The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
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  1. #26

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    My dad was a jazz guitarist/studio player in the early 60's through about 1972. He got me started and I bought Joe Passes Virtuoso album in about 1974. All I remember was he has all this stuff going on at once. I was just starting out at 12 years old and this hit me. I still remember sitting in the back of grandmother's house listening to the recording over and over try to figure out what was going on.

    It was way above me and to this day I still like that recording as my favorite solo jazz guitar recording. I then listen to Johnny Smith, Kenny Burrell, and Barney. But listening to Joe in the back room at grandma's was like listening to the Gospel of Jazz guitar. He used his fingers, the pick, the pick and fingers, and even some of it was recorded direct acoustic-like. I think that was by mistake but it worked.


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #27

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    my first exposure was the Eddie Lang/Joe Venuti Django/Grappelli records my friends sister gave him when we were in high school, I hadn't even taken up the guitar yet.. but what really did it was shortly after staying overnight at a friends house after a New Years Eve party, waking up the next day and going through his roomate's record collection. I found Wes Montgomery's A Day In The Life lp and that was it, mind blown!

  4. #28

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    My first jazz album was Brubeck at Newport 1958 and I fell in love with jazz from the first needle drop. But Tony Mottola was the first guitar player to get me really interested in the instrument. I saw him when my parents were watching Perry Como’s TV show about the same time I got my first guitar (fall 1955) and loved watching & hearing him. I discovered Lawrence Welk’s guitarists (Neil LaVang and Buddy Merrill) on TV the same way around the same time, although I hated most of the music. And James Burton was the first guitarist to hook me on bluesy rock, courtesy of Ozzie & Harriet. So TV was the gateway.

    From there, I started buying jazz and blues records and listening to all the music I could find on radio - and the die was cast.

  5. #29

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    My dad used to play
    Basie big band albums
    really loud on sunday mornings !

    Swinging !

    oh yeah and I remember another one
    that hit me pretty hard

    Listening to the freak out blues jam
    on the end of “ the dry cleaner from
    des moines”
    jaco pretty much blew my mind
    on that one ….

  6. #30
    joelf Guest
    Charlie Christian, Bird and Stevie Wonder---all at age 17 ('I learned the truth at 17....')---same year I fell in love for the first time, with beautiful, bug-eyed Maddy Lerner*

    *Who became a Jew for Jesus, even as I took another vow---namely poverty (also called jazz---LOL)...

  7. #31

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    Hmm. Born in 1959 (the year that jazz changed with Kind Of Blue, Take Five, The Shape of Jazz to Come, Mingus Ah Umh...), jazz was still in the air as a popular music when I was little. Louis Armstrong, Clark Terry and others on TV shows regularly. My parents were Nat Cole fans, so I grew up with Oscar Moore etc. in my ears. The Tonight Show band.

    By the time I got to college, improvisational musics that captured my attention were the Dead and ABB, Hendrix, Cream, Rory Gallagher. I decided I needed to learn guitar and my guitar teacher suckered me into jazz with a Gmaj7 chord. That was it: "what the hell was that?" I had to know more...

  8. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    Grateful Dead and Allman Bros. Kind of.

    I had heard the Allmans in particular were into Miles Davis. I went to the library and found Dark Magus...thought the cover was cool.

    I wasn't ready for that!

    But a few weeks later I tried again with Kind of Blue.

    And that was all it took.

    6 months later, Dark Magus was my fucking LIFE.
    Quote Originally Posted by pamosmusic
    This is exactly my trajectory except replace Dark Magus with A Love Supreme.
    whoa, yup. same for me too! Grateful dead in a weird way introduced me to Miles, bought Kind of blue. Jerry talked about Django..went and found those tapes but wasn't really into it at the time. GD got me into Bluegrass as well. before all this i was a prog head, Rush, King crimson, Yes, ELP. etc etc...

    oh ya and i remember Jerry saying the best guitarist he ever heard was Frank Gambale !! hahaa. went and bought that Frank tape live at the Baked potato lol, also heard Jerry invited Frank to a show in LA

    Then someone gave me a Pat Martino CD and that was it...Joe pass, Wes, down that rabbit hole.

  9. #33

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    This is a fun thread, and we seem to share a few gateways.

    My first post here was about “who” was a gateway, and I mentioned Wes and Joe Pass.

    But thinking more about this, and diverging from guitarists, there was a kind of grooming stage. I watched Sesame Street growing up in the 60s, and some of their music was R&B, funky, and jazz tangential. These two songs immediately leap to mind:

    The latter with some harmonica by jazz great Toots Thielmans.

    Then there’s also my parents, who listened to Sinatra and the other 1960s era jazzy crooners.

    But back to guitar, my Dad, who was a NYC fire fighter, listened to the Ohio Players. In particular I recall the song “Fire” with that funky guitar solo. And I heard his Sly and the Family Stone record, with the tune “Dance to the Music,” that introduced each instrument, including the guitar.

    All these were a sort of gateway to jazzy type musics that were pre-guitar playing. Once I was already into guitar through rock, it was Wes, Joe Pass, Herb Ellis and others that put me on a more specific jazz guitar path.

  10. #34

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    Growing up in Berkeley in the sixties I heard Pat Martino's Baiyina on KJAZ radio when I was starting to play guitar. It struck me as something from outer space and I was impressed with the double tracking of the fast lines. I also liked Larry Coryell with Gary Burton and George Benson's early albums. Of course the popular music was Paul Butterfield or Cream, etc. and I enjoyed that at the time. Wes, Kenny Burrell, Tal Farlow, Grant Green and others came a little later. Having KJAZ in the Bay Area was fortunate. When I was very little I remember sitting next to the radio and saying I liked jazz because you never knew what was around the corner.

  11. #35

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    Thank you John Abercrombie.

  12. #36

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    Looking back, I’d have to say Gábor Szabó, from Paul Desmond’s Skylark album, which was both my first introduction to Jazz and Jazz Guitar. Back then, 50 years ago (Yikes!), there was absolutely zero interest in Jazz up here (Still isn’t) , so I was completely on my own. I wanted to explore Jazz and, with no one to guide me, I bought the album because it was on sale and liked the cover!

  13. #37

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    I got into jazz initially via the common (cliché) experience of hearing Kind of Blue for the first time at age 18-ish. Thinking back to the music I listened to for my first few years of getting into jazz and trying to learn it, not much of it was guitar players. I listened to Miles much more than any guitar player at the time. The first jazz guitarist records I bought were Django, Wes, Kenny Burrell, and Jimmy Raney, and I copped bits and pieces of those. But the most influential guitarists for me were people I actually knew (friends, teachers, more experienced musicians I met along the way) who pointed me at music and/or showed me stuff on the guitar. Actually dissecting a name player's style came a bit later; Pat Martino was probably the first I tried to do that with.

    I never had the mindset that jazz was something esoteric and challenging that required a gateway or enticement to pull me in from other guitar music. I never thought of jazz-guitar as a genre unto itself. I got into playing jazz because I like jazz.. I got into playing jazz guitar because I play guitar.
    Last edited by John A.; 09-29-2023 at 12:38 PM.

  14. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    I got into jazz initially via the common (cliché) experience of hearing Kind of Blue for the first time at age 18-ish. .
    It might be a cliche, but there's a reason that album is the gateway for so many. And it STILL sounds great to me.

  15. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    It might be a cliche, but there's a reason that album is the gateway for so many. And it STILL sounds great to me.
    Of course. I still listen to it, and still find it fresh and riveting.

  16. #40

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    When I bought Kind Of Blue it was one of my first jazz albums (around the age of 16) but while I enjoyed it, I'd say my real gateway albums were Bitches Brew and A Love Supreme live in Antibes, both bought at around the same time as Kind of Blue. Bitches Brew to this day is my all-time favourite album and I still prefer that live version of A Love Supreme.

  17. #41

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    As a youth, I got hooked on guitar listening to the Ventures and Steve Cropper of Booker T and the MGs. Jazz seeped into my teenage world as a result of listening to the music my neighbor, a Jazz drummer played. Jazz guitar consumed me after hearing Wes Montgomery. A relative gave me one of his albums as a gift and I played it over and over and over. I then became a big fan of Kenny Burrell's Midnight Blue album and of course like everyone else on the list I acquired a Miles Davis addition after hearing Kind of Blue.

    Probably, my biggest Jazz Guitar influence was my teacher, Joe Monk. He was a wonderful guitarist and teacher living on Long Island, NY.


  18. #42

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    For me, it was Charlie Christian and Barney Kessel, both of whom I still listen to regularly. I still think of Christian as the best, purest and most satisfying soloist on guitar, though I listen to and enjoy many of the players you all recommend and talk about. I love Kessel when he’s by himself or nearly so; just love his jangly, messy, guitaristic sound and his harmonic sense.

    I prefer short stories to novels, and I probably feel the same way about guitar solos and songs.

  19. #43

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    Really started playing during the 'great folk scare' of the early 60's, then on to the Ventures and a friend who taught me the basics of Chet stuff. Found out JS wrote 'Walk Don't Run' so had to get that record, then on to a bunch of Wes when I was in college '63-'66, plus some Kenny Burrell. Kinda dropped it until I got back from the war in 1970 and started playing pedal steel in country bands to make money. Got back to listening to Joe Pass and Herb Ellis (a lot) in the 90's. Although I love chord melody, I'm not an improv fan and am still all over the place genre-wise : Chet/Merle/Doc, Celtic, Herb, Joe, JS, Wes, western swing, big band swing (WWII stuff), and Great American Songbook. Mostly old stuff for me. My parents brought me up on Bob Wills and all the WWII swing bands. My dad was stationed at Muroc AAFB (now Edwards AFB) during the war and they were regular visitors to the Hollywood Canteen and were really fans of that music so it rubbed off on me.

  20. #44

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    I'm assuming you mean our gateway to jazz guitar...this being a jazz guitar forum...

    Stevie Ray Vaughan, "Chitlins Con Carne", "Lenny", and "Riviera Paradise". That led me to Burrell's Midnight Blue.

    On a parallel course, I was raised on big band and that led me, at the same time, to Charlie Christian.
    Last edited by ruger9; 09-29-2023 at 04:55 PM.

  21. #45

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    seeing this kid on a local tv show play guitar and had a harmonica around his neck and needed to comb his hair

    he didnt really sing..and the words to the songs didnt make one bit of sense

    dad said.."you call that music?"

  22. #46

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    Even though being familiar with jazz-rock fusion it was the studio version of the song "Speed King" by Deep Purple with its call & response jazz guitar and Hammond organ solos that finally convinced me to explore more of jazz. Kenny Burrell & Jimmy Smith were the influences which I believe who were referenced in interviews by Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord regarding the song. Thereafter I listened to the jazz programs on Canada's CBC Radio to hear as much as possible before starting my album collection. My first purchased jazz recording was "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" by Jimmy Smith.
    Last edited by Oväder; 10-01-2023 at 04:55 PM.

  23. #47

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    Beatles and Stones in mid-60s, ditched Beatles quickly. Cream, Hendrix, Zeppelin. By early 70s, Kind of Blue (still the best jazz album ever) and the holy trinity of Charlie, Django and Wes, in which ever order you prefer.

  24. #48

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    After giging for 5 yrs I encountered Jerry Glassel in Jackson Mich. He taught me the basics of harmony.He could play anything after hearing it once. He was able to explain things in a way that made sense to me...mickmac

  25. #49

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    John Coltrane was the first jazz music I heard that really melted my brain. I already was playing the guitar so I just started teaching myself.
    I never really liked the guitar as a jazz instrument until I heard Grant Green "Feelin' the Spirit." Also Ed Cherry, from a live concert broadcast on PBS with Dizzy and Sam Rivers.

  26. #50

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    Grant Green.