Jazz Guitar Almanac

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The Jazz Guitar Almanac

April  2017

April 1, 2017 Saturday

Tip of the day: Earl Klugh’s wonderful solo rendition of the under appreciated Burt Bacharach tune “The April Fools” is certainly worth a listen today.


April 2, 2017  Sunday

Happy Birthday , Larry Coryell! [1943]

Tip of the day: The eclectic Mr. Coryell has recorded and performed jazz, rock, fusion, classical, and even vocals. His discography is a study in contrast.


April 3, 2017  Monday

Happy Birthday, Paul Abler!!   [1957]

Tip of the day: The C major diatonic triads are C, Dmin, Emin, F, G, Amin, and Bdim. Expressed more generally they are I, IImin, IIImin, IV, V, VImin and VIIdim.


April 4, 2017  Tuesday

Tip of the day: You may be called upon to cover a host of “spring” songs. Brush up on Joy Spring, Spring is Here, Up Jumped Spring, Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year, and Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most.


April 5, 2017  Wednesday

Happy Birthday, Jerome Harris! [1953]

Tip of the day: Some big band guitar charts are merely photocopies of the piano part. Be prepared for some bass clef reading.


April 6, 2017  Thursday

Happy Birthday, Gene Bertoncini! [1937]

   [Bertoncini is seen here with 3rd assistant ash tray polisher Joe Finn.]

Happy Birthday, John Pizzarelli! [1960]

Tip of the day:  Inexpensive guitars are much better than they used to be. A plywood archtop from Japan or Korea can now be had for about $500.00 and they play and sound pretty good.


April 7, 2017  Friday

Tip of the day: Don’t get “fooled” this month. Brush up on the appropriate repertoire: I’ll Remember April, April in Paris,  Half of April Most of May, and April Showers are good examples.


April 8, 2017  Saturday

Happy Birthday, Phil Lee!! [1943]

Tip of the day: The thumb, pick, and fingernails all produce different sounds. Learning to “palm” a pick will allow you to access these colors while smoothing the transition from fingers to pick.


April 9, 2017  Sunday

Happy Birthday, Al Gafa!   [1941]

Tip of the day: Mark Whitfield’s tenure with Jimmy Smith was highly reminiscent of Jimmy’s work with Wes Montgomery and of the organ trio configuration in general.


April 10, 2017 Monday

Happy Birthday, George Freeman!  [1927]

Happy Birthday, Tom Giacabetti! [?]

Tip of the day: The mini humbucking pickups featured on many jazz guitars have a substantially lower output than their full sized cousins.


April 11, 2017   Tuesday

Happy Birthday, Ralph Blaze! [1922]

Happy Birthday,  Dave Wilborn! [1904]

   [Wilborn was a member of McKinney’s Cotton Pickers.]

Tip of the day: Carry spares in your case: strings, picks, chords, fuses, batteries, etc. It’s better to have them and not need them than the other way around.


April 12, 2017   Wednesday

Happy Birthday, Dave Mosick!!    [1967]

Tip of the day: The floating pickups available on certain archtops allow the instrument to resonate more freely than a guitar whose pickups sit in holes cut in the top.


April 13, 2017   Thursday

Happy Birthday, Thom Rotella!    [1951]

Tip of the day: Along with his many other tunes, Thelonious Monk’s “Friday the 13th” is a lot of fun to play on guitar. Good luck with it.


April 14, 2017   Friday

Happy Birthday,  Bill Harris! [1925]

Tip of the day: How can a guitarist establish himself in New York City, the center of the jazz universe? He must be, to everyone who hears him, a player of superior, transcendent ability. This is the only way.


April 15, 2017   Saturday

Happy Birthday,  Bernard Addison!  [1905]

Happy Birthday, Joe Sodja!   [1911]

Tip of the day: Jazz guitarists who want to make a lot of money may be in the wrong business. Since it is Income Tax Day, you at least you don’t have to worry about being in a high tax bracket.


April 16, 2017   Sunday

Happy Birthday , Tony Rizzi! [1923]

Happy Birthday , Ulf Wakenius! [1958]

Tip of the day: Today’s birthday boy is well known for bringing the “Supersax” concept to the guitar. His jazz guitar choir recordings are wonderful listening and highly recommended.


April 17, 2017   Monday

Happy Birthday, Johnny St. Cyr! [1890]

Tip of the day: You can emulate the false fingering effect that saxophonists employ by playing the same tone on two different strings.


April 18, 2017   Tuesday

Happy Birthday,  Tony Mottola! [1918]

Tip of the day: If you prefer to perform seated, consider a tall stool. This will get you closer to eye level with others on the band stand and enhance communication.


April 19, 2017   Wednesday

“To play great music you must keep your eyes on a distant star” [Yehudi Mennhin]

Tip of the day: As Mennhin metaphorically observes, music is a lifetime endeavor in which it is vital to become centered and stay focused.


April 20, 2017   Thursday

Happy Birthday, Issi Rozen!    [1971]

Tip of the day: If you stick with music long enough you will someday have to learn to successfully cope with the audition process. You will have to practice hard to get your playing to a high level. The emotional challenge is also considerable as the process is very stressful.


April 21, 2017   Friday

Happy Birthday,  Mundell Lowe! [1922]

Tip of the day: Today’s  birthday boy’s release “Souvenirs”  [Jazz Alliance JA-10011] includes material recorded in 1977 and in 1992. His sometimes-overlooked talents are worth revisiting.


April 22, 2017   Saturday

Tip of the day: Guitar tends to be a highly individualistic instrument. Technique can vary widely from player to player. Idiosyncratic tendencies can lead to a sound that is uniquely your own.


April 23, 2017   Sunday

Tip of the day: When improvising, many guitarists are limited to two or three positions for any given chord. Work towards seeing the fretboard as a whole by becoming familiar with all chord/scale/arpeggio relationships in  at least five different positions.


April 24, 2017   Monday

Tip of the day: For the best tone the bottom of the nut should match the precise contour of the slot in which it sits.


April 25, 2017   Tuesday

Happy Birthday,  Kendra Shank!   [1958]

Tip of the day: Occasional minor hand injuries like cuts and splinters are probably unavoidable in life and can make playing the guitar very difficult. Tip the odds in your favor by wearing gloves while doing household chores and moving your amplifier.


April 26, 2017   Wednesday

Tip of the day: A compensating bridge is usually carved from rosewood and features offset, individual saddles.


April 27, 2017   Thursday

Happy Birthday, Calvin Newborn ! [1933]

Happy Birthday,  Lionel Loueke !!  [1973]

Tip of the day: Because of the smooth outer wrap, flatwound strings are  easier to play than round wound strings due to reduced friction. Flatwounds also tend to last longer as they trap less moisture and dirt than roundwounds.


April 28, 2017   Friday

Happy Birthday, Everett Barksdale! [1910]

Happy Birthday, Leni Stern ! [1952]

Happy Birthday, Steve Kahn!  [1947]

Tip of the day: Today’s birthday girl and her husband Mike represent one of the only married couple of jazz guitarists we’ve ever heard of.


April 29, 2017   Saturday

Happy Birthday, Toots Thielemans!  [1922]

Happy  Birthday, Will Matthews!  [1957]

Tip of the day:  Many luthiers are offering  fine handmade archtop guitars to an emerging niche market. For those  who can afford one, this is a chance to own a truly great guitar.


April 30, 2017   Sunday

Tip of the day: Latin rhythms have been borrowed by jazz players for a long time with great success. From pioneers like Dizzy Gillespie to contemporaries such as Pat Metheny the jazz/latin hybrid has proven to be an exciting vehicle for jazz improvisation.


The Jazz Guitar Almanac

is published in monthly installments

on the first of each month.

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