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Johnny Smith Interview

Jazz Guitarist Johnny Smith Interview

As I entered into the second year of my doctoral studies at the University of Illinois, it came time to choose a topic for my dissertation. After brainstorming, deciding, reconsidering, and starting from scratch many times on a topic of research, I had a long and important conversation with my friend Marc. During that conversation…

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Bright Size Life Album Cover

Pat Metheny Biography

As a high school student, Pat Metheny (1954- ) used to sneak out of his parent’s house in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, to play gigs in the Kansas City jazz clubs. Little did he know that he would become the lead voice of the jazz guitar world for the next forty years. At an early age…

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Birds of Fire Album Cover

John McLaughlin Biography

During the British Invasion of the mid 1960s, many young guitarists were influenced by the new sounds they heard emanating from their radios and TV screens. Guitars played by Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards and Jeff Beck were taking American blues and rock music to new heights with their hard driving riffs and soaring…

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Pat Martino El Hombre Album Cover

Pat Martino Biography

While there have been many great jazz guitarists over the years, Pat Azzara, or Pat Martino (1944-) as he was later known, may be considered the jazz genre’s wunderkind. Martino began playing the guitar at a very early age, and with the encouragement of his father, an accomplished guitarist himself, pursued guitar lessons with a…

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Joe Pass Virtuoso In New York Album Cover

Joe Pass Biography

Joseph Passalaqua, better known as Joe Pass (1929-1994), is one of the most recognizable figures in the world of jazz guitar. Even today, years after his death in 1994, he is one of the most listened to and studied guitarists of any generation. His ability to meld blistering single-note lines, beautifully crafted chord solos and…

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Wes Montgomery Full House Album Cover

Wes Montgomery Biography

When most people hear the words “jazz guitar,” an image of the legendary Wes Montgomery (1925-1968) will most often pop into their heads. Though there were many great players before Wes, and many since, “The Thumb,” as he became known, has managed to remain the quintessential jazz guitarist in the public psyche. Wes never learned…

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Johnny Smith Royal Roost Album Cover

Johnny Smith Biography

Johnny Smith (1922-2013) is often considered to be the first all-around jazz guitar virtuoso. Whereas George Van Eps pushed the boundaries of chords and harmony on the guitar and Charlie Christian revolutionized single note soloing, Smith was able to master both of these approaches, as well as becoming one of the most in demand composers…

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The Genius of the Electric Guitar Album Cover

Charlie Christian Biography

If George Van Eps was the laid back father figure of early jazz guitar, then Charlie Christian (1916-1942) was the rebellious teenage son. Christian lived a hard life, starting from his musical beginnings in Oklahoma where he was forced to become a professional musician when his father was stricken blind and the three children had…

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George Van Eps My Guitar Album Cover

George Van Eps Biography

Throughout a performing and teaching career that spanned more than six decades, George Van Eps (1913-1998) was able to completely change the way guitarists of all genres viewed the instrument and its role in modern music. One of Eps’ biggest contributions to the world of jazz guitar was his use of the seven-string archtop guitar,…

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