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  1. #1

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    My goodness, this guy is one heck of a player! Stumbled on him by accident. A Jimmy Bruno cohort from what I'm reading.





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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    my only ever jazz workshop was with him. he nearly killed that guitar. when he left the room his guitar came over to me and pleaded with me to help. 'there's nothing i can do' i said 'he's coming back right now...'

    but i did find quite quickly that i wanted him to state some of his ideas a bit more directly and with less (awe inspiring) embellishment

    like bruno he's a player whose chops i admire but whose playing i very rarely listen to

    is there an early album that stands out - anyone?

  4. #3

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    I went to a seminar / concert of his in Miami some years ago. My teacher at the time was an old friend of his.
    Jack's an amazing player. I remember him talking about his frustration at not being able to do things on the guitar that piano players do. The only books I recall him mentioning were John Mehegan's books on improvisation (which are written for piano players, but other instrumentalists use them too.)

    Jack is a phenomenal player---the concert (-just him and a bassist) knocked me out---but I rarely listen to him. I'm not sure why, but as impressive as he is, I just don't find myself wanting to hear more...

  5. #4

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    so true. he is wonderful to watch and a master player.

  6. #5

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    Jack Wilkins has been a monster for many years:

    1983:




    I recall seeing a video on YouTube of Jack when he was like 13 or something and he played better then than I do now after 35 years of studying this stuff. ISTR that he studied with Tal Farlow.

  7. #6

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    We had Jack out to our guitar society for lessons, a seminar and concert 7 or 8 years ago.... so much fun, and he can indeed, play anything and everything. So much polish, such depth and joy. Friendly, supportive and a genuinely nice person, to boot. I had more fun jamming with him, he was so open and supportive. Some people are just so relaxed and unintimidating. TDWR, definitely. Buy his stuff.

    He has a couple of instructional videos as well, on Mikesmasterclasses.com.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    I went to a seminar / concert of his in Miami some years ago. My teacher at the time was an old friend of his.
    Jack's an amazing player. I remember him talking about his frustration at not being able to do things on the guitar that piano players do. The only books I recall him mentioning were John Mehegan's books on improvisation (which are written for piano players, but other instrumentalists use them too.)

    Jack is a phenomenal player---the concert (-just him and a bassist) knocked me out---but I rarely listen to him. I'm not sure why, but as impressive as he is, I just don't find myself wanting to hear more...
    Probably for the same reason many others don't. He's another of those players who seem more interested with how many notes they can squeeze into a run, than actually having the run be representative of melodic phrasing. The guy is a master. I just don't get the need for the hyper speed where it's unnecessary and doesn't seem to fit the tune appropriately.

    I once mentioned his name to a very well known jazz player . . won't mention any names though. This guy played with Wilkins a few times. When I asked him about Wilkins, he said . . . "speed demon" . . and nothing more. I have heard Wilkins do some mind blowing melodic improvisations. So, I'm not saying he's incapable and I certainly don't mean any disrespect to such a true jazz guitar master. But .. . . . just sayin' . . . there's more to delivering an improv than just trying to show people how fast you can play. Anyway . . that's the only thing I find that's keeping me from owning Jack's recordings

  9. #8

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    The first time I heard Jack he was with Buddy Rich's band burning on Nica's Dream....whew!

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick2
    Probably for the same reason many others don't. He's another of those players who seem more interested with how many notes they can squeeze into a run, than actually having the run be representative of melodic phrasing. The guy is a master. I just don't get the need for the hyper speed where it's unnecessary and doesn't seem to fit the tune appropriately.

    I once mentioned his name to a very well known jazz player . . won't mention any names though. This guy played with Wilkins a few times. When I asked him about Wilkins, he said . . . "speed demon" . . and nothing more. I have heard Wilkins do some mind blowing melodic improvisations. So, I'm not saying he's incapable and I certainly don't mean any disrespect to such a true jazz guitar master. But .. . . . just sayin' . . . there's more to delivering an improv than just trying to show people how fast you can play. Anyway . . that's the only thing I find that's keeping me from owning Jack's recordings
    So, you know Jack's playing from YouTube?

    You should check out the stuff he did with Bob Brookmeyer. Chops...taste...total package.

  11. #10

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    is there an early album that stands out - anyone?

    Yes, there is: Merge, with Michael and Randy Brecker, from 1979? Killer version of invitation.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    So, you know Jack's playing from YouTube?

    You should check out the stuff he did with Bob Brookmeyer. Chops...taste...total package.
    No . . . I've seen Jack perform live 3 times. Got nothing but respect and admiration for him. Quite a nice man too. Very approachable. I've also heard many recording of him as well. Very tasty indeed!!

    I just have an issue with people who tend to play way too fast for no apparent reason other than . . to play fast. Heard him playing in a trio setting with Bruno and Vignola. It turned into a dick measuring contest of chops. (which Bruno won, by the way). Bruno is one of the few guys I can torerate when he's burning at hyper speeds. Because, even at hyper speeds . . he's usually saying something.

  13. #12

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    Pretty much my take is, unless the two guitar players are named "Raney," or "Ferre",I'd rather hear ANYTHING than a multiple guitar lineup.

  14. #13

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    Don't forget people like Benson, Martino, DiMeola, McLaughlin, Coryell etc.. Love to play fast. You won't ever get sleepy listening to any of those guys. Jack is one of my favorite guitarists. He is also a super nice guy and very approachable. I email him all the time with questions and he always emails me back same day. He is 71 and still has monster chops. I started losing my speed when I hit 55. I know where you are coming from Patrick. BB King summed it up best saying it is not how many notes you can play but what note you play and how and when you play it. Jack and Howard Alden play very well together as does Jack and Peter Bernstein. You are right though Patrick. Jack can only do chord melody so long before he has to belt out a blazing fast run. Just his nature. Like people that love to drive cars really fast. He has some fantastic pics on his website but you need a good hour to see them all but well worth the look.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    You should check out the stuff he did with Bob Brookmeyer. Chops...taste...total package.
    The record is "Bob Brookmeyer Small Band" a/k/a "Live at Sandy's." You might have to search twice to find more.

    I wore it out when I was a kid, partly because Michael Moore was my bass teacher at that moment. Mr. B is spot-on. This group takes a ton of chances all night long and makes every second sound easy. Equally to the point, this record is a textbook in the highly-overlooked skill of effectively arranging for a jazz quartet -- you'll hear just about every possible combination of players, all in service of deeply swinging music.

    Here ya go. Sorry if you have to suffer through an ad:


  16. #15

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    I bought that LP on vinyl when it first came out, and I loved it for all the reasons everybody mentioned.
    That's why I was surprised when a student of JW's from the NEC called me up, because Joe Maneri told him I had an old D'A, and the caller said he would 'take it off my hands for $1,000'(!).
    After putting that guy's ass in line, I asked him about the JW LP with BB, and the guy said that JW told him that the album sucked, and it wasn't a 'serious' album like the ones he made under his own name.'

    I was shocked by this comment, considering that BB and MM were two of my fave players.
    I then caught JW live three times, and then I understood where the comment was coming from...

  17. #16

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    There is a second CD of tunes from those gigs, weirdly enough released on a different label:

    http://www.amazon.com/Quartet-Bob-Br.../dp/B0009J4OHM

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgcim
    I bought {Live at Sandy's} when it first came out, and I loved it . . . . That's why I was surprised when a student of JW's from the NEC . . . said that JW told him that the album sucked, and it wasn't a 'serious' album like the ones he made under his own name.
    Jack Wilkins was the guitar teacher at New England Conservatory when I started there in 1979. I lent my buddy the "Live at Sandy's" record to get to 'know' Mr. Wilkins before he started lessons.

    My friend said that Wilkins said he "couldn't play like that anymore." It's an odd thing to say given that the record was recorded in 1978-79 and the statement was made in 1979.

    I think what Jack may have been talking about is, "Sandy's" is that only time I have heard Jack turn the guitar down and literally strum -- not chord, not walk, but strum. It's some of the most effective guitar moments on the record and it influences the way I comp on guitar.

    Ah well. Back to my cave!

  19. #18

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    Just heard Jack Wilkins at Zinc Bar.

    He got a big warm sound and played great.

    I'm wondering if anybody knows what gear he was using. The guitar was a thin one, like a 335, but it wasn't a Gibson headstock. It looked like he was going through a tiny amp, which was not mic'ed. I might be wrong about that. He might have had a line into the PA, but that speculation. Whatever he was doing, it sounded huge.

    Anybody know?

    BTW, there were three other players, Joe Cohn, Vic Juris and Mark Whitfield. All great. I especially loved Mark's comping and Vic's overall sound using some processing.

  20. #19

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    Sounded like a good night.
    They're all good, I especially like Cohn.
    First saw him w Al Grey a long time ago, he stole the show
    (Al didn't seem too happy about that)

  21. #20

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    Must have been a wonderful show! I got to hear Wilkins and Cohn a few times in the early eighties when they came to the Boston area. Amazing stuff... Pity they don't get up this way that often any more...

  22. #21

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    Jack's been playing a Comins CGS-1 for the last couple of years.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by David B
    Jack's been playing a Comins CGS-1 for the last couple of years.
    Thanks! That's the one. I took a picture of it -- and the asymmetrical headstock nails it.

    Any idea of the amp? It wasn't much bigger than a lunchbox and it wasn't mic'ed. It sounded so full, though, that I wondered if I was missing something.

    Anybody play there? Do they mic amps, run into the PA, or is it just you and your amp?

  24. #23

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    WILKINS & ALDEN CONTINUE TO AWE | Benedetto Guitars

    The link above shows a picture of the amp, but I can't identify it.

    The amp I saw at Zinc was very small (maybe a foot high, maybe 14 inches wide, 6 or 8 inches deep -- very roughly) and it had the controls on top.

    I couldn't see the maker's name. It was dark and I didn't want to go onto the stage to get close enough.

  25. #24

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    Looks like Compact 60 to me?

  26. #25

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    you nailed it hep

    from their site-

    The Compact 60 is played by the world's top professional guitarists

    The outstanding performance of the Compact 60 has won it admirers the world over. Great acoustic guitarists such the legendary Tommy Emmanuel and John Renbourn perform with the Compact 60. Among Gypsy jazz guitarists, the Compact 60 has become the choice for amplification. Stochelo Rosenberg, Romane, Bireli Lagrene, Dorado Schmitt, and so many other greats of the style use this amp.

    Although marketed as an "acoustic amp," the Compact 60 is used by many archtop jazz guitarists. Gene Bertoncini, Jack Wilkins, Russell Malone, and Martin Taylor have replaced much larger tube amps with the light weight and great sounding Compact 60!


    cheers

  27. #26

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    I was going to say either the Henriksen Bud or the Benedetto Carino 10.

    Except now I see that the photo on the Benedetto site is dated 2013 and neither of those amps were in production then. And the proportions are wrong for the Carino, anyway.

    People seem to love or hate the AER Compact 60- it's warm and fat to some ears and to others it is sterile and hi-fi.

  28. #27

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    Mimi Fox used a Compact 60 during the gigs she and I did 8 or 9 years ago.

    I have a Compact 60 and it is my go to urban amp. You can carry it for several blocks and play a large, noisy venue.

    I do not think it is the best sounding amp out there, but it is a superb work horse and the amps that sound better are not as portable.

  29. #28

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    I saw a couple today. Cost is around $1200. It looks like the amp Jack Wilkins was using. I thought it sounded awesome at the Zinc Bar. Not a big room. Nor a live room (packed with people). But, there were 4 guitars, acoustic bass and drums, so he wasn't playing quietly. As far as I could see he wasn't using anything but guitar into amp. Apparently, he was adding some reverb with the amp.

    With the Comins GLC, I thought he sounded just terrific -- and I had three other great players to compare him to. I also liked Vic Juris' sound, but he was processing it.

    I tried the first version of the Compact 60 in a store once and didn't care for it. But, apparently, there are two other versions. There is a Tommy Emmanuel version which may be #3 or may be a fourth one.

    Anybody know the differences?

  30. #29

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    I think the difference between version 1 and version 2 is the effects (version 2 has more effects) and version 3 has a different (and 4 pounds lighter) speaker.

    There is also a version that is voiced for nylon strings, a battery operated version and the Tommy Emmanuel version (pretty much a Compact 60 3 with a different DI).

    Versions 2 and 3 are also available with a solid oak cabinet instead of tolexed plywood. Mine is a solid oak version 2. At 18 pounds, it is terrific for gigs in the City.

    Hope that helps.

  31. #30

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    Wilkins "sound" comes from Wilkins, no matter what the gear is.........

    ....chasing the wrong train........

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzimprov
    Wilkins "sound" comes from Wilkins, no matter what the gear is.........

    ....chasing the wrong train........
    To a great extent a player's sound is what he wants to hear -- and finds a way to achieve no matter what the equipment.

    That said, my experience is that the gear matters too.

    So, there may not be much difference between one humbucker guitar into an amp and another, once the player has made his adjustments.

    But, otoh, getting a sound like Santana's requires a Boogie or similar circuit. Knopfler's sound probably requires a single coil guitar. Metheny's old sound requires similarly complex delay processing. I've never heard anybody come close to Wes' sound with a shorter scale guitar than an L5. Etc.

    I can get my sound out of any reasonably clean amp if I bring my ME80. In this case, what was so impressive is that Jack Wilkins got a huge sound out of a tiny amp. These days, I buy amps by weight -- and 14 lbs for that sound, well, it's remarkable.

    I was also interested in the guitar. That's because it was capable of something that a lot of even quality instruments are not -- the upper register sounded thick. Interestingly, the best guitar I ever had for that particular quality was a Korean blowout D'Angelico EXDC. That guitar was designed by Bill Comins, afaik, the same designer who did the guitar Jack Wilkins was playing that night.

  33. #32

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    I like so much of Jack's stuff and on a different day I might choose something else, but today I'm posting this......


  34. #33

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    Utmost here respect for Jack. Still tearin' it up.
    Guy on the bass in too shabby either

  35. #34

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    I've always liked Jack's playing. He's not much older than I am, but he's always been more dashing and a much better player. My envy is only minor.

  36. #35

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    Good to see some love for Jack. He's been great forever, with a resume to die for. He's a great guy, too. Everyone loves Jack the player and person...

  37. #36

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    A big favorite of mine since I heard his first LP "Merge" in 77'. A really fine solo player as well, very musical with great technical skill. A favorite solo piece of his and one that I play...I only wish I had come up with it on my own is " My Foolish Heart". I also enjoyed the LP he did with Nancy Harrow. My Foolish Heart is not on "Merge" but on "Mexico"


    Last edited by rob taft; 02-12-2020 at 08:29 PM.

  38. #37

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    His beloved L-7 with the humbucker cut in. I'd love to find that guitar for him.

  39. #38

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    Amazing player and truly fine human being. I took a lesson with him a few years ago, and had more fun playing with him than anybody I’ve studied with, because he put me at ease and was so supportive and complementary. Truly grateful for that! I wish that he was much better known. I think he must be royalty in New York City, though.

  40. #39

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    I agree, well said.

    I'm not inside the NYC Jazz scene, just an outsider and fan, so I can only relay what I hear and see when I go see his shows. With that said, i do see young and old come up to him after to talk about how much they love him and enjoyed the show. I wish he was better known as well......he's just the best.

  41. #40

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    Jack's well-known and respected---worldwide.

    Don't forget he's been around a long time, and is on many recordings besides his own that were widely distributed and praised...

  42. #41

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    Jack Wilkins playing is like watching a fish practice swimming. I've seen him a bunch of times and watched many clips, so great. This clip is one of the first ones I watched and I always come back to as it just seems to be so easy for him and is such fun for me to watch. The rhythm section is young and gets encouragement from Jack. They seem thrilled. Always puts me in a good mood.


  43. #42

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    Jack's got it ALL. Chops, taste, groove.

    His records with Bob Brookmeyer are some of the best jazz guitar ever put on tape.

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    Jack's got it ALL. Chops, taste, groove.

    His records with Bob Brookmeyer are some of the best jazz guitar ever put on tape.
    Just looked that up and listened to "Youd be so nice to come home to".
    Lordy!

  45. #44

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    One of the best jazz guitarist ever. So fluid with endless chops and tasteful phrasing.

    I do have something in common with Jack, we both took lessons from Sid Margolis - but our careers took different paths.

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMgolf66
    ....watching a fish practice swimming. I've seen him a bunch of times and watched many clips, so great. This clip is one of the first ones I watched and I always come back to as it just seems to be so easy for him and is such fun for me to watch. The rhythm section is young and gets encouragement from Jack. They seem thrilled. Always puts me in a good mood.

    Beautiful playing. Anyone know what kind of guitar he's playing? It's very seldom that you see a player using a guitar for jazz with a stop tailpiece instead of a trapeze tailpiece.


    Doug

  47. #46

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    I’m pretty sure it’s a Comins GCS-1.

  48. #47

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    GCS1-ES which is the ebony fingerboard version IIRC

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by QAman
    One of the best jazz guitarist ever. So fluid with endless chops and tasteful phrasing.

    I do have something in common with Jack, we both took lessons from Sid Margolis - but our careers took different paths.
    Yea, in the 80s when I got into jazz guitar, I purchased a Jack Wilkins album. It was OK, but I was really getting into the 'classic' guys (Wes, Tal, Barney, Joe, Jimmy, Grant, Kenny,, etc...), so I didn't really explore jazz musicians from Wilkins' generation. E.g born in 40s instead of 20s).

    But Wilkins continue to grow and grow and grow; his playing moves me just as much as those I cut my teeth on. I always find something special about an artist that makes it their life passion to master their craft.

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMgolf66
    Just looked that up and listened to "Youd be so nice to come home to".
    Lordy!
    We'll make it easy . . .



    I started studying with Michael Moore right about when this came out and wore through this record. Decades later it still shapes my straight-ahead playing.

    THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is how a quartet works in the moment to facilitate the most music. Each member of the band has completely de-coupled musical intensity from volume, utilizing the fullest dynamic range from bold to silent and creating arcs of emotional power throughout the range. Each player is constantly listening and their first question is always, "Do I really need to play at this precise moment? Would this band sound more musical if I let some other people play now?"

    What a band. Michael Moore, man!

  51. #50

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    Mr Wilkins is as much an excellent supportive human being as he is an accomplished guitarist. I have had much concern for him being in NYC during this crisis.