Watch the El Gato online guitar lesson by David Hamburger from 50 Jazz-Blues Licks You MUST Know
Once again, my first encounter with a legendary keyboard player was through the jazz guitar canon - Tommy Flanagan’s the pianist on The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery, one of the first jazz albums I and probably zillions of other guitarists got turned on to. (Right after Wes lays down the two-chorus head to "D-Natural Blues," that’s Flanagan who comes in with the righteously laid-back opening solo.)
Much more recently, I picked up an LP of The Tommy Flanagan Trio Overseas, which quickly became an all-time favorite of mine (and made my then-three-year-old son’s heavy rotation list for about three months, which is about as high praise as you can get). Turns out, of course, what I thought was some weird, obscure old reissue was in fact considered an all-time classic itself, and with good reason - Flanagan, bassist Wilbur Ware and drummer Elvin Jones (you may have heard of him - he played with a guy named Coltrane) apply their intensely relaxed bebop groove to original material, an Ellington/Strayhorn tune and three different views of the twelve-bar form, with results any jazz-exploring blues musician will totally dig.