Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Gibson Blindfold Test Unveiled

  • A few days I posted a Blindfold Test involving 7 Gibson guitars. I did not think anyone would be able to identify them (heck, I know I couldn't) and I was right. Still some guys were actually able to single out a few models and that is a feat in itself! It was just a fun thing and I still owe you the solution so here's the vid with the guitars "unveiled."

The correct order of the guitars is:
1. Gibson ES 125 2. Gibson Johnny Smith 3. Gibson ES 335 4. Gibson ES 175 5. Gibson L5 6. Gibson ES 350t 7. Gibson Tal Farlow

Thanks for listening and giving it a try! Especially my friends at the the jazz guitar forum.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Dutch Jazz Master: Wim Overgaauw

Wim Overgaauw (1929 - 1995) is the most important Dutch jazz guitarist of his generation. He can rightly be called the nestor of Dutch guitar. He started his career as a self taught guitarist, worked in Germany for American soldiers,  toured the Netherlands with the Pim Jacobs Trio and Rita Reys and finally settled as a studio musician and guitar teacher at the conservatory in Hilversum.

Relaxin' at Camarillo (1960)

His sophisticated playing remains largely unnoticed by the general audience, probably because he was totally disinterested in the business aspect of music. The few records that were issued under his own name, were mostly in the easy listening genre. Nonetheless, they clearly showcase a fine jazz guitarist at work. This track from "Dedication" is a bit hotter though ...

Twisted Blues 1978 

With students like Jesse van Ruller, Martijn van Iterson and Maarten van der Grinten, Wim's influence as a jazz guitar teacher has literally put Dutch jazz guitar on the map. That's probably where his true heritage can be most strongly felt.

Here's Wim on two rare live takes of which the origin is unknown to me. What a wonderful player he was. His lines are perfectly logical with a relaxed feel.

Bye Bye Blackbird

Bye Bye Baby

The following recording is extremely rare. Time and place are unknown to me. Must have been in the mid nineties. You can hear Wim playing with one of his best known students Jesse van Ruller. Jesse probably was still a student. Wim takes the second solo.

It Could Happen to You (with Jesse van Ruller)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Gibson Blindfold Test

Some more guitar fun now. A few years ago I did a Gibson Blindfold Test involving 3 guitars. This year it gets way more complicated. In the vid below you will hear 7 Gibson archtops but you won't be able to see them. Each archtop clip is one minute long. They were all recorded with the same gear. Can you identify the guitars based on their sound only?

The guitars I used for the Gibson Blindfold Test are:

1976 Gibson Johnny Smith
1998 Gibson Tal Farlow
1995 Gibson L5
1987 Gibson ES 335
1951 Gibson ES 125
1982 Gibson ES 175
1992 Gibson ES 350t

I don't own all these guitars of course. These are older clips. Some I borrowed (The L5 and Johnny Smith), some I traded in over the years  (ES 335, ES 125).

To be honest. I probably could not do this myself for all 7. I tend to sound the same on any guitar. And I know, there's probably too many variables at stake for it to be scientific. Still, I would be able to pick my Gibson Tal Farlow for sure. And maybe a few others too. The clips presented in the vid are NOT on my Youtube page. None of them. No need to go there :) I will show the guitars "unveiled" later this week.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Freak Pick Incident

Can you imagine anything like this happening? I mean, how great are the odds? Has it ever happened to you? I am glad I had the camera running ... Weird.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Can You Walk the Talk?

Walking bass comping is fun. Especially in a duo with two guitars, comping with bass lines thrown in can sound very groovy. You can do it with a pick. Or you just use your fingers. I kind of prefer playing like this in fingerstyle but the downside is that I need long fingernails to do that. And I don't like having those at all. So often the pick comes in. Here's a few older vids of me in that particular comping style. All fingerstyle. They were all played on a guitar I no longer own. A 1951 Gibson ES 125. The first two blues have a fast and slow version.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Drool on a Stool

Of course you know the feeling. You go into a guitar store and try out a few archtops. New or vintage. Sometimes you play a great one. Mostly one you could never get away with buying. Hard not to drool over it. But you rarely buy.

Still one of the nicer things to do. Fortunately the feeling of missing out on something does not last long. The prices are ridiculous. And you've got some nice axes at home. So who needs a new guitar anyway?

Blonde Tal Farlow

Vintage Gibson ES 175

Vintage Levin
Vintage Gibson Super 400

Thursday, December 6, 2012

In Sync with the Master

Earlier I have posted videos and tabs of some blues etudes from "Joe Pass Guitar style." "Joe Pass On Guitar" is a great book too for exploring Joe's guitaristic approach. In it Joe explains his way of thinking. The book includes 50 musical examples and three complete transcriptions, all of which are contained on the included CD.

There is also a complete overview of "The Three Harmonic Families" and the lines, scales, and chord superimpositions and substitutions that comprise this view of Joe's jazz language. (By the way, the book is related to the "Jazz Lines" video that you see on the right.). It's abit more accessible than "Joe Pass Guitar Style" because, next to standard notation, it also gives tabs.

I recorded Joe's "Major Etude" that you can find on page 22 of the book. I am playing the etude unisono with him so you can hear and see us both.

This solo incorporates many of the major ideas presented earlier in the book. It's an etude on a static Cmaj7 chord. Note the use of V7 altered scale over I chords for building and releasing tension. The V7 altered chord has b9, #9, b13 etc. Especially bars 16-18 are a bitch. The 16th note run ends in bar 18 with an octotonic scale. Bars 23 and 24 feature some hip sounds in fourths.

This solo really served as an eye-opener some 10 years ago, especially on how to play altered sounds over I chords.

Now let's sync with the master!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Gibson L5

I few years ago I hipped a friend to a Gibson L5 "Wes Montgomery" that was for sale in the States. I knew the seller from a newsgroup that I frequented at the time so I figured it was going to be a safe transaction. And it was. The L5 was paid for and shipped and it arrived in good shape. Everybody happy.

Of course I borrowed it for testing. The guitar was a signature Wes Montgomery. Here's a video of the L5 in which I am telling about its history and specifications. It's about 10 minutes long. It's in the same vein as the ones about the ES 175 and the Tal Farlow.

And of course you want to hear in action too. So here a vid in HD with some L5 sounds.

The Gibson ES 175

In my previous post I have told you about my ES 175 and showed you some pics. I did not go into details there. A few years ago I recorded this video in which I talk about its history, its specifications and its players. It's in the same vein as the video I did on the Gibson Tal Farlow in an earlier entry. The vid is about 8 minutes' long.

I have many vids in which I am playing it. Here's one:


Friday, November 30, 2012

Joe's Birthday

Gee ... I forgot Joe's birthday a few weeks ago. Who Joe is? Joe is a Gibson 175. He was born on november 10 in 1982. So he turned 30 almost 3 weeks ago. But I did not realize that until now.

Until today I did not even know if he was a he or a she. That's because it was only now that I decided to name him Joe. And that makes him a definite he from today onwards.

What  is nice about Joe is that he is very reliable. He does not get out of tune easily and he always sounds good. Mellow and woody. Most of the time I play him through a 75 bucks amp and he does not mind that at all.

Joe is perfect for bop. And he is very comfortable to play. Body not too big. Neck just right.

He was not always mine. I bought him in 2005. I went to a store where they had a handful of used 175s and Joe happened to be the best sounding one. I tend to think the mahogany has something to do with that. Most 175s have maple backs and sides. But not Joe. He's mostly mahogany.

I guess you can figure out why he is called Joe. If not you should read my Blog posts better.

Here's Joe in action:

The Art of Comping

Most if not all great guitarists are excellent compers. Here's a few Dutch players at work comping in a duo with a singer. Except for Wim who's in a trio.

Peter Nieuwerf 

Martijn van Iterson

Wim Overgaauw

Jesse van Ruller
Maarten van der Grinten

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Let's play some Neal Hefti!

Neal Hefti was a Amarican jazz trumpeter, composer and arranger. He wrote a few of my favourite jazz standards: "Girl Talk" and "Lil' Darlin."

Neal Hefti 1946

Here's "Lil' Darlin' " in chord melody style. It's a Steve Crowell arrangement. It's played as a solo piece.

Lil' Darlin'

And here I am joining the big band on the original take of "Girl Talk" here. Note how the chords blend perfectly with the horn section. Again the arrangement is by Steve Crowell. The comping section under the piano solo is not notated. The book it is from is "Guitar Solos. Jazz standards in Chord Style." Not sure if it still available. Did not see it on Steve's site.

Girl Talk

Early Joe Pass

By the general jazz community Joe Pass is probably best known for his incredible solo jazz guitar playing. In the mid 1970s he recorded a number of solo albums in chord melody style, using extensive use of walking bass lines and melodic counterpoint. He did many solo performances too in those days. His playing displayed sheer virtuosity and has been the standard of solo jazz guitar playing ever since. 

Still, my favourite Joe Pass material was recorded more than a decade earlier. Let's listen to a few tracks that were recorded in the early sixties. Notice that Joe was playing a Fender Jaguar in those days. After that you can listen to a few tracks of my 5 favourite Joe Pass albums that were all recorded in the  1960s. They appeared under the Pacific Jazz label.

1. Sounds of Synanon

In the 1950s Joe's career was cut short by his drug abuse. In the early 1960s he entered a drug rehab program at Synanon. The album "Sounds of Synanon" that was made in 1962 by a band consisting of inhabitants of the alcohol and drugs rehabilitation-centre meant the definite breakthrough of Joe Pass as a guitar genius. Joe was not playing his ES 175 yet. 

The following vid shows the band of that album playing live in 1962. 

2. Catch me 

In 1963 Joe recorded an album with Clare Fischer on organ and piano. The album is "Catch Me."

3. For Django 

In 1964 he recorded which is - according to many - his best album ever "For Django." Here's the title track. 

4. Joy Spring

In the same year he recorded a live album "Joy Spring" that is perceived as a classic too. 

5. Simplicity

An album from 1967 called "Simplicity." Though it was probably conceived as an "easy listening" album it's still pretty outstanding!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Now play some chords!

Here's some short chord melodies that I recorded a few years ago. Funny to see me playing in the living room of my old house. The old ES 125 is still hanging on the wall. I have sold it long ago. "Prelude to a Kiss" is an arrangement by Steve Crowell. "Just a Sittin' and a rockin' is a Duke Ellington theme that you may know of Kenny Burrell's interpretation. This is pretty much how he plays it. And "Darn hat Dream" is my own arrangement. They are all played on my Tal Farlow. The amp is my Polytone.
Prelude to a Kiss
Just a Sittin' and a Rockin'
Darn that Dream

Bop Till You Drop 2: More MVI and Joe Cohn

In an earlier entry I have posted three vids of the Peter Beets Trio (for the occasion with two guitarists: Martijn van Iterson and Joe Cohn). If you haven't seen them yet, check them out.
We'll here's the second installment of that concert. More Bop Till You Drop! Again, you will hear wonderful guitar playing by Joe and Martijn (yeah ... and Peter and Ruud of course). The tunes are: "In Your Own Sweet Way" (gorgeous solo by Joe), "Three Little Words" and "Easy Listening Blues." I will post the rest of the concert later.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Nostalgia: Warren Nunes - The Blues

One of the first jazz guitar books I ever studied was "The Blues" by Warren Nunes. Must have been in the early eighties, long before I ever got serious about jazz. I borrowed it from a friend and learned my first basic jazz blues progressions from it. And probably my first jazz solo too, called "True Blue." The book is from the 70s. It was the time of record players and it had a plastic record (flexidisc) in it with some backing tracks over which you could solo. I actually found it on the Tube again! Nostalgia! Listen:

Here are some basic blues progressions in Bb and F that I took from this book. The book has probably been out of print for years. But I still use these progressions. Still remember the licks too. In the vids you can see which chords I am playing. Here we go:

  Basic blues in Bb

Basic blues in F

  Another basic blues in Bb

Modern blues in F

Another modern blues in F

Virtual Bebop

Lately I have been recording two virtual jams with Mr. Graham Thomas, who lives in the UK. This video collaberation resulted in the videos that you can watch below. We have never really met in person. Virtual bebop!!!!!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Jesse van Ruller - The Complete Solos at the Crow

Wow. Time Flies. Way back, on december 12 2000, we had Jesse van Ruller at the Crow. He played with a few local players, including me. The concert was recorded and stored as "Jesse van Ruller at the Crow."

Five years earlier, in 1995, Jesse had graduated from the Hilversum conservatory and he had won the prestigious Thelonious Monk Jazz Guitar Competition, aged 24.

It's been years and years since I have listened to these recordings. But when I did today I realized that they are pretty special. It was still early in Jesse's career when we played with him at the Crow. Sure he was world class already. But his playing was more bop oriented than it is today. And you get to hear him on a set of standards only.

What I did in the vid below is cut away everything except his solos, glue them together and normalize and enhance the sound. The clips sound better than ever. Jesse 's Levin guitar is captured wonderfully. You hear me comping on most of the tracks. On some you will hear Herbie Guldenaar. Yeah, I was still a jazz rookie in those days.

The solos are:
  • Just Friends
  • Oleo
  • Have You Met Miss Jones
  • Four on Six
  • All the Things You Are
  • Blues Riff
  • Stella by Starlight
  • You's Be so Nice to Come Home to
  • I Fall in Love too Easily
  • Straight No Chaser
  • Well, You Needn't 

Enjoy. Hope you like this stuff just as much as I do. The vid is almost 30 minutes. It's a gem AFAIAC. Among my favorite Jesse van Ruller ever.

Update august 8 2020. I improved the sound of the original recordings. There is more low end. Jesse's  playing is still phenomenal. Enjoy once again! 

Arpeggio Substitutions on "Autumn Leaves"

Here's an arpeggio study I did a few years ago. It is from Les Wise's book "Jazz Solos for Guitar" in the REH  Prolicks series. I was kind of amazed to see the entire study on-line so below you will find the notation with tabs even. You can scroll the document. Anyway, the book is great. Recommended. The video explores some arpeggio substitutions on the chord progression of "Autumn Leaves." For the theory behind the subs you need the book. In the slowed down chorus I briefly denote what is going on with subtitles.

Video Arpeggio Substitutions 

Three Joe Diorio solos

In the past I have studied some solos from Joe Diorio's book "Fusion Guitar." In this book Joe constructs 16 modern and ultra-modern jazz guitar solos over eight classic jazz chord progressions. The book only has standard notation but here's a few tabs of three etudes on the chord progressions of "All the Things You Are", "Stella by Starlight" and "Blue Bossa." In the book they are not mentioned under these titles but bear such titles as "modern swing solo" and "Bossa Nova solo" etc. Unlike the title of the book suggests, there's lots of straight-ahead sounds to be discovered in it too. You will find the tabs under the vids. They are included in the vids as well.



Video Stella by Starlight

Tabs Stella by Starlight

Video Blue Bossa

Tabs Blue Bossa

Jazz Guitar Gala at the Crow

I was going through my jazz vault and came across these old(er) audo recordings, recorded at the Crow on 14 november 2003. At the time three Dutch top jazz guitarists joined for a jam at the Crow. Martijn van Iterson, Maarten van der Grinten en Ed verhoeff. The rhythm section was top notch too. Marius Beets on bass and Marcel Serierse on drums. What could go wrong? Nothing. Superb interplay over a set of standards was the result. And loads of tremendous guitar boppin'. The whole concert was taped fortunately. The 6 tracks posted below are all great but be sure to at least listen to the extended takes  of "All the Things You Are" (over 17 minutes) and "Take the Coltrane" (over 14 minutes). "Pannonica" and "The Best Things in Life are Free" are a moderate 8 minutes but "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise" is 17 minutes of blowing again.

For the gearheads. Martijn was playing his 125. Maarten his Elferink and Ed some kind of Tele. For the tracks scroll down. Push start button to listen. I noticed that the files did not play on my iPad so maybe they do not stream on your mobile app.

Marcel Serierse

Marius Beets
All the Things You Are

The Best Things In Life Are Free


Ed Verhoeff

Take the Coltrane

Maarten van der Grinten
Polkadots and Moonbeams

Martijn van Iterson
Softly as in a Morning Sunrise

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Some Joe Pass Blues

These two blues etudes are from Joe Pass' book "Joe Pass Guitar Style." AFAIK the book does not have tabs so I added them here (and in the video). Not that I advocate tabs. But people ask me for them all the time. So for once ...

Here's a video of the etude on page 35 with the tabs below:

And here's the "Modern Blues" etude (Bird changes) on page 40 with tabs below:

Bop Till You Drop

Joe, Martijn and Ruud 
If you haven't seen these vids before, you are about to experience some jaw droppin' boppin'. Five years ago I saw the Peter Beets Trio live at Wilou's Basement. They had as special guest US guitarist Joe Cohn. Since Martijn van Iterson was already in the trio that meant TWO kick ass guitarists on stage. And a quartet rather than a trio. Of course Peter Beets is Mr. Bebop piano himself. The Dutch Oscar Peterson. At the time the concert was part of a mini tour to promote Peter's latest Criss Cross CD New Groove that has either Joe or Martijn on guitar. And then there was Ruud Jacobs on bass. The guy that you see backing Wes Montomery in the legendary Wes in Holland videos! So fortunately there was a camera running.

Joe's Byrdland and Martijn's 125

Martijn, me and Joe Cohn

 I selected three vids from my video vault and enhanced the sound a bit. The tracks are "Parker 51", "I'm Old Fashioned" and "You're my Everything." "Parker 51" is a Stan Getz theme based on the changes of "Cherokee". The first amazing solo goes to Martijn, then Peter plays an incredible solo (leaving Joe shaking his head) and then Joe tears it up himself. Bop till you drop indeed. The vids take you back to the 1950s drummerless piano trios. Dig the 4-in-the-bar comping by Martijn.