Learn Jazz Guitar
[+] Introduction

[+] Lesson 1: Scales and Modes

[+] Lesson 2: Scale Fingerings

[+] Lesson 3: Application of Pentatonic Theory

[+] Lesson 4: Jazz Phrasing

[+] Lesson 5: Standard Jazz Chords

[+] Lesson 6: Chord Scales

[+] Special Topics

Below you will find information about some of my favorite jazz guitarists, along with some "must have" recommendations.

WES MONTGOMERY

Wes was one of the all time great jazz guitarists, whose use of octaves became his trademark.   The release of his first Riverside album The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery made him famous in the jazz world.

Montgomery's recordings can be divided into three main time periods:

  • RIVERSIDE (1959-63) - these are (in my opinion) his most amazing jazz outings, small-group sessions with such sidemen as Tommy Flanagan, Victor Feldman, Hank Jones, and Mel Rhyne.
  • VERVE (1964-66) - with the collapse of Riverside, Montgomery moved over to Verve where he recorded an interesting series of mostly orchestral pieces.
  • A&M (1067-68) - During this period with A&M recordss, Wes recorded three best-selling albums that found him playing pop melodies while backed by strings and woodwinds. His jazz fans were not too thrilled with this, but Montgomery's albums got radio play and thus helped introduce other listeners to jazz.

MUST HAVE RECORDINGS

The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery

Boss Guitar


GEORGE BENSON

George Benson is hands down one of the greatest guitarists in jazz history.  With "frightening" chops, he can play in numerous styles with a great tone, amazing sense of melody, and a remarkable ability to swing

Benson’s early recordings put him on the map in the jazz world, however the mass market didn't catch on until he began to emphasize vocals after signing with Warner Bros. in 1976. His first album for Warner Bros., Breezin', became a Top Ten hit on the strength of its sole vocal track, "This Masquerade," and this led to a string of hit albums in an R&B-flavored pop mode.

MUST HAVE RECORDINGS

It’s Uptown

Giblet Gravy

Off the Top (Jimmy Smith)

Body Talk


CHARLIE CHRISTIAN

Charlie Christian paved the way for a generation of jazz guitarists. Virtually every jazz guitarist that emerged during 1940-65 sounded like Charlie Christian. He was the first important electric guitarist, and he played his instrument with the confidence, and swing of a horn player. Sadly, he contracted tuberculosis in 1941, and died at the age of 25 in 1942. He gained national exposure as a member of the Benny Goodman Sextet and Orchestra from August 1939 to June 1941.

RECORDINGS: Although Christian never recorded professionally as a leader, compilations have been released of his sessions as a sideman where he is a featured soloist.  One such compilation is called “Solo Flight – The Genius of Charlie Christian.”


PAT MARTINO

Pat is my absolute favorite Jazz Guitarist. Pat first emerged on the jazz scene in the 1960s. He also made a remarkable comeback after brain surgery in 1980 to correct an aneurysm caused him to lose his memory and completely forget how to play. It took years, but he regained his ability, partly by listening to his older records.

Martino began playing professionally when he was 15. He worked early on with groups led by Willis Jackson, Red Holloway, and a series of organists, including Don Patterson, Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff, and Jimmy McGriff. After playing as a sideman, he started leading his own bands in mid to late 1960s . After the operation, Martino did not resume playing until 1984, making his recording comeback with 1987's The Return. Although not as active as earlier, Pat Martino has regained his earlier form, recording again for Muse and Evidence; he later signed with Blue Note, issuing All Sides Now in 1996, followed two years later by Stone Blue and in 1999 by Mission Accomplished.

MUST HAVE RECORDINGS

El Hombre

Strings!

East


JOHN SCOFIELD

Sco’ is one of the "big” modern jazz guitarists whose influence grew in the '90s. Possessor of a very distinctive rock-oriented sound that is often a bit distorted, Scofield is a masterful jazz improviser whose music generally falls somewhere between post-bop, fusion, and soul jazz.

MUST HAVE RECORDINGS

EnRoute/LIVE

Time on My Hands

Still Warm

This Meets That


MIKE STERN

Mike Stern has established himself as one of the premier jazz and jazz-fusion guitarists and composers of his generation.

MUST HAVE RECORDINGS

·      Play

·      Voices


 

PAT METHENY

One of the most original guitarists from the '80s onward (he is instantly recognizable), Pat Metheny is a chance-taking player who has gained great popularity but also taken some wild left turns. His records with the Pat Metheny Group are difficult to describe and categorize, but managed to be both accessible and original, stretching the boundaries of jazz and making Metheny famous enough so he could perform whatever type of music he wants without losing his audience.

MUST HAVE RECORDINGS

·      Still Life Talking

·      Question & Answer  


JIM HALL

 

A harmonically advanced cool-toned and subtle guitarist, Jim Hall has been an inspiration to many guitarists. 

MUST HAVE RECORDINGS

·      Any of the Quartets w/ Paul Desmond including "EASY LIVING", "GLAD TO BE UNHAPPY" and "TAKE TEN"


 

JOE PASS

Joe Pass did the near-impossible. He was able to play up-tempo versions of bop tunes such as "Cherokee" and "How High the Moon" unaccompanied on the guitar. Unlike Stanley Jordan, Pass used conventional (but superb) technique, and his Virtuoso series still sounds remarkable decades later.

MUST HAVE RECORDINGS

·      Sounds of Synanon

·      Virtuoso


 


JIMMY RANEY

Jimmy Raney was a jazz guitarist born in Louisville, Kentucky most notable for his work from 1951–1952 and 1962–1963 with Stan Getz and for his work from 1953–1954 with the Red Norvo trio, replacing Tal Farlow. He had an amazing time feel and a wonderful sense of melody.

MUST HAVE RECORDINGS

·      Wisteria

·      The Influence

 

 

 

 

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