Home of the Jazz Guitar Almanac

The Jazz Guitar Almanac

September  2014

September 1, 2014                    Monday

Happy Birthday, Harry Leahey!  [1935]

Happy Birthday, Mike Danzi! [1898]

Tip of the day: One advantage string players have is that scale fingerings are the same in every key. It is therefore relatively easy for a guitarist to go from C major to Db major, a move that can be problematic on other instruments.

 

September 2, 2014  Tuesday

Happy Birthday, Laurindo Almeida!  [1917]

Happy Birthday, Steve Masakowski!  [1954]

Tip of the day:  The best exercise for playing the guitar is playing the guitar. Hand exercises away from the instrument are generally not helpful and can result in injury.

 

September 3, 2014  Wednesday

Happy Birthday , Peter Bernstein! [1967]

Tip of the day: Develop the ability to play standard tunes in every key. This will solidify your knowledge of the fingerboard and be good practice for accompanying vocalists.

 

September 4, 2014  Thursday

Happy Birthday,  Al Norris!  [1908]

Happy Birthday, Bireli Lagrene! [1966]

Happy Birthday, Wayne Wright!  [1932]

Tip of the day: Beware of hand injuries due to repetitive motion. Consult a physician if you experience numbness, tingling or persistent soreness.

 

September 5, 2014  Friday

Happy Birthday, Lawrence Dixon!          [1894]

   [Dixon was a member of Earl Hines’ Orchestra.]

Tip of the day: If your playing takes you on the road, play it smart. Get plenty of rest and eat sensibly. Don’t be self indulgent or engage in self-destructive behavior.

 

September 6, 2014  Saturday

Happy Birthday, Eddie Duran! [1925]

Happy Birthday, Alexey Kuznetsov!  [1941]

Tip of the day: Feedback is God’s way of telling you to turn down.

 

September 7, 2014  Sunday

Happy Birthday, Al Caiola!!  [1920]

Tip of the day: Give the audience credit. They may not have the technical knowledge of music that you do, but they know sincerity and will appreciate a heartfelt performance. They can spot a phony a mile away.

 

September 8, 2014  Monday

Happy Birthday, Alfio Grasso!  [1912]

Tip of the day: The idea of putting a MIDI interface on a guitar emerged over twenty years ago. Due to its inability to reproduce many guitaristic nuances and other tracking problems, the idea has never caught on among jazz players.

 

September 9, 2014  Tuesday

Tip of the day: A hard shell case offers the best protection to your guitar, but many working guitarists opt for the convenience and lightweight of a gig bag.

 

September 10, 2014 Wednesday

Happy Birthday, Doug MacDonald!  [1953]

Happy Birthday,  Steve Herberman!  [1966]

Happy Birthday, Joe Deniz! [1913]

Tip of the day: Many jazz tunes are in the horn friendly keys of F, Bb, Eb and Ab. You will go a long way before you hear a horn player call a blues in a sharp key like E major.

 

September 11, 2014 Thursday

Happy Birthday, Hiram Bullock!   [1955]

Tip of the day: Detuning the lowest string a whole step can open up new harmonic possibilities especially in the key of D major. George Benson’s chord melody solo on “Tenderly” is a good example of this.

 

September 12, 2014 Friday

Happy Birthday, Jerry Lavene!  [1948]

Happy Birthday, Bill Jennings!   [1919]

Tip of the day: Abalone  inlay work on older guitars was painstakingly installed by hand in a way that small imperfections and variations were apparent. Modern mass produced guitars are virtual clones of one another because of automated manufacturing techniques.

 

September 13, 2014 Saturday

Happy Birthday, Joe Morris!      [1955]

“Ars longa, vita brevis” (Art is forever, life is short) [Latin Proverb]

 

Tip of the day: The greatest achievements of a civilization are frequently to be found in the arts. As noted in today’s proverb, the artist’s ability to tap into eternity is a deep and profound mystery.

 

September 14, 2014 Sunday

Happy Birthday,  Fred Sokolow!!  [1945]

“It’s taken me all my life to learn what not to play.” [Dizzy Gillespie]

Tip of the day: From 1930 to 1943 Montgomery Ward’s was offering mail order guitars under the name Recording King. These instruments were manufactured by Gretsch and Gibson.

 

September 15, 2014 Monday

Happy Birthday,  Al Casey! [1915]

Happy Birthday, Doug Proper!!  [1967]

Happy Birthday, Chris Buzzelli!  [1959]

Tip of the day: Beginners can start to develop a sense of relative pitch by associating intervals with popular tunes as an aid to memorization. This is also an ability that you can improve upon throughout your life.

 

September 16, 2014 Tuesday

Happy Birthday, Earl Klugh! [1954]

     [Klugh is seen here with George Benson.]

Happy Birthday, Charlie Byrd ! [1925]

Happy Birthday, Toto Blanke!   [1939]

Tip of the day: Coincidentally enough, two of the greatest practitioners of jazz on the classical guitar were born on this date. In addition to this similarity both Byrd and Klugh were noted for styles that used latin rhythms extensively.

 

September 17, 2014       Wednesday

Happy Birthday, Biddy Fleet!   [1910]

“Perfection is attained by slow degrees; it requires the hand of time.”  Voltaire

Tip of the day:  Performance is the hallmark of understanding: Let your guitar do the talking.

 

September 18, 2014 Thursday

Happy Birthday, Emily Remler!  [1957]

“What we hope ever to do with ease, we must learn first to do with diligence.” Samuel Johnson

Tip of the day: September in the Rain and September Song are likely additions to your set list this month.

 

September 19, 2014 Friday

Happy Birthday, Nino Rosso!!   [1926]

Tip of the day: Never call a tune on the bandstand unless you are ready, willing and able to play the head and are thoroughly familiar with the changes. This may seem obvious but it’s surprising how often this unwritten rule gets broken.

 

September 20, 2014 Saturday

Happy Birthday, John Collins ! [1913]

Happy Birthday, Jackie Paris ! [1926]

Happy Birthday, Eric Gale ! [1938]

Happy Birthday, Bill DeArango! [1921]

Tip of the day: Divide your practice time between technique, repertoire and reading. Compartmentalize your efforts and be disciplined in pursuing your goals.

 

September 21, 2014 Sunday

Happy Birthday, Jerry Hahn!  [1940]

Happy Birthday, Greg Clayton! [1951]

Tip of the day: The “half/whole tone” scale is built by alternating half step and whole step intervals. While it works well with altered and half diminished harmonies it can also be used to imply atonality over more conventional chords.

 

September 22, 2014 Monday

Tip of the day:  Use clippers to trim your nails. Avoid files as they generally tear the nail and weaken it while producing a poor tone.

 

September 23, 2014 Tuesday

Happy Birthday, Vic Juris! [1953]

Happy Birthday, Christian Escoude! [1947]

Happy Birthday, Albert Ammons! [1907]

Happy Birthday, John Coltrane! [1923]

Tip of the day: Certain tunes by John Coltrane feature interesting root motion and quick harmonic rhythms that are challenging and fun to play. Moment’s Notice, Central Park West, Giant Steps and Countdown are good examples of this period of ‘Trane’s career.

 

September 24, 2014 Wednesday

Happy Birthday, Bill Connors!  [1949]

Tip of the day: The insertion of a “quote” from another tune into a jazz chorus found perhaps it’s greatest practitioner in Dexter Gordon. Dex was able to do this in a very spontaneous, natural way that never seemed contrived or forced.

 

September 25, 2014 Thursday

Happy Birthday,  Ahmed Ratip!        [1905]

Happy Birthday, Nelson Symonds!    [1933]

Tip of the day: Several fingerings are possible for any given melody on the guitar. There is bound to be disagreement among experts as to what constitutes the “best” choice but this is due to the nature of the instrument itself.

 

September 26, 2014 Friday

Happy Birthday, Ted Greene!!   [1946]

Tip of the day: Never pass up the chance to see a master perform. You may feel at first like taking a hammer to your guitar, but use the inspiration to practice harder and take your playing to the next level.

 

September 27, 2014 Saturday

Tip of the day: We learn things in many different ways. We hear music, we read it and we feel it under our fingers. We also must learn to sing it. In addition to the required sight singing, students should sing jazz and scat along with their improvised solos.

 

September 28, 2014 Sunday

Tip of the day: For the first few years the jazz soloist should try to do more with less. Learn many applications for a few scales and arpeggios. As time goes by the rest of the scalar material will come. In the meantime learn as many standard tunes as possible.

 

September 29, 2014 Monday

Happy Birthday, Dennis Sandole! [1917]

Tip of the day: A humble, dedicated student of modest talent is likely to go further than a talented, prideful student who practices infrequently.

 

September 30, 2014 Tuesday

Happy Birthday, Scott Fields!    [1955]

Tip of the day: Temperature extremes will throw the guitar out of tune even as you play it. Beware of this problem should you ever have to perform in the heat or cold. Otherwise these extremes are to be avoided.

The Jazz Guitar Almanac

is published in monthly installments

on the first of each month.

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