Duane Hitchings, Joe Melson, Ron Williams, Ferlin Husky, Jack Green and many, many others.
Tim Sparks’ long journey to the 1993 National Fingerstyle Guitar Championship, and beyond, began modestly in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, when he started picking out tunes by ear on an old Stella flat top. He was given his first guitar when a bout of encephalitis kept him out of school for a year, and the music he heard around him was traditional country blues, and the gospel his grandmother played on piano in a small church in the Blue Ridge mountains, so that’s what he taught himself to play. A musically-astute uncle heard him one day, and amazed that he had come so far on his own, nominated him for a scholarship at the prestigious North Carolina School of the Arts. There he studied the classics with Segovia protegee Jesus Silva, while continuing to play all kinds of music, increasingly turning to classic jazz for inspiration. He adapted compositions by Jelly Roll Morton, Scott Joplin, and Fats Waller to the guitar, frequently reducing piano arrangements to their spare essence. Early influences were Doc Watson, Arthur Smith and, most importantly, Duck Baker, who opened up an horizon of possibilities for fingerstyle guitar.
Mark Stefani, son of noted West Coast jazz trombonist Roy Stefani, has devoted most of his life to music. He began playing the guitar in 1969, and was inspired by his father along with Bay Area jazz guitarist Eddie Duran. Mark received his early jazz education while studying with guitarist Dave Smith, and later began his classical training under the guidance of George Sakellariou at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Stefani is a highly eclectic guitarist, though best noted for his skill in the rhythm & blues and jazz idioms. Throughout his career, his influences have included legendary guitarists George Benson, Wes Montgomery, and Kenny Burrell, jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, saxophonists Charlie Parker and John Coltrane, plus numerous other jazz and blues virtuosos. On the acoustic guitar, Mark has amassed a repertoire of well over 700 instrumental classical, popular, jazz, and latin standards. In 1986 he began composing original music in a broad variety of styles to match his diverse background. To date, he’s written hundreds of compositions. Mark has taught music full-time for over 30 years, and his talent as a guitar coach has been felt by top professionals the world over. In 1987, his music career was spotlighted in Guitar Player Magazine (“versatile style on both electric and acoustic guitars” — “a master’s touch”). In 1996, Mark and top saxophonist Dennis Marcellino released a jazz duo recording entitled “An Evening To Remember” (Sugo Music), which charted well and sold over 40,000 copies that year. Nowadays, besides expanding the website, Mark keeps busy performing, composing, arranging, and teaching in the Portland (OR) area. He also writes regularly for both Just Jazz Guitar and Jazz Improv Magazines.
John Stowell began his successful career in the early 1970’s with private study with guitarist Linc Chamberland and pianist John Mehegan. Both men were valuable mentors to John, allowing him to play with them as he progressed in his development. Several years later he met bassist David Friesen in New York City, and they formed a duo that recorded and toured prolifically for seven years, with performances in the United States,Canada, Europe and Australia. The duo continues to perform thirty years after their first meeting. In 1983, John and David joined flutist Paul Horn and Paul’s son Robin Horn (on drums) for a historic 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, and 1998 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, and in 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 a number of magazines, including “Downbeat”, “Guitar Player”, Canadian Musician”, “Soundcheck” (Germany), and “Guitar Club” (Italy).
Frank is one of the most accomplished, multi-dimensional players walking the planet today. Monster player, composer and improviser, Frank plays proficiently in every genre, from jazz to bluegrass, and works with everyone and their brother. Frank’s pedigree is a mile long, but a quick Google will illustrate why he is considered one of the best on the planet. Whether he is featured on a Donald Fagen recording, a jam with David Grisman, as Les Paul’s right hand man or leading his own groups throughout the years, he has proved himself to be in the elite creating his own unique sound. Born on suburban Long Island, Vignola was raised in the New York area. The Italian-American started playing the guitar at the age of five and grew up admiring a variety of guitarists. Far from a jazz snob, Vignola never listened to jazz exclusively and was also a major fan of rock, R&B, and pop. The guitarists that he admires range from Django and George Barnes to rock icons like Frank Zappa and Eddie Van Halen. As a young adult, Vignola studied at the Cultural Arts Center of Long Island and went on to enjoy an enormous amount of sideman gigs in the 1980s including recording and touring with the likes of Madonna, Leon Redbone, Ringo Starr as well as coming into his own as a leader in 1988 with his famed Hot Club of France tribute which was hailed in the NY Times as one of the top ten acts in 1988 and forged the way for the many Django Hot Club groups that followed. The New Yorker was 27 when, in 1993, he signed with Concord Jazz and recorded his first Concord session as a leader, Appel Direct. Many more Concord releases followed in the 1990s as well as 3 releases for the Telarc label as co-leader of the group Travelin’ Light. The early 2000’s found Vignola recording for Acoustic Disc, Hyena Records as well as making featured appearances on Atlantic, Sony and Warner Brothers Records with the likes of Donald Fagen, Queen Latifah, Mark O Connor and Wynton Marsalis. Mr. Vignola has also recorded several DVD’s for Mel Bay Records. “Gypsy Jam” features Jimmy Rosenberg and “Favorite Solo’s” features Frank with one of his guitar heroes, Bucky Pizzarelli. Frank has written 18 guitar instruction books for Mel Bay Publications and has recorded several CDROM educational products for Truefire.com. He has performed hundreds of clinics and masterclasses at major universities and colleges throughout the country including Julliard and Boston University.
Mark Wilson has devoted his entire teaching career to the development of an innovative program that inspires and empowers students to realize their full potential. Early on in his own learning development, he was often frustrated when studying with teachers who had great technical skills yet had no organized plan to expand their students understanding or abilities. Out of this frustration, Mark created his popular teaching program for guitar and bass… an instructional method modeled on the ideal program he always envisioned when he himself was a student. Sunnyvale School for Guitar (SSG), Mark’s music school, has a 20-year reputation for producing confident, high-caliber players. SSG offers a wide variety of opportunities for students of all ages and levels — ranging from private instruction and group workshops, to recording in the studio and live performance ensembles. Five Star Music is Mark’s instructional enterprise, and it offers a wide assortment of music-learning products for guitar and bass. The method, consisting of books and CDs, is the summation of years of developing, organizing, and recording thousands of lessons. Mark is a published author and his Secrets to Better Musicianship shares, through the written word, his keen philosophy and musical knowledge gained through decades of experience. Mark has been involved in almost every aspect of the music business; as an active musician, Mark has played guitar and bass for more than 30 years and is a master-level player of the Chapman Stick. His recording resume includes three self-released CDs of original music, as well as production and session work for both his educational products and local musicians.
A guitarist specializing in roots-oriented styles, Keith Wyatt has been active as both a performer and guitar educator. Currently touring as a member of legendary ‘American Music’ band The Blasters, Keith is also a featured instructional video artist for Warner Brothers with over a dozen titles covering all aspects of Blues guitar playing as well as the best-selling basic guitar instructional video series, Guitar Basics. He helped create three award-winning CD-ROM instructional titles for Play Music: Play Blues Guitar, Play Rock Guitar, and Play Guitar. Keith helped develop the guitar curriculum at the Guitar Institute of Technology, where he has been an instructor for over two decades. He is the author of numerous books, articles and columns and has conducted seminars and clinics all over the world. Keith’s most recently released video titles for Warner Brothers are Getting the Sound: Blues and Blues Rhythm Chops, and Jump, Jive and Swing Rhythm Guitar. His latest DVD title is “Getting Started On Guitar for Acoustic and Electric Instruments” (Hal Leonard/Hudson/Fender). Coming in 2002, print titles for Hal Leonard/MI Press include ear training, blues rhythm guitar and blues soloing methods.
Check out Keith’s latest blues guitar lessons – Blues Bash