Odds & Ends

This page is for those extra odds and ends that don't really fit anywhere else on my website.

Modern Jazz Guitar MP3 backing tracks

Some of my influences

What follows is a list of artists, both musicians and non-musicians, who have influenced and inspired me as an artist, a musician, and person. This isn't meant to be a comprehensive list, but can hopefully point someone somewhere to a new discovery that hopefully can have a positive effect on either their art, or their life (or, hopefully, both).

my influences are many; just a few include jazz musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Django Reinhardt, Charlie Christian, Lester Young, The Count Basie band, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Max Roach, Sonny Stitt, George Van Eps, Johnny Smith, Billy Bean, Clint Strong, Sarah Vaughan, Clifford Brown, Chet Baker, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Scott LaFaro, Thelonious Monk, Wes Montgomery, Grant Green, Larry Young, Joe Pass, Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Gil Evans, Ornette Coleman, Keith Jarrett, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, Jim Hall, Joe Henderson, John McLaughlin, Pat Martino, John Abercrombie, John Scofield, Ted Greene, Lenny Breau, Phillip DeGruy, Ed Bickert, Mick Goodrick, Joe Diorio, Bill Frisell, Pat Metheny, Michael Brecker, Mick Goodrick, Ralph Towner, Charlie Haden, Paul Motian, Marc Johnson, Dave Holland, Peter Erskine, Ben Monder, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Henry Threadgill, Drew Gress, Jim Black, John Stowell, Jonathan Kreisberg, Ari Hoenig, Gilad Hekselman, Brad Mehldau, David Binney, Dan Weiss, Theo Bleckmann, Adam Rogers, Andrew Hill, Chris Potter, Wayne Krantz, Oz Noy, Peter Bernstein, Lionel Loueke, Miles Okazaki, Nir Felder, Lage Lund, Mark Turner, Donny McCaslin, and many more.

I've also been heavily influenced by other styles of music, including pop/rock/blues/country/r&b artists like the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Neil Young, Nick Drake, Stevie Wonder, k.d. Lang, Emmylou Harris, Radiohead, Fleet Foxes, Allan Holdsworth, Eric Johnson, Robben Ford, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert Collins, Albert King, Hank Marvin, Steely Dan, Sting, Queen, Roy Orbison, Rush, The Who, and many others.

Classical guitarists like Segovia, John Williams, Julian Bream, Paul Galbraith, Scott Tennant, and David Russell. Classical composers like Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Mahler, Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, Ives, Copeland, and Berg (plus many others) have had a big impact on me, as well as film composers Bernard Herrman and Ennio Morricone.

As much as any music, I feel like my musical development has been influenced by books I've read(authors like Poe, Lovecraft, Tolkien, Dostoyevsky, Hemmingway, Thomas Hardy, Gunter Grass, John Irving, Theodore Sturgeon, Ray Bradbury, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez), paintings I've seen (Picasso, Bosch, Van Gogh, Monet, Matisse, Frederic Remmington, George Catlin), poems (Archibald Macleish, e.e.cummings, William Carlos Williams)comedians like Charlie Chaplin, George Carlin, Bill Hicks, and films (from filmmakers such as Hitchcock, Fellini, Sergio Leone, Martin Scorcese, Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, Sam Raimi, Darren Aronovsky, and many more).

The following are some of the old "News" sections from my home page that might still be worth reading for someone.

News from Summer '07

This summer I bought a few new books that I'm pretty excited about. The first is Melodic Improvising For Guitar by my friend Bruce Saunders. It has some great concepts, and addresses a problem common to a lot of guitar players (and probably other instrumentalists as well), being able to compose coherent melody lines through a set of chord changes. Most guitarists (myself included) are guilty at one time or another of playing one idea over one chord, another idea over the next chord, and so on. The visual/pattern aspect of our instrument makes it easy to fall into this trap. In his book, Bruce gives exercises designed to break out of those habits. I'm going to be using some of the ideas from the book this fall in my improv class at Miami/Dade. The book is available from Mel Bay, and I highly recommend it.

I also finally picked up Mick Goodrick's Almanac Of Guitar Voice Leading, volumes I and II. I consider Mick to be a huge role model; I have based much of my playing and teaching on the concepts outlined in his book The Advancing Guitarist. With these newest volumes, Mick addresses the "complete set" of all possible 3 and 4 note chords in the context of the major, melodic minor, and harmonic minor scales, and presents every possible way to move from one chord to the next using common tone voice leading. When I first saw a copy of the first volume a few years back, I was pretty befuddled by all the lists of letters and the different colored pages. But after I read and absorbed the introduction and played through some of the examples, I realized what a great and valuable resource this is. I've been working with just the triad section of book one for the last several weeks, and have already begun to see a significant impact for the better on my playing. Anyway, I highly recommend these two volumes, particularly the first one, and am looking forward to the release of volume III. To any of my students who are reading this, I'm sure you'll be seeing some of the material from these books in upcoming lessons.

For anyone who isn't familiar with Mick Goodrick's books and/or teaching, one of the most fundamental ideas he stresses is the idea of presenting the student with the nuts and bolts of how things work in music and on the guitar, and setting it up so that the student has to figure a lot of the specifics, the "method," his or her self. You won't find any "licks" in Mick's books, or any quick and easy "no nonsense" shortcuts. As my teacher Jack Petersen used to say, "music's hard and tricky." It's a huge undertaking, one that would take several lifetimes (or maybe more) to explore completely. A lot of the instructional materials I've seen show you how to do something; "play this and it'll sound good." That way of doing things does indeed often produce quick results, but at the expense of creating a firm grounding with which to build one's music on. What I love about Mick's ideas is that they tend to concentrate on the big picture more, and each person who works with them will probably produce different specific results (and maybe, just maybe, come up with their own musical voice in the process). I've also found myself many times over the years coming back to The Advancing Guitarist and rereading sections, and finding things in them, or new ways of looking at them that I'd never noticed before. Anyway, if you are merely looking for a shortcut to being able to wow people with your chops, Mick's books probably aren't for you. If, on the other hand, you want to approach the undertaking of music and playing the guitar as a long term adventure, one that's got the potential of bringing you and your audiences deep spiritual satisfaction, I can't think of a better place to start than with The Advancing Guitarist and now the Almanac Of Guitar Voice Leading.

Jazz Guitar Techniques

Jazz Improv Transcription CD

Jazz Improvisation 1

Jazz Guitar Ensemble