Jazz Guitar Almanac

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The Jazz Guitar Almanac

March  2017

March 1, 2017  Wednesday  

Happy Birthday, Ralph Towner!  [1940]

Happy Birthday, Teddy Powell !   [1905]

Happy Birthday, Joseph Reinhardt ! [1912]

Happy Birthday, Elliot Sharp!  [1952]

Tip of the day: Jazz choruses are like snow flakes: no two are exactly alike.


March 2, 2017 Thursday

Happy Birthday, Larry Carlton! [1949]

Tip of the day: Larry Carlton reveals himself to be an innovative and inventive instrumentalist in his string bending technique. Larry likes to silently bend the string up and then articulate the note and let it fall back to pitch.


March 3, 2017  Friday

Tip of the day: The four to the bar rhythmic style of Freddie Green became central to the sound of the Basie Band and to the style in general. He thickened the texture of the rhythm section without conflicting with the piano.


March 4, 2017  Saturday

Happy Birthday, Jim Nichols! [1947]

“The older I get the more respect and appreciation I have for my instrument.” 

[Russell Malone]

Tip of the day:  Big band harmonies spread out over ensemble sections may not be entirely consistent with the chord symbols on rhythm section parts due to the melodic contour or error. Identify and resolve these problems in rehearsal.


March 5, 2017  Sunday

Happy Birthday, John Basile!     [1955]

Tip of the day: It seems that a light touch is necessary to play up-tempo 16th notes on guitar. Unfortunately, some drummers seem to have the opposite problem.


March 6, 2017  Monday

Happy Birthday, Wes Montgomery! [1925]

Happy Birthday, Dom Minasi ! [1943]

Tip of the day:  Those downward thumb strokes on octave lines, so reminiscent of Wes’ style can spice up your solo chorus by setting up a contrasting texture.


March 7, 2017  Tuesday

     [Fred Fried]

Tip of the day: Big band horn soloists may not have the chord changes on their parts. Come to the rescue by allowing them to pencil in harmonies from your part.


March 8, 2017  Wednesday

Happy Birthday, Gabor Szabo !  [1936]

Tip of the day: Always be on the lookout for new material. You never know when a new, challenging musical opportunity might materialize.


March 9, 2017  Thursday

Happy Birthday, Paul Sealy!  [1943]

Tip of the day: Let your audience get to know you. Don’t be reluctant to speak to them from the bandstand. You might think that people know what they like, but don’t forget: they like what they know.


March 10, 2017   Friday

         [Johnny Smith]

Tip of the day:  Don’t judge a book by its cover. An obscure debut album by an unheralded guitarist may be better than a compromised, watered-down, pop oriented release from a well known established player.


March 11, 2017   Saturday

Happy Birthday, George Pritchett!  [1931]

Tip of the day: Disc jockeys, karaoke bars and one-man-band acts featuring pre-recorded accompaniment have hurt the job prospects for working musicians. Do what you can to oppose these trends.


March 12, 2017   Sunday

       [Joe Pass]

Tip of the day:  A classical guitar is often easier for the beginner to learn on. The wide fingerboard is forgiving and the nylon strings are easy on the fingertips.


March 13, 2017   Monday

Happy Birthday, Saunders King!   [1909]

Tip of the day: Echoes of the call and response blues shouts of African slaves on American plantations still figure prominently in the melodic content of jazz in counterpoint with other diverse sources from which the style continues to borrow freely.


March 14, 2017   Tuesday

"Sometimes I feel like the lone ranger. I'm looking for my own means of expression. And I'm just now starting to find it" -Woody Shaw (Little Red's Fantasy liner notes, 1976)

Tip of the day:  Many classical players favor a footstool to achieve the proper playing position while seated. Though a right-handed jazz guitarist may rest the instrument on the right thigh, a stool may still be a big help.


March 15, 2017   Wednesday

Happy Birthday, Raymond Boni! [1947]

Tip of the day: If there is to be a “button” on a song’s final fermata, someone must cue it. Otherwise the assumption should be that no button would be played.


March 16, 2017   Thursday

Happy Birthday, Bob Lessey!    [1910]

Tip of the day: When looking at a new piece of music make sure you understand the “roadmap”. First ending? Second ending? D.S. al fine? Coda? Get these things straight up front and you won’t get lost.


March 17, 2017   Friday

   [Jimmy D’aquisto]

Tip of the day: Be prepared to accompany people who want to sing “Danny Boy” and “My Wild Irish Rose” today.


March 18, 2017   Saturday

Happy Birthday, Bill Frisell!  [1951]

Tip of the day:  Play single line solos with great rhythmic drive. This sort of propulsion is the mark of a great player.


March 19, 2017   Sunday

     [Blood Ulmer]

Tip of the day: Belt buckles and metal buttons may scratch your guitar if you are not careful. These cosmetic blemishes may cost you at trade in time.


March 20, 2017   Monday

Happy Birthday, Sister Rosetta Tharpe!   [1921]

   [Tharpe is on the right with Duke Ellingto, Cab Calloway, et. al.]

Happy Birthday, Roy Patterson! [1954]

Tip of the day: If you have to play outdoors remember that your black guitar amp can absorb a lot of the sun’s heat resulting in a malfunction. Position it in the shade whenever possible.


March 21, 2017   Tuesday

     [Pat Martino and Lenny Breau.]

Tip of the day: Many archtops are fitted with tune-o-matic bridges for optimal intonation but the guitar will probably sound better and resonate more freely with a regular wooden bridge.


March 22, 2017   Wednesday

Happy Birthday, George Benson! [1943]

Happy Birthday, Melvin Sparks! [1946]

Happy Birthday, Marek Blizinski!     [1947]

Tip of the day: Even though you may be accused of trying to imitate today’s birthday boy, try scat singing along with your solos. This reinforces your thinking about the improvised line.


March 23, 2017   Thursday

Happy Birthday, Oliver Gannon! [1943]

“We all have impeccable intuition, if we just listen to it.” [John McLaughlin]

Tip of the day: Diminished chords are symbolized by 7 or dim7 and consist of a diminished triad [1-b3-b5] and a diminished [or double flat] 7.  Ab dim 7  is therefore spelled Ab-Cb-Ebb-Gbb.


March 24, 2017   Friday

     [Jack Wilkins]

Tip of the day: One of the great rewards in music is the camaraderie and companionship of your fellow musicians. The sharing of the creative process in jazz is a special experience and leads to rewarding relationships.


March 25, 2017   Saturday

   [Alan Reuss]

Tip of the day:  Jazz guitar can be a nocturnal pursuit. Make a joyful noise tonight and sleep in tomorrow.


March 26, 2017   Sunday

“Woodshedding is ... going off by yourself and addressing your deficiencies relentlessly, subjecting yourself to yourself.” [Wynton Marsalis]

Tip of the day: While performing keep a spare pick within easy reach. Everyone who uses one drops them and you are no exception.


March 27, 2017   Monday

Tip of the day: Don’t turn your amp on until the guitar is connected properly. Loud, unpleasant noises can result if you don’t.


March 28, 2017   Tuesday

     [Arv Garrison]

Tip of the day:  If you are going to rehearse or record your original material make sure that the other players have parts that are correct and legible. Preparation is the key to preventing the wasting of other people’s time.


March 29, 2017 Wednesday

Happy Birthday, Remo Palmier!  [1923]

Happy Birthday, Jarowslaw  Smietana!!  [1951]

Tip of the day: Today’s digital tuners are a godsend. Select one that lights up in case you need to get in tune on a dark bandstand someday.


March 30, 2017   Thursday

Happy Birthday, Dave Stryker! [1957]

Tip of the day: We hear music from the bottom up in keeping with the overtone  series. The bass is always easy to hear because there is nothing below it. There are only overtones above it. There is no much thing as an undertone.


March 31, 2017   Friday

Happy Birthday, Freddie Green! [1911]

Tip of the day: Gold plated guitar hardware is quite soft and may begin to deteriorate after a few years of regular playing. Chrome plated hardware generally has greater longevity.


The Jazz Guitar Almanac

is published in monthly installments

on the first of each month.

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