Jazz Guitar Almanac

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The Jazz Guitar Almanac

October  2017

October 1, 2017  Sunday

Tip of the day: Be a link in the chain of stylistic continuity. Seek out the wisdom and insights of players from the previous generation. Offer guidance and opportunities to worthy younger players.


October 2, 2017 Monday

Happy Birthday, Howard Roberts!  [1929]

Happy Birthday, Joe Giglio!!!    [1954]

Tip of the day: Today’s birthday boy reveals himself to be a master chord technician in his series of instructional books. They contain a wealth of applied harmonic approaches that are both practical and beautiful.


October 3, 2017  Tuesday

Tip of the day: Keep a peg winder and a sharp pair of wire cutters handy when it’s time to change strings. These simple tools greatly facilitate the process and will save you time.


October 4, 2017  Wednesday

Tip of the day: A crack in the finish in the area of the dovetail joint is not a good sign. It may mean that the dovetail has shifted. Show the instrument to a luthier and keep you fingers crossed.


October 5, 2017  Thursday

Tip of the day: Learn the lyrics to jazz standards. This will deepen your understanding of the melodies and improve your phrasing.


October 6, 2017  Friday

Happy Birthday,  Carmen Mastren! [1913]

     [Mastren is seen here with clarinetist Woody Allen.]

Happy Birthday, Mark Whitfield!  [1966]

Happy Birthday, Lenny Argese!!!    [1942]

Tip of the day: Flatwound strings do not produce the characteristic “squeak” that happens when moving your fingers over round wounds.


October 7, 2017  Saturday

Happy Birthday, Wilson “Serious” Myers!  [1906]

Tip of the day: To be part of the continuum that includes Johnny St. Cyr, Charlie Christian, Jim Hall, Russell Malone and Mark Whitfield is a great honor and a privilege. A wise man hears the call.


October 8, 2017  Sunday

Tip of the day: Do not neglect the diligent study of the arpeggios, scales and modes. They are the vocabulary and grammar of jazz improvisation.


October 9, 2017  Monday

Happy Birthday, Elmer Chester Snowden! [1900]

Happy Birthday, Frank Dibussolo!! [1951]

Happy Birthday, Pete Cosey!  [1943]

   [Cosey is seen here with Miles Davis.]

Tip of the day: Setting a drink on your amp is not a great idea. If it gets spilled your amp may stop functioning immediately and require costly repairs.


October 10, 2017 Tuesday

Happy Birthday, Lee Blair ! [1905]

  [ Blair was a member of The Luis Russell Orchestra.]


Tip of the day: Avoid interrupting your improvised melodic lines because of the problems posed by the harmonic setting. Find ways to connect ideas into seamless, smooth, continuous statements by identifying common tones from one chord to the next.


October 11, 2017   Wednesday

Happy Birthday, Peter Sprague!   [1955]

Tip of the day: The compositions of Thelonious Monk lend themselves to guitarist’s interpretations. Try Blue Monk, Evidence or Well You Needn’t on for size.


October 12, 2017   Thursday

Happy Birthday, Yoshiaki Masuo!    [1946]

Happy Birthday, Ed Cherry!             [1954]

Tip of the day: The “All Italian Jazz Guitar Section” includes Eddie Lang, Nick Lucas, Joe Pass, Harry Volpe, Carmen Mastren, Al Viola, Pat Martino, Bucky Pizzarelli, Don Arnone, John Pizzarelli, Remo Palmieri, Joe Puma, Tony Rizzi, Jimmy Bruno, Sal Salvador, Jack Fragomeni, Chuck D’Aloia, Frank Vignola, Robert Conti, Michele Ramo, Tony DeCaprio, Reno De Stefano, Joe Giglio, Joe Carbone, Al Caiola, Lou Mecca, Rich DiCarlo, Gene Bertoncini, John Pisanno and Joe Diorio.


October 13, 2017   Friday

Tip of the day: A guitar amp with twin 12 inch speakers in an open back cabinet is a good all-purpose setup. This design has been around now for over 40 years and remains popular with jazzmen and players in the other styles as well.


October 14, 2017   Saturday

Happy Birthday, Kazumi Watanabe!   [1953]

Happy Birthday, Garrison Fewell!         [1953]

“I’m like a gardener... just trying to plant all these various beautiful flowers that I like and let it be. I’m concerned about the beauty.” [Kenny Burrell]

Tip of the day: Rare and well done: Recordings from independent jazz guitarists who are not signed to major labels may be hard to find but are very much worth the effort. Fred Fried, Rick Stone, Charlie Robinson, Joey Goldstein, Tony DeCaprio, Ted Vieira, Greg Clayton, Mitch Seidman, Steve Carter, Doug Proper, Tom Lippincott, Kevin Van Sant, Eric Elias, Steve Herberman, and Kevin Lutke are good examples of this.


October 15, 2017   Sunday

Happy Birthday, Mickey Baker!  [1925]

Tip of the day: The microtonal possibilities of the guitar particularly on blue notes are powerful and evocative. The technique is frequently overstated by many rock players but finds more tasteful practitioners among the likes of Kenny Burrell, Russell Malone and Herb Ellis.


October 16, 2017   Monday

Tip of the day: A plywood archtop features a laminated top that is pressed into the requisite shape. Though not as resonant as hand carved tops, they can  be produced more cheaply and in greater numbers.


October 17, 2017   Tuesday

Happy Birthday,  Barney Kessel ! [1923]

Happy Birthday, Howard Alden!  [1958]

Tip of the day:  Learn to listen with a heightened awareness of elements within the musical environment. This distinguishes listening from simply hearing.


October 18, 2017   Wednesday

Happy Birthday, Tony Purrone!!!    [1954]

Tip of the day: Well it’s that time of year again. Whether your taste runs towards chestnuts like “Autumn Leaves” and “Autumn in New York” or the modernity of Wayne Shorter’s “Fall” you can’t miss with a reference to this beautiful season.


October 19, 2017   Thursday

Happy Birthday, Sam Farkas!!   [1953]

Happy Birthday, Pete Chilver! [1924]

Happy Birthday, John Mills Jr. !   [1910]


“I say play your own way. Don’t play what the public wants.....”

[Thelonious Monk]

Tip of the day: The guitar can be an arranger’s resource. A chord melody solo  sounds great when the voices are broken out over a horn section.


October 20, 2017   Friday

Happy Birthday, Carl Kress !   [1907]

Happy Birthday, Martin Taylor! [1956]

Tip of the day:  Keep the guitar away from extremes of temperature and humidity.


October 21, 2017   Saturday

Happy Birthday, Lord Westbrook!  [1921]

Happy Birthday, Guillermo Bazzola! [1962]

Tip of the day:  Becoming familiar with Roman numeral chord nomenclature or the “Nashville” system will help you become adept at the chore of transposition.


October 22, 2017   Sunday

Happy Birthday, Cyril Blake!!! [1897]

Tip of the day: It’s a challenge to make every solo different, but take heart, at least you won’t make the same mistake twice.


October 23, 2017   Monday

Tip of the day: Left handed guitars are more expensive than their counterparts and are relatively rare. Since it is probably no more difficult for a left handed beginner to start learning on a right handed guitar they might as well get off on the “right” foot.


October 24, 2017   Tuesday

Happy Birthday, Lawrence Marrero!  [1900]

Happy Birthday, Daniel Corzo!  [1963]

Tip of the day:  Chord symbols are subject to interpretation. Learn a variety of voicings and substitutions that will allow you to color the music in as many ways as you can.


October 25, 2017   Wednesday

Happy Birthday, Eddie Lang!          [1933]

Happy Birthday, Edmond “Doc” Souchon!! [1897]

Happy Birthday, Arthur Rhames !! [ 1957 ]


Tip of the day: Always tune up to pitch. If you go past pitch, tune back below it and turn the peg up again. If you tune downward the strings will slip flat as you play due to catching on the nut and whatever play is present in the tuning mechanism.


October 26, 2017   Thursday

Happy Birthday, Sterling Conaway!!!!         [1900]

Happy Birthday, Milton Nascimento !! [1942]

Tip of the day: A certain level of competence with chords and scales is a prerequisite for playing jazz. Foundation exercises in every key should be practiced with differing rhythms, meters and tempi.


October 27, 2017   Friday

Happy Birthday, Philip Catherine!  [1942]

Happy Birthday, Folke Eriksberg!   [1910]

Happy Birthday,  Uffe Steen!!   [1954]


Tip of the day: Harmony is referred to as the vertical element in music as the chords align themselves on the page in an up and down fashion. Melody is the horizontal element as its contour appears across the page from left to right.


October 28, 2017   Saturday

Happy Birthday, Tuck Andress!  [1952]

Happy Birthday, Kurt Rosenwinkle!!   [1970]

Tip of the day: Diatonic modes share the same key signatures. D Dorian, G Mixolydian, A Aeolian and B Lochrian are all diatonic with C major and can be played in that key without harmonic conflicts.


October 29, 2017   Sunday

Tip of the day: The six tones that result from the linking of two triads can be used as improvisational material. Eb [Eb-G-B] and F [F-A-C] will work well over C-7, F7 or Ebmaj#11 and will open up many interesting interval jumps.


October 30, 2017   Monday

Tip of the day: Rudy Van Gelder’s studio in Englewood Cliffs , New Jersey was the scene of many legendary jazz recordings. At one point when the equipment was being upgraded guitarist George Benson bought some of the old stuff for his home studio.


October 31, 2017   Tuesday

Happy Birthday, Joey Goldstein!        [1953]

Tip of the day: Trick or treat?  If you have any hopes of becoming a “monster”, you’ll have to practice, practice, and practice.

         Pumpkin Joe says, “Happy Halloween”


The Jazz Guitar Almanac

is published in monthly installments

on the first of each month.

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