Listening to the clip "Billy's Bop" above, Billy Rogers (1950 - 1987) will blow you away immediately. I had never heard of him until I came across his name in Maurice's Summerfield "Jazz Guitar" book. But it would still take many years to actually hear a clip of him on Youtube. The clip is from a CD produced by Dave Stryker and is called: "The Guitar Artistry" of Billy Rogers.
Billy picked up the guitar at 12 and started studying jazz after hearing Kenny Burrell, George Benson and Grant Green when he was 16. He shut himself up in his room and practised 8 hours a day. At 17 he began playing the Chicago area and in the Midwest and gained a lot of experience in organ trios. Later he played with Jack McDuff and did a long stint with George Shearing in 1975.
As a member of the highly successful Crusaders, he toured extensively for a year and a half but he was not that happy with the way he was supposed to play in the band. He left and started gigging in the LA area again. In 1984 he moved to San Fransisco. His heroine problems and his troubled soul kept his career from really taking off though. But his playing was top notch and he became some kind of underground guitar legend. Listen:
In 1987, he was found dead from a drug overdose in his appartment. Another jazz career cut tragically short.
Dave Stryker, a friend of Billy, discovered many tapes in Billy's basement and added and synced backings to a number of blistering solos a few years later, thus compiling the CD that Billy never made. The CD features really incredible playing.
You can listen to a complete playlist of Dave Stryker's Compilation CD below and if you want to buy it, click here.
the guitar artistry of billy rogers from Billy on Myspace.