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  1. #1

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    Frank Portolese is a new name to me - sounds great:


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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    He plays with a pick, but why do I feel like I'm listening to a Classical guitarist?

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    He plays with a pick, but why do I feel like I'm listening to a Classical guitarist?
    Because that's exactly what "plectrum guitar" was intended to be?
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  5. #4

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    I'm still on my "pick only" challenge--so listening to this is some nice inspiration.

    Jim Hall played some of his Bossas with a plectrum--you know what, I tried it.

    It's hard to get that same intimacy that you an get with fingers on bossas, but I still like it. You end up thinking like a drummer using brushes on the snare--I'm enjoying the challenge so far and learning a lot.

    Bucky Pizz has a pick only album and I think Howard Alden's "No Amps Allow" was played plectrum only. I'd have to ask.


  6. #5

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    powerful stylist..but lacks the gris gris gumbo ya-ya to be callin it- new orleans


    more to the point...



    cheers

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Because that's exactly what "plectrum guitar" was intended to be?
    It was a rhetorical question. I know exactly why.

    I'm calling for a moratorium on rubato in solo jazz guitar. Sign up the petition.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    It was a rhetorical question. I know exactly why.

    I'm calling for a moratorium on rubato in solo jazz guitar. Sign up the petition.
    Andy Brown might actually agree with you.

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic View Post
    powerful stylist..but lacks the gris gris gumbo ya-ya to be callin it- New Orleans
    He didn’t call it that himself - it’s a Hoagy Carmichael tune.


  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    It was a rhetorical question. I know exactly why.

    I'm calling for a moratorium on rubato in solo jazz guitar. Sign up the petition.
    Ok I know you hate rubato, although I think it worked perfectly on that tune.

    Try this one, it’s more swingin’ :


  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    I'm still on my "pick only" challenge--so listening to this is some nice inspiration.
    I like both approaches (pick only, or fingerstyle), they both have pros and cons so these days I try to do both.

    By the way the whole of Frank’s album is on YouTube. He posted it on a Facebook group (that’s how I discovered it) so I assume it’s legit:

    Plectrum Jazz Guitar Solos - YouTube

  12. #11

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    Plectrum solo guitar is a thing I've been working on for the last year (in fact, I have my first solo gig tonight). There is plenty of music available in all sorts of style. Our own Rob McKillop has recorded a lot of tunes, and I learned a lot from him. Julian Lage and Bill Frisell are both points of reference. And of course, there is the brilliant Monk for solo guitar by Miles Okazaki.

    Having said that, and coming from a classical background, I find plectrum on nylon strings problematic - often, the attack is too hard and the tone less than pleasing. Frank Portolese sounds quite good over my telephone headphone, though, except when he's digging in too hard. I should give my nylon string another try.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    Ok I know you hate rubato, although I think it worked perfectly on that tune.

    Try this one, it’s more swingin’ :

    This is better. I wish he wasnt trying to go for that 'virtuoso' vibe as much, just focus on swingin, but it maybe his Classical or Flamenco background speaking.

    I dont hate the rubato, i hate the abuse of it. It has its place, but man...

    Only Jonathan Stout gets it for me in solo jazz guitar. You gotta be a band player first and foremost to do it right. Those who 'specialize' in solo I find usually lack the solid swing feel. They ephasize different things. And thats cool, but not for me.

  14. #13

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    Found this interview which gives some info about Frank:

    http://www.vintagearchtop.com/pdfs/f...ew_02-2012.pdf
    Fascinating, thanks! I always love to read those stories, makes you understand one's music a little better.

    The interviewer seemed to be shocked sight-reading wasn't a top priority for a jazz musician who wanted to play standards. lol What universe he's from?

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post

    The interviewer seemed to be shocked sight-reading wasn't a top priority for a jazz musician who wanted to play standards. lol What universe he's from?
    LOL. Correct. Nice to see Frank really talk about studying with Jack. As the article noted, Frank studied with Jack for five years, 1975-1980. Jack in his playing career was a master jazz and classical musician (I got to meet Oscar Ghiglia through Jack). Not many of those around. Maybe the only other true "jazz and classical" master was Joe Fava, who was apparently known as "Mr. Guitar" in Detroit (among Fava's students: Kenny Burrell, Scott Tennant, and Earl Kugh). You know who also asked to study with Jack? George Benson. You know who told him that he always wanted to study with him? Joe Diorio. That's all you need to really know about Jack.

    Regarding the sight reading--the interesting thing was that Jack was the first choice studio guitarist in Chicago in the 1950s and 1960s because his sight reading skills were straight out the best in the business.
    But given that Jack is as good of an educator as he was as a player, I took note of the advice he gave Frank, as noted in the article, about learning jazz:

    "He asked me what I wanted to do. I said I want to make a living making music. He said, 'learn tunes'.

    As Frank noted in the article, "there are priorities and then there are PRIORITIES". "What he did was show me how rhythm works. He showed me how to recognize time. Jazz musicians understand sound and jazz musicians understand time. I suppose Jack chose the thing that was the higher priority.".

    Exactly 100% right. Jack knows his shit. Conversely, Jack was the one who convinced Jimmy Wyble that, if he really wanted to get the two line improvised counterpoint right, Jimmy had to really sit down and seriously study the classical guitar right hand technique.

    But, as Frank infers in that article, this is a percussive music based on syncopation. As Dizzy said, "I fill my bar lines up with rhythms. I was re-watching the Mike Longo master class and looking for my frame drum again, can you tell ?
    Navdeep Singh.

  17. #16

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    from what I've been reading, I think he is playing a Bill Barker arch top rather than a nylon string guitar.

    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  18. #17
    It never sounded like nylon string to me, not sure why anyone thought it was.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    It never sounded like nylon string to me, not sure why anyone thought it was.
    I did, probably because someone said it sounded like classical music to him. PC headphones aren‘t exactly hi-fi as far as I‘m concerned. But from the first tunes I heard, I was pretty sure it was nylon. Anyway, not all of his recordings sound the same, so we may both be right.


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  20. #19

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    Frank is a great player, and I have great respect for him. I was a student of his for about a year and a half before he retired. He did always play that Barker, which was one of the better sounding instruments I have ever had the chance to play. I believe Frank had said that the whole album was done with the Barker, but it was recorded with two different mic setups. So that is why some tracks sound slightly different than others.

  21. #20

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    I first met Frank at a little bar in Chicago called the Get Me High Lounge. Really cool place. The had jam sessions Monday's and Wednesdays if I recall. I think the band that was playing was Mike Finnerty and the Heat Merchants. Frank was sitting in on bass. I had know idea who this guy was.

    I brought some kind of L5 and a monstrously heavy Mesa-Boogie 50 watt amp.

    I had little to no lessons ever and just thought I could go and pull my dick out and everyone would be impressed. I was really into jazz though.

    Finally I go up and as you can guess, I was an absolute disaster. Being bad and having stage fright are two of the worst things. I also learned just how much a person can sweat due to embarresment.

    After a couple of songs, the band needed fortification, probably because of me. Frank comes over to me and asks if he could check out my guitar, which I obliged. Thinking what could this bass player do that could possibly make me feel worse. And then it happened. There were the chops, knowing the tune, tempo, key, music!

    He played a couple of tunes on my guitar. Handed it back and thanked me. I left the bar with my stuff, got to my car and threw up, splattering my guitar case, amp, and poop filled pants.

    I was there and then that I decided to take some lessons. I studied with Jack Cecchini for 6 years. Frank, it turns out, was one of Jack's star students! I knew I was in the right hands.

    The funny thing was, the first lesson I had with Jack, I told him I just wanted him to show me how to play Joe Pass stuff, and I don't want to do all that theory crap.

    He looked at me for a second, pulled out a blank piece of music paper and said "The lines are Every Good Boy Does Fine" and the spaces are FACE.

    OK. I get it. What an As*HOle I was. So he started me at the beginning.

    Six years later, I am much better than I was but still suck. Before I got married and dealing with house renovations and life, I was able to practice 5-7 hours day!!! There was actually a time for a short while where I would pick up that guitar and it seemed to play itself!

    Sadly, my playing tailed off. Jack always said that practicing is like exercise. I f you stop for a while, your body lets you know. With music, if you miss a few days or more, it's much harder to get back. He's right.

    My brother took some private guitar lessons with Frank for a while.

    So that's my long winded FP story. I still have stage fright to this day......

    Jonathan