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.

Friday, November 16, 2012

MVI the solos

Another post about Dutch jazz guitar great Martijn van Iterson. Yeah, I'm a big fan. Over the years I have captured Martijn van Iterson on video several times. Here's a personal favourite from my video vault. It's a compilation of a number of solos that he played over a set of standards at a gig at the Crow a few years ago. This one is not available on Youtube currently. Martijn is playing a Gibson ES 125. It was given to him by Wim Overgaauw, his teacher at the Hiversum conservatory. His amp is a Fender Hotrod. I was sitting right in front of him so you get a good view of one of the best guitarists on the planet in action.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Clifford Brown on Guitar

A few years ago I studied Clifford Brown's classic solo on "Joy Spring" from the 1955 album "Clifford Brown and Max Roach." Let me tell you, the double timed bars 17 to 23 are a bitch! Playing those bars in the original tempo is extremely hard. What I did get out of that solo are some very useable II-V-I licks. You can hear and see me play the complete solo and some licks in the vid below and also the chord progressions over which the licks are played are displayed. Yeah, it's slower than the original tempo because of those horrid bars that I mentioned earlier. Also, the concept of neighbour tones is briefly shown in some licks.

Ok. Here are bars 17-23 for you to play. In the original tempo of course :) They start off in the 5th bar of the page below. Have fun!

Bop Maestro Martijn van Iterson

Martijn van Iterson is a great Dutch guitarist. His lines are hip, but firmly rooted in the tradition. He can bop like no other. His time is impeccable and his chops world class. Frankly, I don't think jazz guitar playing gets any better. I have seen him play live often and have recorded him on video several times. He has recorded two fantastic albums as a leader: The Whole Bunch and Street Wise. Both albums show he's a great composer as well. Martijn has recorded and toured as a sideman extensively too. He's a guitarists' guitarist. Essential listening for any guitarist.

Some facts:

     1970 Born on July 11th, Leiden, the Netherlands
     1979 Started taking private guitar lessons
     1982 Started playing Jazz
     1988-1993 Studied at the Hilversum Conservatoire with Wim Overgaauw
     1994- present Teaches jazzguitar at the “Amsterdam Conservatoire”
     2004 Release of his album “The Whole Bunch” with the 
     Martijn van Iterson Quartet.
     2004 Won the “Bird Award at the North Sea Jazz Festival
     2005 His album “The Whole Bunch” was ranked 11th on the charts.
     2006 Release of his album “Streetwise” with the Martijn van Iterson Quartet
     2009-present Member of “ The Jazzorchestra Of The Concertgebouw
     2012 Won the “Laren Jazz Award

Here you can see him play his Gibson ES 125 in the Peter Beets trio. The transcription of his solo you will find included here. It was done by Michael Aadal. Thanks Mike!

The Gibson Tal Farlow

I bought my Gibson Tal Farlow in 2005. I had seen it for sale on the internet at Murch Music. With Tal being my personal guitar hero, I had been gassing for a Tal in Viceroy Sunburst for a while so I bought it just from a picture! The price was right and the dealer was a respectable Guitar store in Canada and after some mail correspondence the deal was made.

Personally, I think the Tal Farlow is one of the prettiest archtops ever made. And it does perfectly what the name suggests. It's a great bop guitar! It sounds woody and mellow and still crisp. Check out some sounds here in the video below. The tune is Wes' "Road Song,"

Surely, the Tal Farlow is one of the most convincing Gibson signature models ever made. Tal played one ever since he got his prototype in 1962. He'd been playing an ES 350 in the 1950s on such incredible records as "The Swinging Guitar of Tal Farlow",  "This is Tal Farlow" and "The Complete Private Recordings" etc. So it's not surprising that the TF was modelled after the ES 350.

scroll inlay
On the first Tal model, Gibson opted for a standard-routed two pickup design, with nickel hardware. Early models can be found with PAF pickups. The Tal model came with two full-size humbuckers, unlike many of the other high-end Gibson archtops (such as the L-5CES, Byrdland, Super 400CES, and Barney Kessel models) that all came from the factory in the early 60’s with the narrower spaced neck pickup.

flames galore

The TF model has a 25.5 inch neck scale length (same as the L-5 and Super 400), a unique pickguard shape, reversed J-200 inlays on the rosewood fretboard, double crown inlay on the headstock, L-7 style tailpiece with signature inlay, and Kluson Super (waffle-back) tuners. Many of the early 1960s models have a Tal-designed scroll in the horn of the upper bout (although some do not). For the original series, a sunburst finish, ‘Viceroy Brown’, was standard. The model was reissued by Gibson in the 90’s and then wine red, blonde and a darker sunburst finish were added to the original sunburst finishes of the 1960s. They all carry the scroll inlay in the cutaway.

Check out a video that I did on the specifications of the TF. The video is 6 minutes 40 secs.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Four: a solo transcribed

I recorded this video a year ago. At the time I was living in a holiday home (my new house was being built) and my internet connection was so slow I could only upload low quality vids. Also I did not have my studio geared up so the sound was poor too. Today I improved the sound quality of the vid a bit. I could not fix the video quality much.

What is cool about the vid is that a "fan" actually transcribed parts of the solo and sent me the transcription later. A big thanks!