My article providing practical insights into the music and playing of the late, great Allan Holdsworth is now available for public free consumption on MusicRadar (including notation & audio). A teaser below.
Engaging directly with time-feel and micro-timing on the electric guitar with specific exercises and style studies. This is for many levels of player who wants to draw focus to the elements of groove which are often excluded, glossed over or mythologized in the learning process.
A live video presentation at the fantastic 21st Century Guitar Conference “in” Lisbon, March 2021, hosted by the wonderful Amy Brandon and Rita Torres. ‘Digital Self-Sabotage’ explores we guitarists’ deep and twisted engagement with the fretboard, and how technology can expand and disrupt this bond for learning and insight.
Soundboard Scholar (No.6) features my paper. “Monitored Freedom: Swing Rhythm in the Jazz Arrangements of Roland Dyens” examines the time-feel in the performances and scores of Roland Dyens, in particular reference to his arrangement of Nuages – and Django’s performances of this piece. Working with the genius Jonathan Leathwood is always a privilege and joy, and I am very grateful that my illustration is used as the cover image to the journal. Available here.
A pleasure to indulge in full-tilt nerdery about micro-timing with the annoyingly talented and annoyingly nice hosts of The Guitar Hour Podcast. \m/ \m/
Looking forward to joining the great team of Justin Sandercoe, Bridget, Jon Bishop, Steve Allsworth at the tuition clinics at the UK Guitar Show 29-30 September 2018 at the Olympia Exhibition Centre. I’ll be doing two fun sessions:
Uncaging Rhythm Guitar (29/9/18 1.30-2pm)
Jazz Guitar for Mortals (30/9/18 12.30-1pm)
Full details below
Very satisfying to receive this series of books from OUP at long last. Very pretty looking academic books, if you can believe that. My chapter with Eugene looks quite cool including all those brain bending Coltrane Cubes, M-Space and improvisational fields.
For Guitar Techniques Issue 240, I’ve penned a little thing about different approaches to playing over a simple blues progression. THIS WAS SUCH A CONFUSING THING FOR ME TO LEARN GROWING UP. Why? Because
1) There are several effective approaches, and humans being humans can only give advice on what they know. I received conflicting advice from different great players on what to do, leaving me befuddled.
2) Blues playing can be both very simple and intuitive, and hugely complex. Learning to use both intuitive flair and theoretical sophistical takes time (not that I’m done, far from it).
This article to which I owe much to Jason Sidwell for the underlying themes offers 4 different approaches to playing on a 12-bar, 3 chord progression. I found it very useful, I hope you might too.
Molto excited to be running a Jazz guitar course (with Bridget running the parallel Classical guitar course) in the stunning Palazzo Mannocchi in the Marche region of Italy 15-22 August 2015 with Helicon Arts. Italian food and wine, terraces, gorgeous views, 2 swimming pools, all food and trips catered and lots and lots of extended chords, guide-tome lines and tasteful phrasing.
Martino Unstrung (2008 Sixteen Films) – for which I was honoured to compose the music – is now available to view online.
In 1980 Pat Martino moved his belongings from California to Philadelphia to live with two complete strangers: his parents. As a young jazz guitar virtuoso he had achieved near legendary status during the 60s and 70s, before being diagnosed with a life-threatening brain condition. Surgery had saved his life but wiped his memory. Back in his childhood home, surrounded by the relics of his former life, his father played him his old recordings at full volume and friends rallied to try to coax him back to being the great artist he had been. He could not dispute the evidence; the face in the mirror was the same as the one on the record sleeves but it meant nothing to him. Amnesia had ripped selfhood from his brain and rendered his life meaningless. He was nobody.
Director Ian Knox and Neuropsycologist Paul Broks travel America in search of the soul of the legendary jazz guitar great Pat Martino, tracing his remarkable return from the depths of amnesia to the peak of artistic achievement. FEATURING: CARLOS SANTANA, PETE TOWNSHEND, LES PAUL, JOE PESCI, JOHN PATITUCCI, RED HOLLOWAY, DELMAR BROWN.
Out of nowhere (well somewhere obviously) I’ve been asked to step in the guitar shoes with The Spike Orchestra. I’ve not heard of these people before, but I’m glad I have a quick listen reveals a sophisticated, witty, complex and satisfying original blend of Naked City, cartoon composer Carl Stalling, Kenny Wheelery contemporary jazz, rock and something unnameable. My first concert with them will be Sept 13th 2013 at the Forge, Kingston and I can’t wait to get stuck into/get roasted by the spaghetti charts.
“Perhaps the best documentary about a jazz musician ever made” – Victor L. Schermer All About Jazz – read full review and interviews here.
Jazz Guitar Instructional DVD published by the good folk of Future Publishing
In their words…
From the makers of Guitar Techniques this magazine and DVD package is especially for guitarists that can play from lower to upper intermediate level. It’s for those that want to strike out on the path to jazz – or who simply fancy adding some cool jazz chords or some juicy jazzy licks to their current arsenal of chops.
- To get you started, the most useful chords and scales you can use in jazz
- Jazz rhythm styles; now you’ve learn some cool jazz chords, do some comping (accompaniment) with them!
- Learn some great lead jazz guitar licks
- Playalong tunes:
- Bossa Nova – in the style of Antonio Carlos Jobim, Joao Gilberto and Charlie Byrd
- Jazz-Blues – in the style of Barney Kessel, Kenny Burrell and Herb Ellis
- Jazz-Funk – reminiscent of George Benson and Grant Green
- Ballad – inspired by accompanists Joe Pass and Herb Ellis
- Rhythm Changes – essential jazz progression first used by George Gershwin
Here’s a video of the presentation at the British Library on March 12th 2012. In preparation for the lecture I was put in an MRI machine with a plastic fretboard (aka ruler) and improvised while UCL neuroscientist Dr. Joern Diedrichsen examined my brain’s working. For the event I performed to a video of my brain activity showing what bits lit up (technical) during improvisation.
On musical learning and Pat Martino.
And my brain on jazz.
Monday 23rd January 8pm, King’s Place. The fabulous Living Room In London Ensemble with Manu Delago of Björk fame, perform a great concert – including a London Premiere of new piece ‘The Escher Café’ blending classical, jazz and live electronics. http://www.kingsplace.co.uk/whats-on-book-tickets/music/manu-delago-living-room-in-london?tid=16
Following on from the challenge in the last post – developing ii-V-I vocabulary all over the fingerboard – the following study takes a similar approach for minor ii-V-i patterns, for example Dm7(b5) – G7alt – Cm7. This will greatly enhance useful vocabulary. Furthermore all of the G7alt material may be readily used in a major ii-V context, and as ever these ideas can be broken up, restructured, shuffled, edited, sequenced and recombined for further editing. As a child I preferred Lego and Meccano to Playmobile and ActionMan. This is because with Lego and Meccano’s smaller and endlessly interconnectable units far more was possible, and the creative imagination had far freer scope; and partly because my ActionMan had missing fingers and only one of his eagle eyes moved.
One should adopt a Lego approach here, but just make sure you put them away when you’re finished.