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  1. #1

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    How many of these guys have you heard? Or heard of?

    UK Jazz Guitar Pioneers

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I know of most of these players, met three of them and gigged with one of those three, a loooooong time ago.

    I knew Mairants in the late 60's/early 70's - he was into all sorts of playing, equally at home in classical guitar and in jazz. I bought a guitar from him in his shop in Rathbone Place, and chatted to him often. He was a polite and friendly man - I also used to see him from time to time in a pub in Soho, not far from his shop; I don't recall the name of the pub but I recall it had many photos of guitarists in it, including some of Ivor, and various posters - he was well known there, and had in fact supplied many of the photographs himself, many of which were autographed.

    Denny Wright I met in either '81 or '82 - don't remember which; a band I was in at the time supported a band he was in during one of the early Edinburgh Jazz Festivals, in one of the rooms in Meadowbank sports stadium. We chatted a while - when he and the other members of his band arrived, he sat down and watched me play then came over to talk; I had an amp at the time with the brand name 'Loco' and so had he. That's what attracted his attention first, he told me there were only 4 of them in the country at that time, and now that he'd met me, he knew the owners of all 4. The first thing he said to me when he came over was "You've completed my collection!" His was the only one I ever saw apart from my own - they were small, light and highly portable which is why both of us had them. His playing was full of life and vigour - a little messy but a lot of fun, always inventive and very engaging.

    In '83, I did a gig in that year's Edinburgh Jazz Festival with the same band as before; we had three guests playing with us, one of whom was Jim Douglas. The others were trumpeter Digby Fairweather and the trombonist Roy Williams. I remember the gig with clarity and not a little pleasure, it was lots of fun and the audience was attentive and appreciative - it was in a hotel in Stockbridge, I seem to recall. Douglas was a fine player, in the swing style; he had family in Haddington, just outside Edinburgh and was staying with them for the week of the festival; he arranged to come and sit in with us a couple of days later at our regular weekly gig in town, but sadly some family thing came up which prevented him from coming.

    I had friends in common with both Ike Isaacs and Judd Proctor, but never actually met either of them; in addition, I recall in the 60's a weekly tv show called 'On the Braden Beat' which was a kind of magazine show which broadcast on Sunday evenings - they had a resident jazz quartet which featured Dave Goldberg on guitar. Goldberg was an extremely accomplished player, sadly under-recorded. He died far too young, he had a lot to offer. He played with the cream of British jazzers of the day and played some concerts with Benny Golson. Here he is in a big band setting, with, among others, the sax player Tubby Hayes, who remains to this day one of the best jazz musicians the UK has ever produced.

    Last edited by reventlov; 12-30-2017 at 08:32 PM.
    Spiderman needs no fancy suit or gadgets plus he's a jazz guitar fan

  4. #3

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    Great post. I've already seen that video a few times, as I'm a fan of old Tubby. My dad had two LPs when I was a kid, one was Tubby with piano, bass and drums, the other was of Lester Young. They both remain my favourite jazz players. My dad played sax too, but not in Edinburgh - we lived in Dundee.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    Great post. I've already seen that video a few times, as I'm a fan of old Tubby. My dad had two LPs when I was a kid, one was Tubby with piano, bass and drums, the other was of Lester Young. They both remain my favourite jazz players. My dad played sax too, but not in Edinburgh - we lived in Dundee.
    Ditto Rob,
    I used to see & hear Tubby Hayes at least once a week in my youth, at the Flamingo in
    Wardour Street. He was one of our finest ever Jazz musicians. I note in the clip that
    Jimmy Deuchar tpt, was in the band led by Benny Golson. Did I spot Keith Christie
    on trombone also.? Megastars in my youth. I met Ivor Mairants and Ike Isaacs several
    times. both were absolute gentlemen. Dave Goldberg (Gtr) was pals with my eventual
    tutor Cedric West, many years hence. Happy times.

  6. #5

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    interesting early 60's uk flick by the great director basil dearden...all night long...a shakespearean tale reworked in a modern jazz setting..with our favorite prisoner-patrick mcgoohan- (who was a drummer)

    lots of great players throughout..inc tubby, johnny dankworth, barry morgan etc..and guest shots by brubeck and mingus!




    cheers

  7. #6

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    That's a mad clip!

    Alan, you heard Tubby Hayes live once a week? My, that must have been something.

    They're all just names to me, never met any of them. I have a memory of seeing Ivor Mairants in his shop, but I'm not sure if I'm imagining it - it was so long ago.

  8. #7

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    I've just seen this on Amazon: Seven Tubby Hayes CDs for £13. Quite a bargain.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by silverfoxx View Post
    I note in the clip that
    Jimmy Deuchar tpt, was in the band led by Benny Golson.
    I don't know how I managed to miss that - I played several gigs with Jimmy in the mid 80s. He had, for a few months in '85, a big band gig in Edinburgh on a Friday evening. I had a trio at the time, guitar, bass and drums; Jimmy turned up one night and asked for a sit-in - he played his socks off, he just flew. It turned out that he was living in Dundee at the time, and the bar where we played was literally next door to the station where Jimmy's train to Edinburgh stopped. Our gig started at 8pm and his didn't start until 10.30, so it was decided that he would join us for our first set before going on to his big band engagement. This arrangement carried on for three months or so until he got a better paid gig with the BBC Radio Orchestra in Glasgow. He was a superb player and generous with his advice and encouragement - I learned a huge amount from him. He also had some great stories of the London scene, most of which I wouldn't repeat in polite company.....
    Spiderman needs no fancy suit or gadgets plus he's a jazz guitar fan

  10. #9

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  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    You should write your memoirs...
    I think I just did Rob, that's pretty much it
    Spiderman needs no fancy suit or gadgets plus he's a jazz guitar fan

  12. #11

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    no guitar..but one of my faves ever...from around that period

    stan tracey..with great saxman bobby wellins--Jazz Suite Inspired by Dylan Thomas's "Under Milk Wood"

    rip both stan and wellins




    cheers

  13. #12

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    Last heard that about a decade ago. Wonderful.

  14. #13

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    To continue in this vein, if I may, I recall too being in the Florida Club Leicester Square London
    and witnessed a stunning performance by Victor Feldman(rip) on Piano.Vibes and Drums,
    also present were Dave Goldberg on Guitar,as well as the usual suspects. Ronnie Scott,
    etc., Victor performed Midnight Sun on Vibes, the crowd listened in silence to this remarkable
    rendition. Vic moved to America , even playing with Steely Dan much later on.

    The Balloon burst in the Sixties with the Pop Boom.
    Last edited by silverfoxx; 12-31-2017 at 04:32 PM.

  15. #14

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    Seems to have been a great time for jazz in the UK, not only gigs but TV as well. Some great performances on YouTube from the black and white into early colour periods, with a lot of experimental large ensemble works. All gone from Tv now, sadly.

  16. #15

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    Ike Isaacs gets only a short mention but he was an important figure on the guitar scene. Ike worked with Stephane Grappelli, wrote many guitar books and articles and was both father figure and teacher to many players in Australia (he moved here to Sydney in 1981) and back in Britain. I believe both John McLaughlin and Martin Taylor took guitar lessons with Ike.

  17. #16

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    Martin readily acknowledges his debt to Ike, and has played with him many times.

  18. #17

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  19. #18

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    How about Frank Evans?

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    Great post. I've already seen that video a few times, as I'm a fan of old Tubby. My dad had two LPs when I was a kid, one was Tubby with piano, bass and drums, the other was of Lester Young. They both remain my favourite jazz players. My dad played sax too, but not in Edinburgh - we lived in Dundee.
    The Tubby Hayes biography 'The Long Shadow of the Little Giant' by Simon Spillett is a great read, as is the Joe Harriott biography 'Fire In His Soul'. They both died grossly under-valued.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by rob taft View Post
    How about Frank Evans?
    I’ve got Frank Evans’ book of solo guitar arrangements, it’s good stuff.

  22. #21

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    Also worth a mention outside the big three (JM,MT,AH): Terry Smith, Chris Spedding, Dave Cliff, Phil Lee, Gary Boyle, Brian Godding, Fred Frith, Kenny Shaw, Ed Speight, Bernie Holland and (not British, but active in Britain) Amancio D'Silva.

  23. #22

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    I've got Tubby's biography on order, plus the seven CDs for £13 I mentioned earlier. January will be dedicated to him.

    I remember Fred Frith from the 1970s, and also (not mentioned above) Derek Bailey ( Homage To Derek Bailey – ArchtopGuitar.net )

    I also remember Gary Boyle from Isotope, again back in the 70s. What a great player he was, and what a great group they were - I had their first album at the time. I'll need to research some of the others.

    The Big Three will be remembered for many a century.

  24. #23

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    Great writeup on Frank Evans here, with some scores: Frank Evans | Gypsy Jazz UK

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by bleakanddivine View Post
    Also worth a mention outside the big three (JM,MT,AH): Terry Smith, Chris Spedding, Dave Cliff, Phil Lee, Gary Boyle, Brian Godding, Fred Frith, Kenny Shaw, Ed Speight, Bernie Holland and (not British, but active in Britain) Amancio D'Silva.
    Brian Godding is a new name to me but I've heard all of the others, some fine players on that list. Also, I've had some online contact with Bernie Holland; in fact, Bernie has posted a number of times on this forum, although I've not seen anything from him recently. Apart from his many other accomplishments, he wrote a tune called 'Diamond Dust' which was recorded by Jeff Beck on his 'Blow by Blow' album. Here's Bernie's own version of the tune -

    Spiderman needs no fancy suit or gadgets plus he's a jazz guitar fan

  26. #25

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    ....and here's Bernie Holland once again, taking a solo in a performance by Long John Baldry, a UK based blues singer.

    Spiderman needs no fancy suit or gadgets plus he's a jazz guitar fan

  27. #26

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    from wales, brian godding was a very fine toned jazz rock fusion player...very early on...was part of the georgio gomelsky produced brian auger/julie driscoll scene...later played for keith tippett and mike westbrook as well...firey player, especially for that time...ala ollie halsall and alan holdsworth

    cheers

  28. #27

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    Thanks for the info

    Ollie Halsall.....now there was a player...... I saw him often with Patto during my London years, in the Torrington in Fulham, and in the Marquee. He was a very special player indeed; he had everything he needed to become a huge name in guitar playing except the breaks. He died tragically young - what a talent. Fortunately, he recorded quite a lot, in a variety of different bands - he was more rock than jazz in his playing, although the jazz influence was strong. For anyone following this thread who isn't familiar with his playing, here he is with Patto, free-forming over a loose rhythmic structure with bass and drums.......ridiculous to think that when this was recorded, he had only been playing guitar for three or four years.......

    Spiderman needs no fancy suit or gadgets plus he's a jazz guitar fan

  29. #28

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    He certainly had his own voice. Fine player indeed.

  30. #29

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    I enjoyed your post. To be honest I'm not familiar with most of those guys...

    Love that Bernie Holland piece though.

    Of course Martin Taylor, John McLaughlin and Allan Holdsworth...
    Last edited by Doctor Jeff; 01-01-2018 at 12:41 PM.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by reventlov View Post
    Thanks for the info

    Ollie Halsall.....now there was a player...... I saw him often with Patto during my London years, in the Torrington in Fulham, and in the Marquee. He was a very special player indeed; he had everything he needed to become a huge name in guitar playing except the breaks. He died tragically young - what a talent. Fortunately, he recorded quite a lot, in a variety of different bands - he was more rock than jazz in his playing, although the jazz influence was strong. For anyone following this thread who isn't familiar with his playing, here he is with Patto, free-forming over a loose rhythmic structure with bass and drums.......ridiculous to think that when this was recorded, he had only been playing guitar for three or four years.......

    ollie started out playing vibes!!..he was a tremendous player..and a real musical utility man..played bass, sang, (he did the "mccartney" vocal parts in the rutles) etc etc..had the pleasure of seeing him perform a few times, and hung with him on 48th st manhattans guitar row one day...humble but incredible fluid player

    rip ollie

    cheers

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff View Post

    And I will take my answer off the air...
    No disrespect, Jeff, but please do. I'd rather keep this thread focussed on its subject.

  33. #32

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    I’ve also got a book by Eric Kershaw (Dance Band Chords). Some info about him here:

    Eric Kershaw | Gypsy Jazz UK

  34. #33

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    Rob.
    I don't know if there is an anecdote in Tubby's bio.but it might amuse you to
    know that at age 14 he asked Ronnie Scott if he could sit in? Ronnie apparently
    condescendingly allowed him on the stand, to be blown away ( no pun intended)
    by Tubby's remarkable ability.
    Incidentally, he started out on the violin I believe, also accomplished on Flute, all of
    the saxes, took up vibraphone and in a year was a tour de force. Very sad we lost
    him at a young age.
    Last edited by silverfoxx; 01-01-2018 at 06:54 AM. Reason: Misspelling

  35. #34

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    Well, I'm not surprised. If he was an American, I dare say he would be one of the greatest and biggest names in jazz.

  36. #35

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    I have Frank Evans vinyl album from 1976 called Noctuary. All solo pieces arranged by Frank, who set up his own record label to release it.

  37. #36

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    Ivor Mairants book.
    Attached Images Attached Images UK's Jazz Guitar Pioneers-scan354-jpg 

  38. #37

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  39. #38

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  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    Well, I'm not surprised. If he was an American, I dare say he would be one of the greatest and biggest names in jazz.
    Possibly, but one of the crticisms of that last generation of players - Tubby Hayes, Ronnie Scott, Jimmy Deuchar, Jimmy Skidmore, Tommy Whittle, Johnny Dankworth, Peter King, Bobby Wellins, etc was that they were only ever copying the American music. Quite naturally, as after all they had jumped on the cruise ships for a chance to go and see them play in the flesh, and the imported American recordings were revered as source material. It wasn't until after the 50s that British jazz players broke away from the imitation game, started looking at home-grown influences, developed their own free jazz and jazz-rock varieties of a different strain from the US and gave British jazz its own identity and leading players - like Joe Harriott, Ian Carr, Don Rendell, John Surman, Mike Westbrook, Michael Garrick, Kenny Wheeler, Graham Collier, Chris McGregor, Frank Ricotti, Keith Tippett, Henry Lowther, Alan Skidmore, John Stevens, Norma Winstone, Gordon Beck, etc. These were the pioneers of British jazz.

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    Some guitarists!
    Jim Dale!! Oooh Matron.

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by reventlov View Post
    ....and here's Bernie Holland once again, taking a solo in a performance by Long John Baldry, a UK based blues singer.
    A drummer friend of mine has been rehearsing a trio with Bernie recently, doing some of his tunes. In fact I think they may have just done a NYE gig at a local wine bar with Eric Reese.

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by DerekD View Post
    I have Frank Evans vinyl album from 1976 called Noctuary. All solo pieces arranged by Frank, who set up his own record label to release it.
    Award for witty album title - 'Frank Evans...For Little Girls', though perhaps a bit more questionable nowadays than it was back in 1979.

  44. #43

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    I’m kind of ashamed to say I hadn’t heard of any of the guitarists on your initial link Rob.

    Some great clips. Nice to see the clip of Ike Isaacs, it’s the best/longest clip I’ve seen of him. Looks like he’s playing Martin Taylor’s old Yamaha AE1200S (a great guitar, I owned one a while back). The only other clip I’ve seen of Ike he was playing his Aria signature model, I have one, a 15 inch solid top with his name on the end of the fretboard like the Herb Ellis model; apparently he wanted a small guitar to suit his physique.

    I hadn’t heard of most of the guitarists on Grahambop’s Hofner poster either, so I can see this thread is going to be an education for me!
    "Really welding was my talent, I think, but I sort of swished it aside." Wes

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by bleakanddivine View Post
    Possibly, but one of the crticisms of that last generation of players.
    Interesting post, and hard to argue against. When I started this thread I was more concerned with guitar players, those who played jazz to a high standard here. I wasn't necessarily thinking of who were the innovators, the catalysts in creating a unique form of jazz, based in the UK. But then the discussion quickly moved away from guitarists into all players of jazz, irrespective of instrument. And then from pioneers into innovators. So, through no one's fault, things have become somewhat confused.

    I agree that most of the post 50s names you mention were instrumental, as it were, in creating a separate British Jazz scene, but I'd argue that they couldn't have done so without the pioneering work of those who came before them.

    Gary Boyle said in an interview that Motown were their distributors in the States, and when he was there he (or someone in the band) saw Michael Jackson with a copy of Illusion. When asked why he had it, Jackson answered that he liked the British fusion sound, as it was different from the US sound.

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by sunnysideup View Post
    I’m kind of ashamed to say I hadn’t heard of any of the guitarists on your initial link Rob...

    I hadn’t heard of most of the guitarists on Grahambop’s Hofner poster either, so I can see this thread is going to be an education for me!
    Don't worry, it's an education in parts for me too. That's why I started the thread. Glad you're interested!

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by bleakanddivine View Post
    Possibly, but one of the crticisms of that last generation of players - Tubby Hayes, Ronnie Scott, Jimmy Deuchar, Jimmy Skidmore, Tommy Whittle, Johnny Dankworth, Peter King, Bobby Wellins, etc was that they were only ever copying the American music. Quite naturally, as after all they had jumped on the cruise ships for a chance to go and see them play in the flesh, and the imported American recordings were revered as source material. It wasn't until after the 50s that British jazz players broke away from the imitation game, started looking at home-grown influences, developed their own free jazz and jazz-rock varieties of a different strain from the US and gave British jazz its own identity and leading players - like Joe Harriott, Ian Carr, Don Rendell, John Surman, Mike Westbrook, Michael Garrick, Kenny Wheeler, Graham Collier, Chris McGregor, Frank Ricotti, Keith Tippett, Henry Lowther, Alan Skidmore, John Stevens, Norma Winstone, Gordon Beck, etc. These were the pioneers of British jazz.
    I don't think that the word 'criticisms' is appropriate for players like Tubby Hayes, and composer/arranger/wind players like Johnny Dankworth.
    IMHO they were more than just copiers of US music; they had their own recognizable styles and were better than most musicians from any country.
    Just because they didn't play free jazz and jazz-rock shouldn't mean they were just imitators.

    One of my fave UK jazz guitarists, Terry Smith, who could play both jazz-rock and mainstream jazz equally well, was quoted in the John McLaughlin bio, Bathed in Lightning, as saying that most of the free jazz players in the UK were pretty much incompetent mainstream jazz players.

    In the same book, the bass player in the Mahavishnu Orchestra said that he didn't even consider JM a jazz guitarist, in the sense that Jim Hall or Wes were.
    You might as well criticize every jazz player other than Louis Armstrong, John Coltrane or Charlie Parker for being just imitators.

  48. #47

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    No one's mentioned Jim Mullen yet. Pioneer or innovator? Maybe not but instantly recognisable and an incredible guitarist/musician. Here's Jim being equally playful and fiery over rhythm changes:


  49. #48

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  50. #49

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    Oh I thought “pioneers” was up to and including the 50’s, or even earlier – the dance band era, music hall…
    but if we’re including 60’s and 70’s guitarists working in the mainstream of jazz at that time (ie not fusion) … then Louis Stewart – his mastery of the bop idiom is absolutely second to none.

    Louis was Irish not British of course, but he was active around London from the 70's (and possibly earlier), working with Ronnie Scott and Tubby Hayes, and active right up to his death in 2016.

    Jame Holroyd has a few good clips in a similar vein...

    4 Great British Jazz Guitarists You Need To Know About - JamieHolroydGuitar.com - Jamie Holroyd Guitar
    "Really welding was my talent, I think, but I sort of swished it aside." Wes

  51. #50

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    Yes, we've quickly moved from guitar pioneers, to all-instrument pioneers, to innovators, to anyone who is really good at playing jazz. I did intend the focus to be on pioneers, but have enjoyed the discussion nonetheless.

    Louis Stewart, of course. Major talent.