Joe Finn

Jazz Guitar


What they’re saying:

“One of the best post boppers on the scene today.”   Dom Minasi

“It’s nice to see that someone is still coming up with fresh new ways of expression on the jazz guitar."  Jimmy Bruno   

“A new voice on jazz guitar.”  Len Bukowski Cadence Magazine

“Finn reveals a smooth tone and immaculate technique, reminiscent of such players as Barney Kessel and Herb Ellis.” 

Dave Nathan All Music Guide



About Joe Finn


Born in Hartford Connecticut, the son of an amateur pianist and composer, guitarist Joe Finn was surrounded by music from the very first. By age ten he was playing his first guitar and giving lessons to kids in the neighborhood. After high school he got a Bachelor’s Degree in Music at Plattsburgh State and had the good fortune to play and study with Roy Burns, James Spaulding, Jim Miller, Billy Hawkins and Kirk Nurock. After college he spent ten years traveling the United States and Canada playing the guitar in a wide variety of situations. Finn has now settled in upstate New York where he concentrates on local performances and teaching. He has been featured in various festival and concert settings for several years since the release of his initial CD as a leader in 1991. The album entitled Straight Ahead received critical acclaim as well as extensive national airplay. His quartet’s subsequent appearance on the BET network’s Jazz Discovery Showcase won their 1998 award in the jazz instrumental category. Five more independent CD releases Guitar Signatures and Duets , Blue Tomorrow,Destiny Blue, String Theory and 2019’s Generational Dynamics have helped to establish Joe’s reputation as a one of today’s top players. 






August 8, 2019 Noon

Joe Finn Quartet

Jazz on Jay Concert Series

Jay Street

Schenectady, New York



August 24, 2019  9:00  PM

with Pete Sweeney Trio

9 Maple Ave.

Saratoga Springs, New York



September 7,2019 9:00 pm

Joe Finn Trio


Albany, New York



October 5, 2019  9:00  PM

with Pete Sweeney Trio

9 Maple Ave.

Saratoga Springs, New York



November 1, 2019 7:00 pm

with Phil Allen Concert Band

A Place For Jazz

Concert Series

Schenectady, New York



November 2,2019  9:00 pm

Joe Finn Trio


Albany, New York



December 7,2019  9:00 pm

Joe Finn Trio


Albany, New York




2019 generational quartet featuring Tom Finn on alto sax.

Tracks include Groove Merchant, Mo’ Better Blues, Embraceable You, Segment and more. Two generations of Finn-tastic sounds.


2005 Quartet release

This CD also features: Without A Song, Fietio de Oracao, Lush Life, I Get A Kick Out Of You, Never To Return and Bolivia with guitar, bass, drums and piano.

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Blue Quartet

Destiny Blue includes: Body And Soul, Anthropology, Upper Manhattan Medical Group, An Old Piano Plays The Blues, Fall, Thinking Out Loud, A Portrait of Jenny, Midnight Voyage and Destiny Blue.

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More Blue Quartet

Blue Tomorrow tracks include: Muddy In The Bank, Birk’s Works, In Your Own Sweet Way, Wrong Together, Rhythm-a-ning, Early Maria, Sister Cheryl, Lucky Southern, Dolphin Dance and Union Pacific

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Solo guitar selections and vocals with guitar and piano.

Guitar Signatures features: When I Take My Sugar To Tea, Ain’t Misbehavin’, I Get The Neck Of The Chicken, When I Grow Too Old To Dream, I’m Putting All My Eggs In One Basket, The April Fools, Alfie, It Had To Be You, The Second Time Around, If I Had You, Like Someone In Love, A New Kind Of Love and Walking Line.

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1993 debut recording with original compositions arranged for quintet.

This collection features: Trane Time, Dizzy, Black Dome, Burning Flames From The Fiery Furnace, Blues Groove, Esprit, Cryptologia and Jingle Voutie

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 The Jazz Guitar Almanac

September 1, 2019 Sunday


Harry Leahey


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, 2019 Monday


Laurindo Almeda

Happy Birthday! [1917]

September 3, 2019 Tuesday


Peter Bernstein


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, 2019 Wednesday

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Al Norris


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Wayne Wright


Tip of the day: The primary elements of style that are most closely associated with jazz include swing, syncopation and improvisation. There is also a certain harmonic palette and typical instrumental configurations that underlie this idiom. Jazz is also a characteristic repertoire and the product of a tradition that dates back nearly 100 years. Now, in the event that we are having some sort of a semantic problem here, in this context the word style refers to a particular distinctive manner of expression; as in the way in which a piece of music is performed. To this extent to say that “jazz is not a style” makes no sense. All musical expression has identifiable elements of style. This is how we distinguish Baroque from Romantic and Mazurka from Samba.

September 5, 2019 Thursday

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Lawrence Dixon


Dixon was a member of the Earl Hines Orchestra.

Tip of the day: In performance based activities such as music there is a distinction between thinking and doing. When you are thinking about doing it, you’re not doing it. You are consciously thinking.  When you are simply doing it, you are performing at the limits of human potential. 

September 6, 2019 Friday


Eddie Duran


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Alexey Kuznetsov


Tip of the day: Our system of chord nomenclature is indispensable to the extent that it facilitates communication and the learning of new material. It is also important to remember that the system has its limitations. Every chord symbol is subject to interpretation. We play chord symbols in different inversions, different registers and employ different substitutions according to our musical judgment , or lack thereof.  Another shortcoming is that the  system does not handle non tertian harmony well; so many voicings are best represented on the staff.

September 7, 2019 Saturday

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Al Caiola


Tip of the day: Transposing instruments produce a sound at a fixed interval above or below the written note. This allows a player to switch easily from among various sized instruments of the same type like alto and tenor sax.

September 8, 2019 Sunday

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Django Reinhardt and Barney Kessell

Tip of the day: There is an old debate that really comes down to semantics and certain conceptual issues about the nature of jazz. Jazz is more than improvisation. It also has characteristic elements of style, history, repertoire, idiosyncratic ensemble configurations, various performance conventions, etc. When you listen to The Vanguard Orchestra [or any big band really] you will be hearing a rhythm section that is playing accompaniment in a free, improvised fashion but the horn parts are written out. It's all jazz. You have to think of the word "jazz" in broad terms.

September 9, 2019 Monday

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Paco DeLucia and John McLaughlin

Tip of the day: When someone is playing shows, or wedding receptions, or rock gigs, etc. the majority of the time it will *not* help their jazz playing. Aspiring jazz players need to play in the jazz style as much as they can. This often means organizing and or participating in jam sessions three or four times a week if and when actual gigs are not on your schedule.

September 10, 2019 Tuesday

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Steve Herberman


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Doug MacDonald


Tip of the day: There is a certain elitism in the jazz world. Lots of players and  aficionados are very concerned with the cutting edge of the style. They want to hear the hot young players. They want to be hip to the new innovation whatever that may happen to be. I suppose jazz will always honor the innovator and that's certainly as it should be. This is perhaps one of the factors that causes jazz to appeal to a niche audience.

September 11, 2019 Wednesday

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Hiram Bullock


Tip of the day: On the other hand, if jazz suddenly became more popular it would probably be a positive thing. The recent NEA article mentioned a spike in popularity in the aftermath of the Ken Burns documentary a few years ago. Paradoxically enough that film was quite controversial among the musicians themselves. The attention the documentary brought to jazz resulted in an increased interest among the public, at least for a while. 

September 12, 2019 Thursday

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Jerry Lavene


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, 2019 Friday

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Remo Palmier


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, 2019 Saturday

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Fred Sokolow


Tip of the day: All the musicians on all the recording dates heard on my CDs were using parts that I personally prepared for the occasion. As a leader on a session I'm looking at my part not just for the sake of my own playing but to make sure the rest of the guys play what I want to hear too. Any questions they have about the music are much easier for me to answer when I have the sheet in front of me .   

September 15, 2019 Sunday

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Al Casey


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Doug Proper


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Chris Buzzelli


Tip of the day: As a sideman I have to look at lead sheets all the time. What I'm looking at is something the leader wants me to play. It might be on a gig or in a studio. It may also be in a rehearsal but rehearsals are somewhat infrequent in jazz since professional musicians expect to be paid to rehearse. In music there's really no time for the luxury of "listening to the record and using the tab". The expectation is that I should get it right the first time. As a leader I try my best to create parts that are correct and accurate.  I expect the people I hire to play the part I give them without rehearsal. I put in extra effort double checking what I've written so I won't be wasting the musicians' precious time. The standard of excellence among musical professionals is a high one. There is literally no margin of error and no room for mistakes. Any developing guitar player who aspires to this level of expertise would be well advised to concentrate on being able to read and write music in the way everybody else does. No matter how good your ears are, there is a lot of great music out there that has never been recorded. Without reading skills a player will never get near any of this stuff.  

September 16, 2019 Monday

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Earl Klugh


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Charlie Byrd


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, 2019     Tuesday

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Biddy Fleet


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

September 18, 2019 Wednesday

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Emily Remler


Tip of the day: Lots of top players greatly enjoy the transcription process and will go on with great enthusiasm about things they learned from various recordings. It's really not the drudgery it may seem to be. To me it's all about enlightenment and discovery. 

September 19, 2019 Thursday

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, 2019 Friday

John Collins


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Jackie Paris


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Eric Gale


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Bill DeArango


Tip of the day: One of the first steps in jazz is to learn via imitation. You can check out various guitar comping styles on recordings but I suggest attending performances too. This is also something that two guitarists can work on together  quite productively. Have your instructor give you a little demonstration and then take turns. He can critique your playing and give you some pertinent tips. 

September 21, 2019 Saturday

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Jerry Hahn


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Greg Clayton


Tip of the day: Every musician I've ever met has different areas of strength and weakness. Nobody is perfect. I think we all tend to rely on our strengths and to disguise or hide our weaknesses. So I advocate a balanced approach. Reading, listening, practicing, performing, singing and the study of theoretical concepts are all important and they will take the student as far as his work ethic will carry him. I also think musicians should work to make their strengths stronger and the deficits evaporate. It takes courage to address one's weaknesses. Laziness won't help matters.  

September 22, 2019 Sunday

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Perry Botkin


Tip of the day:  Adult guitar students are usually not beginners. They generally have a ton of bad habits, a poor work ethic, unrealistic expectations and insufficient time to practice the lesson material; which adds up to a formula for frustration and failure. While I have had a few adult students who have done really well, my experience in general has been that they stick with it until it dawns on them that they need to put forth regular sustained effort in order to see real progress.

September 23, 2019 Monday

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Christian Escoude


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Albert Ammons


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John Coltrane


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, 2019 Tuesday

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Bill Connors


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, 2019 Wednesday

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Ahmed Ratip


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Nelson Symonds


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, 2019 Thursday

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Vic Juris


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Ted Greene


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, 2019 Friday

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Emmet Ray

Tip of the day: What I tell my students is that they should compartmentalize their practice regimen. I think they ought to spend time reading, developing repertoire and improvising every day. Technical exercise is important too. Scales, patterns and bebop heads and solos are very helpful in this regard. 

September 28, 2019 Saturday

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George Van Eps


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, 2019 Sunday

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Dennis Sandole


Tip of the day: Every waking moment is an opportunity for learning and development. This is true even when you get bad advice , experience how something should *not* be handled, or suffer the misdeeds of some misguided soul. It is hard to overstate the value of developing the wisdom or judgment to know the difference between good advice and the "other kind". Sometimes lessons learnt "the hard way" have the greatest value. 

September 30, 2019 Monday

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Scott Fields


Tip of the day: The twenty studies of Fernando Sor that are so familiar to students of classical guitar will help the jazz player too. Mastering them will establish a certain standard of musical and technical proficiency that can be the basis for more independent development.

THE JAZZ GUITAR ALMANAC is published here in monthly installments on the first of each month. Thank you for stopping by!