He’s one of the most under-heralded geniuses of the jazz guitar. After cutting his teeth on the NYC bebop scene of the late ’40s, and building a rep with vibraphonist Red Norvo, Farlow receded from jazz life to live in a shore town in New Jersey.
Pete Wagula’s lesson examines the titan’s style, with a predilection for chord melody, but an astonishing facility for single-note runs and double stops. Farlow, renowned for his big hands, will test your stretching capabilities. Overall, an invaluable look at one of the all-time greats.
Our good friend Robert Conti plays jazz guitar like nobody’s business. That’s why we jumped when he told us to check out Andreas Oberg. This version of Billie’s Bounce was performed at Muriel Anderson’s All Star Guitar Night. You can thank us later for having the cameras rolling.
Shortly after this performance, Andreas came down to TrueFire to record not one but two courses; Gypsy Jazz Duets with Frank Vignola and a straight-ahead jazz course, Jazz Combustion. Both will blow your mind.
Everywhere you look there are lists of “essential” albums that no self-respecting musician should be without. These contain different combinations of the largely the same material and although they are essential, I wanted to present some overlooked jazz guitar albums that are equally important. These seven albums by no means represent overlooked or under-appreciated players, but they are overshadowed by some of the artists’ other work.
1. Jim Hall – “It’s Nice To Be With You: Live in Berlin”
When most people talk about their favorite live Jim Hall album, the common answer is the 1975 session entitled “Jim Hall Live!”. “Live in Berlin” takes place several years earlier mixes some of Hall’s originals with standards such as “My Funny Valentine” and “Body and Soul.” Joining Hall on this session is bassist Jimmy Woode and Drummer Daniel Humair.
Recommended Track: “Young One, For Debra”, on this track Hall plays an overdubbed duet with himself that was written for his daughter, Debra.
2. Gary Burton Quintet – “Dreams So Real”
Gary Burton has a thing for discovering great young guitar players. On this 1975 session consisting entirely of Carla Bley’s music, Burton’s quintet includes Pat Metheny and Mick Goodrick. Once teacher (Goodrick) and student (Metheny), this recording is a great early example of the ECM sound. Bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Bob Moses fill out the group nicely. On this record you really can hear Metheny develop his own sound.
Recommended Track: “Syndrome”, also know to Bley fans as “Wrong Key Donkey”
3. Jimmy Raney – “Live in Tokyo”
As one of the most underrated guitar players of the modern era, Jimmy Raney is an well of great melodic bop playing. This trio album from 1976 includes bassist Sam Jones and drummer Leroy Williams. Raney brings new life to standards such as “Cherokee” (which is totally burning), “Anthropology” and “Darn That Dream.”
Recommended Track: “Stella by Starlight”, here Raney proves that he is an accomplished solo guitarist worthy of being included with Joe Pass, Lenny Breau and George Benson.
4. John Abercrombie – “Timeless”
Few artists have been so closely identified with a label than John Abercrombie and ECM. Recorded in 1975, this was Abercrombie’s debut as a leader for the label. The material includes four originals and two tunes by keyboardist Jan Hammer, who along with drummer Jack DeJohnette form the trio. Considering there isn’t a bass player, Hammer fills out the space nicely with an organ, synthesizer, and piano.
Recommended Track: “Ralph’s Piano Waltz”, written for Ralph Towner this is Abercrombie’s most well known tune.
5. Tuck Andress – “Reckless Precision”
This album is when musicians first took notice of Tuck Andress. You can usually find him playing duo with wife Patty Cathcart, but this album of instrumentals is for guitar nerds only. Opening with the Michael Jackson tune “Man in the Mirror”, he instantly cemented his reputation as one of the foremost jazz guitarists around.
Recommended Track: “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/If I Only Had A Brain”, here Andress gives a lesson on how to make sure the melody stands out in an arrangement.
6. Danny Gatton – “Redneck Jazz”
Guitar Player called Danny Gatton “The World’s Greatest Unknown Guitar Player” and this album was recorded in 1978 and re-released in the 1990s. Gatton is featured on both guitar and banjo and his band includes the legendary pedal steel player Buddy Emmons. This is a great example of how jazz can evolve. Combining his many influences, Gatton creates a unique style (and genre) that combines his love for rock, country and jazz.
Recommended Track: “Rock Candy”, this opener written by Jack McDuff exhibits the rapport between Gatton and Emmons.
7. Allan Holdsworth – “None Toon Soon”
Know as one of the finest fusion guitarists ever, Allan Holdsworth recorded this collection of standards in 1996. With his endless technique, Holldsworth delivers amazing interpretations of two Joe Henderson tunes (“Isotope” and “Inner Urge”) in addition to Django Reinhardt’s “Nuages.” The frenetic style of Holdsworth is accompanied by bassist Gary Willis and drummer Kirk Covington.
Recommended Track: “Norwegian Wood”, this Beatles tune is a great example of Holdsworth’s synth work and features keyboardist Gordon Beck.
Labor Day weekend has come and gone, but our tribute to the ever-hard-working TrueFire faculty continues. Here are the next 10 guitarists to whom we owe a great amount of gratitude (alphabetical order):
Charles Chapman Charles Chapman is a Professor in the Guitar Department at Berklee College of Music where he has taught since 1972. He is a versatile jazz guitarist with extensive performing and recording experience. Charles holds a Bachelors degree from Berklee College and a Masters of Education from Cambridge College. He performed four tunes on the Mel Bay¹s compilation CD “Anthology of Jazz Guitar Solos” and all nine solos on the CD that accompanies the text “Guitar Solos” by George Van Eps (MB94822BCD.) and has just released a solo CD titled Come Sunset.Charles has published 10 texts with Mel Bay and now performs on a regular basis at Guitar Shows and jazz festivals internationally. As a music journalist he has interviewed many of the most prominent guitarists in the field and is a frequent contributor to Guitar Player, Acoustic Guitar, Fender Frontline, 20th Century Guitar, Mel Bay Guitar Sessions, All About Jazz, Dowbeat and Just Jazz Guitar magazines with over 400 published articles and reviews.
Robert Conti Knowledgeable music industry people agree that Robert Conti is the most prolific, innovative and imitated jazz guitar educator on the international scene today. Demand for nearly 30 DVDs in six years is undeniable proof of his ability to continuously deliver high-impact results – that’s customer satisfaction! Every DVD will inspire you to breathe new life into your chord melody work and improv solos with a truckload of fresh, creative and exciting ideas. Indeed, nobody brings their “A-Game” knowledge to Jazz Guitar instruction like Robert Conti. If you’ve had your fill of theorists, gurus, philosophers, modologists, scale technicians, legends, confusion, institutions, theory godmothers, conservatories and delusion – then it’s time to discover the reasons why DVDs from Robert Conti are at the forefront of “go to” jazz guitar learning resources.
Joe Dalton When country guitar master Joe Dalton picks up a six-string; everyone listens. A phenomenon that has followed Joe since he was a snot nosed kid in the 5th grade. Having picked up his first instrument at age 5, Dalton should have been considered a musical prodigy if it weren’t for the plain fact that he was only one of the latest branches to sprout from a very musical family tree with a legacy that spans decades. His great-grandfather conducted the City of Rome Orchestra in Italy; his grandfather was the leader of the New York Philharmonic; his father is solely responsible for bringing mallets into the U.S. Army Band Corps; his brother teaches at the Boston Conservatory…we could go on, but you get the point, right? Musical prowess runs through his veins; it’s the nucleus of his existence.
Joe Deloro As his TrueFire lessons demonstrate, Joe enjoys exploring a variety of acoustic and electric guitar styles. Along the way he’s arranged numerous guitar transcription books for Warner Bros. Music Publications and Hal Leonard Corporation. Featured artists include: B.B. King, Led Zeppelin, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, The Eagles, Rod Stewart, Van Morrison, and Rush. As a writer, his instructional articles and CD lessons have appeared in Guitar Player, How To Play Guitar, Premier Guitar, and Acoustic Guitar magazines. In addition, he has also been invovlved in multimedia as an author, arranger, and narrator for the award-winning UBI Soft Entertainment CD-Roms: Plugged-In, and Songs of Lennon & McCartney.
Mimi Fox Internationally renowned guitarist/composer/recording artist Mimi Fox has been named a winner in 6 consecutive Downbeat Magazine international critic’s polls and has been recognized by writers and colleagues alike as one of the most eloquent jazz guitarists on today’s scene. In one of many feature stories, Guitar Player Magazine hailed Mimi as “a prodigious talent who has not only mastered the traditional forms but has managed to reinvigorate them.” Mimi has performed/recorded with some of jazz’s most commanding players, including fellow guitarists Charlie Byrd, Stanley Jordan, Charlie Hunter, and Mundell Lowe, Grammy-nominated saxophonists Branford Marsalis, David Sanchez and Houston Person and the late Don Lanphere, vocalists Abbey Lincoln, Diana Krall, Kevin Mahogany and Janis Siegel (Manhattan Transfer), B3 organ masters Barbara Denerlein and Dr. Lonnie Smith, and powerhouse drummer Terri Lyne Carrington. She has also performed outside of the jazz world with legends Stevie Wonder and John Sebastian and with Patty Larkin’s Vanguard Records-produced La Guitara project. Mimi has released eight highly acclaimed albums as a leader, including her two most recent on Steve Vai’s Favored Nations label. 2006′s double CD, Perpetually Hip, received rave reviews from scores of publications including the San Francisco Chronicle, which called this project Fox’s “Masterwork” and said: “The two discs stand as a definitive Fox statement. The first showcases her simmering interplay with a quartet featuring drum maestro Billy Hart, while the second captures her breathtaking solo style in an approach that is as harmonically resourceful as it is lyrically inventive.”
Vicki Genfan Every now and then an artist comes along whose music reaches out and touches the soul of all who hear them…virtuoso guitarist, singer and composer Vicki Genfan is among those artists… Drawing from folk, jazz, pop, soul and world music, Vicki is redefining ‘singer/songwriter culture.’ With a mastery of the acoustic guitar that borders on pure alchemy, audiences are mesmerized by the waves of sound Vicki creates with just two hands and her voice. Using 29 alternate tunings and the percussive technique she calls ‘slap-tap’, you’ll find the addition of her pure, expressive vocals that dig deep and stir the heart to be the perfect accompaniment on many of her songs. Vicki writes and beautifully sings her own brand of music and lyrics while putting her unmistakable imprint on familiar tunes like the Beatles’ Norweigian Wood. An evening with Vicki is far more than a concert; stories, warmth and humor come gift wrapped in an unforgettable evening of music that leaves the audience always wanting more. Vicki has been recognized among the world’s greatest guitarists and musicians at festivals such as The International Montreal Jazz Festival, Germany’s Open Strings Guitar Festival, Italy’s Soave Guitar Festival, as well as at venues and Performing Arts Centers across the US and abroad. In 2005 she was one of the featured artists on ‘La Guitara’, the first compilation CD featuring female guitarists from around the globe, released by Vanguard Records. With several additional ground-breaking recordings behind her, recent acquisitions of the 6 string banjo, 12 string and baritone guitars, high demand at clinics and music camps and an ongoing European presence, Vicki continues to reach beyond musical borders and into new territory.
Richard Gilewitz Composing and performing a kaleidoscopic mixture of instrumental selections for the guitar, Richard Gilewitz is an internationally acclaimed soloperformer who forges a new voice to include the expanse of his influences. His complex and energetic original works become stories from the guitar and deliver invitations to each listener to take a journey with him through the past and present realm of guitar music. Incorporating his own personality and orchestration into a sound tunnel of timeless musical history, Richard delivers a musical pallet filled with colorful imagery of samples from European, Contemporary, and Spanish Classical works to the Traditional Folk, Blues and American Primitive eras. Combining both standard and unique tunings with his interpretations, every single note is treated as an individual character in a society of notes. As he achieves a sound that is very distinctive, it is apparent that Richard’s own DNA is reflected in his playing.
David Hamburger David Hamburger has appeared at Merle Fest and the Kerrville and Philadelphia Folk Festivals, toured with Joan Baez and shared the stage with Dave Van Ronk, Jorma Kaukonen, Tony Trischka, Duke Robillard, Cindy Cashdollar and many others. His guitar, slide guitar and dobro playing can be heard on his solo albums Indigo Rose and David Hamburger Plays Blues, Ballads & a Pop Song and with the Grassy Knoll Boys on their debut CD, Buckeyed Rabbit. David is also a contributing editor to Acoustic Guitar and the author of several books, including the award-winning “Beginning Blues Guitar” and “The Acoustic Guitar Method,” also available on DVD from Homespun Tapes. He lives in Austin, Texas. “Fascinating…Hamburger’s touch on his Collings 00-2H is delicate and precise, but soulful – never stiff. The instructor gets an A.” – Vintage Guitar. “Hamburger…revitalizes American roots music.” – The New Yorker. “A dozen unaccompanied tracks of acoustic goodness…Brims with talent.” – The Austin Chronicle.
Stu Hamm Born in New Orleans, Hamm spent his childhood and youth in Champaign, Illinois, where he studied bass and piano, played in the stage band at Champaign High School, and was selected to the Illinois All-State Band. Hamm graduated from Hanover High in Hanover, New Hampshire in 1978 while living in Norwich, Vermont. Following high school, he attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he met guitarist Steve Vai and, through him, met Joe Satriani. Hamm played bass on Vai’s debut solo album, Flex-Able, which was released in 1984. Hamm has performed and recorded with Steve Vai, Frank Gambale, Joe Satriani and many other well-respected guitarists. It was playing live on tour with Satriani that brought Hamm’s skills to national attention. Subsequent recordings with Satriani and other rock/fusion artists along with the release of his own solo recordings solidified his reputation as a bassist and performer. Hamm’s first solo album, Radio Free Albemuth, inspired by the Philip K. Dick novel of the same name, was released in 1988. On it, Hamm demonstrated his abilities on a number of original compositions spanning a variety of genres including fusion, country, and classical. On solo pieces like “Country Music (A night in Hell),” he demonstrates his slapping and two-handed tapping proficiency as well as the ability to make the bass imitate the sounds of a wide range of instruments; the piece has since become a popular live piece. On the same album, he performs an arrangement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.
Geoff Hartwell Geoff Hartwell is a long-time faculty member at the National Guitar Workshop where he’s taught seminars in Austin, Texas and Chicago, Illinois with special guests Sonny Landreth and Cindy Cashdollar. At NGW he’s also shared the stage with Blues Legends such as Jimmy Thackery, formerly of Muddy Waters’ Band. Geoff was excited to share the stage again with Sonny on tour dates including B.B. King’s in NYC, and to collaborate with him on the recordings which yielded the new CD, “Hate To See You Go”. Geoff Hartwell has appeared in international magazines such as Guitar World and Vintage Guitar Magazine. Recent television performances include appearing as a “Naked Hippie” in a hugely popular skit on Saturday Night Live (which was chosen to open the “Best of the Year” DVD), and playing guitar for the theme to the Discovery Channel show “Outward Bound”, as well as interview/performances on The Guitar Show with Mike Byrnes, and “The Listening Room” on RNN. In addition to maintaining a busy clinic and teaching schedule, Geoff Hartwell continues to perform up to 200 nights per year.
Labor Day weekend is upon us, and it is time that we honor all the hard work put in by the entire TrueFire faculty. They all have spent countless hours in and out of the studio trying to find the best and most innovative ways to teach and inspire. Their extraordinary efforts show through in the quality of their guitar lessons and for that we are all endlessly appreciative. To express our gratitude, we will be featuring each of them in this 5-part series on The Punch-In so you can get to know them all a little bit better.
So, without further adieu, here are the first 10 artists whom we consider to be part of the Top 50 Hardest Working Guitarists in the World (in alphabetical order):
Andy Aledort Andy Aledort has been a significant figure in the international music scene over the last 20 years. As a senior editor for the top guitar-oriented music magazines GUITAR WORLD, GUITAR FOR THE PRACTICING MUSICIAN, GUITAR EXTRA, GUITAR LEGENDS, and GUITAR WORLD ACOUSTIC, among others, his work is unsurpassed as a music transcriber, instructional columnist and journalist. He has authored over 200 books of guitar transcriptions as well as a series of guitar-related instructional books and videos/DVDs, all of which are distributed worldwide, for the leading music publishers Hal Leonard Corp., Warner Brothers Publishing and Cherry Lane Music. Aledort is a performing musician as well: along with leading his own ensembles in the New York/tri-state area, he is often tapped for high-profile appearances with artists such as Buddy Guy, Dickey Betts, and the Allman Brothers band.
Trey Alexander Trey Alexander picked up his first guitar at age 15. It was an antique acoustic model that his parents used as a decorative piece in their home. Although he had always loved music, this was Alexander’s first instrument and he began practicing so much that he wore the winding off of the strings. This is when Alexander’s dad, his biggest fan and inspiration, realized that his son was more than a curious teenager with an old guitar. Within a few weeks of discovering this instrument, Alexander began playing regularly at open mics and jam sessions and won his first guitar competition. When Alexander was 18, he saw Steve Vai perform live in concert, an experience he describes as “awe-inspiring.” He stayed up all night describing the experience to his father, who listened to him play for hours. His father told him, “You will be one of the best guitar players who has ever lived.” Those words were his father’s last as he died of a brain hemorrhage that night. Alexander realized that he needed to live his dream, to be a musician, and carry on his father’s legacy. As it turns out, his father was right.
Muriel Anderson Widely respected as one of the country’s foremost guitarists, Muriel Anderson is the first woman to have won the National Finger picking Guitar Championship. Her recordings have traveled as far as outer space, accompanying the astronauts on a space shuttle mission. Muriel Anderson’s audiences experience a world of music in each concert – international, folk, classical, jazz, Beatles, bluegrass, and perhaps a Sousa march, played nylon string, steel string and harp guitar. Muriel was the first woman to win the National Fingerpicking Guitar Championship and was also awarded a bronze level for classical in the 2009 Acoustic Guitar Magazine’s Players Choice poll. She has been composing since the age of six and has published works for guitar and orchestra, voice, and solo guitar. Muriel has published several instructional books and videos and tours extensively. She is also the founder and director of Music for Life Alliance charity, and is the host of Muriel Anderson’s All STAR GUITAR NIGHT. For the past 14 years, Muriel Anderson’s All Star Guitar Night concert series has brought together the world’s best guitar players and the music community in support of a great cause.
Bruce Arnold Bruce Arnold has developed an extensive reputation as a composer and guitar virtuoso. His works are an original juxtaposition of 20th Century twelve-tone compositional methods and jazz improvisation techniques. Interviewing Mr. Arnold in The Los Angeles Times, Jazz critic Don Heckman wrote “Arnold’s music never loses its contact with jazz and he deserves credit for his effort to expand the potential of the jazz palette.” —and The New York Times has written that “Bruce Arnold could be the ultimate crossover musician.” As an educator, Mr. Arnold has taught at some of the most prestigious music schools in America, including the New England Conservatory of Music, Dartmouth College, Berklee College of Music, Princeton University, New York University, New School University, City College of New York.
Jeff Beasley Jeff Beasley holds B.A. degrees in Music and Classical Guitar, is a prolific educator, top columnist, popular workshop and clinic instructor, and writes the highly popular “Lethal Guitar” column for Premier Guitar magazine. Jeff has worked with some of the biggest names in shred guitar, he tours nationally and is a senior faculty member with the National Guitar Workshop. Jeff records instructional videos for Truefire, where his videos are always in the top sellers. Jeff has appeared in Guitarist Network magazine, Guitar For The Practicng Musician, Guitar Player, Music For The World, Music and Arts, Musicians Hotline, and Premier Guitar magazines. Jeff has 32 years experience in studio, teaching and performance, his debut CD “Tiebreaker” showcases his awesome guitar skills. Tiebreaker includes special guests Atma Anur (Jason Becker, Tony MacAlpine) and Doug Doppler (Favored Nations, Joe Satriani). Jeff is endorsed by Dean Guitars, Sierra Guitars, THD Amplifiers, Dimarzio Pickups, D’Addario Strings, In Tune Guitar Picks and Keeley Effects.
Stephen Bennett American guitarist Stephen Bennett has become known over the last two decades as a versatile and original musician consistently garnering critical praise and audience enthusiasm for his recordings and live performances. With his musicality, relaxed stage presence and quick wit, Stephen has performed throughout the United States, as well as in Canada, Australia, Japan, and around Europe. With nearly 20 CD recordings to his credit at this writing, a new Stephen Bennett recording is always in the works. Aside from his work on the six-string guitar, Stephen is also one of the world’s premiere performers on the Harp Guitar, an instrument he inherited from his great-grandfather. As a composer and arranger, he has created an enduring repertoire and a significant body of recorded work for this instrument.
Matthieu Brandt Matthieu Brandt from Amsterdam, Netherlands (b. 1961) has been strummin’ a guitar since 1983 when he traded his first P.C. for his first Alfa Guitar. Starting out as an acoustic fingerstyle blues player and studying with Irish Blues Virtuoso Martin Hutchinson, he quickly got an appetite for electric blues. He started out in his first blues band “Bealestreet” in 1985 – a band that was to exist for five looooong years. In 2000 he started giging with “Too True To Be Blue” and recorded his first Solo CD in 2002: ‘Back Log’. In that year he also started the band Mindway, together with Edo Donkers, Gerrit Berkouwer, Rodin van der Hart and Joren Nooij. In May 2006 Matt released his second album ‘Man in Shades’, featuring 12 all original songs. Performed by him and 16 guest musicians in different arrangements. Guest musicians include Larry John McNally (songwriter for Bonnie Raitt, Don Henley, Chaka Kahn, Ed Boekee and many others.)
Chris Buono Chris Buono has been called many things: arcane improviser, sound diabolist, fearless composer, content junkie, video stunt guitarist, crazed educator—the list goes on. If you’re looking for simpler terms you can go with recording artist (Lava/Atlantic, Lion Music, LNR, E-Magine Music, RKM/Kindred), bandleader (Diablo Project, Richard Weed Ensemble, BubbleFro), sideman (Bumblefoot, Karsh Kale, Graham Haynes, Tony C. and the Truth, DK Dyson, Spiraling and more), music journalist/columnist (Guitar Player, Guitar One, Just Jazz Guitar magazines to name a few), educator (Berklee College of Music, National Guitar Workshop), author (Alfred, Course Technology), video clinician (TrueFire), product clinician (M-Audio, First Act, Source Audio and more), etc. Call him what you want, one thing is certain—this cat is bad-ass and busy.
Brad Carlton Brad is living proof that monster players don’t all live in the big music meccas. Based in St. Petersburg, Florida, our home city, he’s our hired gun – the guy we call in to perform the tough lessons when the author is not available. Brad, who has been teaching and leading his own bands for more than 20 years, prides himself on his versatility. His rep in the region is that he can play anything. Brad brilliantly performs an extensive lesson on Eddie Van Halen licks an exploration of London blues along with interpretations of Vernon Reid, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Mike Stern and even some 18th Century parlor guitar.
Larry Carlton Eighteen‐time Grammy nominee, three‐time Grammy winner and all time guitar great, Larry Carlton established himself from his first recording, A Little Help From My Friends. His studio credits include musicians and groups like Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, Michael Jackson, Sammy Davis Jr., Herb Alpert, Quincy Jones, Bobby Bland, Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and literally dozens of others. He went on to perform with the Crusaders and then with the multi platinum jazz super group Fourplay. With 30 albums to his credit and having performed on over 100 albums that have gone Gold or Platinum, Larry Carlton has set a standard for artistry that spans three decades. In 2008 Larry Carlton received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Guitar Player magazine at the historical Ryman Auditorium and was presented the “Titan of Tone” award from Premier Guitar Magazine at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Larry also picked up 2 more Grammy nominations in 2009 bringing his career total to 18 nominations with 3 Grammy wins! Larry’s “Greatest Hits Rerecorded ‐ Volume One” released by 335 Records was nominated for Best Pop Instrumental Album and “Fortune Teller” from Fourplay’s Energy was nominated for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.
Check out Larry’s most popular blues guitar lessons: 335 Blues
Check out Larry’s official website: www.Mr335.com