Jazz guitarist Clay Moore (scroll down for text links)
Welcome to the personal section of my site. If you're into jazz guitar and all it entails I believe you'll find a gold mine of useful information here. I've posted some transcriptions - with more to come - and some short essays (culled from the 30-plus years I've spent as a professional musician and educator), as well as links to other web sites that deal with jazz guitar, including artists' official web sites, tribute web sites, and educational web sites. If you're looking for suggestions for instructional books and quintessential jazz recordings you'll find them here as well; simply click to purchase, usually via Amazon.

I hope you enjoy your stay here, and I invite you to e-mail me with any questions or comments about the site.

New!
Ok, so this isn't exactly new, but my telling you about it certainly is. A couple of years ago I was considering making a new instructional DVD using a simplified approach, with less theory and more hands-on examples. As coincidences like this go I was then contacted by a company called Guitar Control, and the owner had the same type of project in mind, so we created Real Easy Jazz Guitar. The way it works is, I explain some basic chords, scales, and arpeggios you'll need, then we learn ten standards out of the New Real book, which comes with the course. I show you how to play the melody, single line and (where applicable) chord melody style, then show you examples of comping and soloing. All of it was written out in standard notation and tab by yours truly, so you know it's right! A Real Easy Jazz Guitar Volume II is on its way soon, so more to come Check it out!

Jazz Guitar Resources Online
I've tried to be selective about which sites to link to, which was tough considering all the web sites there are to explore. Basically I've listed three types of sites: official, tribute, and educational.

Some of this categorization is a bit arbitrary, I admit. Most of the players' sites have educational material, as do some of the tribute sites. The educators are usually great players as well, and so on. However, I think breaking them up this way will make browsing easier.

I hope you enjoy discovering (or learning more about) these great jazz guitarists as much as I did...

  • Official sites created or approved by the artist.

    • Dan Adler is a rmmgj buddy who makes his home and most of his music in New York. His debut CD All Things Familiar is excellent mainstream jazz, and getting a lot of great press and airplay.
    • Paul Bollenback is one of those players who is so good it makes you wonder if you're playing the same instrument. His command of the instrument is very deep. He has a number of solo recordings, and for a couple of decades has been associated with the great Hammond B-3 player Joey DeFrancesco. Check out his solo album Brightness of Being.

    • Jimmy Bruno, the virtuoso guitarist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Jimmy put together and maintains his own site, and he updates it regularly. Besides info about Jimmy you'll also find sound clips, playing tips, sheet music, info on his weekly chat room sessions, and online ordering of his educational books and videos. I have several of Jimmy's CDs, including his debut Sleight of Hand.

    • Frank Gambale, the self described "grand master of sweep picking," is the guitarist in Chick Corea's Elektric Band and Steve Smith's Vital Information. Gambale's technique and versatility are as good as it gets.
    • Fareed Haque is a fusion player who blends Asian, jazz, and classical music. His main instrument is the nylon stringed acoustic-electric.

    • Jim Hall is one of America's musical treasures, a brilliant musician with a penchant for understatement. Jim has been a huge influence on Pat Metheny, John Scofield, John Abercrombie, and many others. As with many players who I've grown up listening to it's tough to pick a favorite recording, but Live (Dig) would defintely be in the running.

    • Originally from Israel, now based in New York, Gilad Hekselman has been turning a lot of heads with his mature, modern jazz guitar stylings. His latest CD is Splitlife.
    • Henry Johnson is a Chicago based guitarist who's career has included stints with jazz giants Jimmy Smith and Stanley Turrentine. A true gentleman, Henry loves guitar and jazz and his playing shows it. Apparently he no longer keeps his own website, but this link takes you to his page on the Concord Record label.

    • Steve Khan has his own web site, excellent in design, artwork, and content. The design is done by Blaine Fallis, the art by Ned Shaw, and the content is pure Steve Khan.

    • Jonathan Kreisberg is a young man who plays the heck out of that guitar! It's worth going to his site just to read all the people raving about him. I have three of his recordings, The South of Everywhere, New for Now , and Nine Stories Wide, and I recommend them all for anyone interested in the state of jazz guitar in the 21st century.

    • Lage Lund was the winner of the 2nd Thelonius Monk Competition for guitar held in 1995. As with some of his contemporaries such as Adam Rogers and Kurt Rosenwinkel, Lage is a modern "man for all seasons" on jazz guitar, spinning out dazzling and fluid solos over odd time signatures and complex harmonies with apparent ease. Check out Early Songs and his most recent sideman recording Cultural Survival with saxophonist David Sanchez.

    • Sylvain Luc is my current favorite "new" jazz guitarist, with Chico Pinheiro running right behind him. Sylvain has everything - fluidity, expressiveness, musicality, imagination, chops, and spot-on time. All of the following are superb albums - Trio Sud: Young and Fine, Trio Sud, Sud, and Solo Ambre.

    • Pat Martino. Pat has been one of my main jazz guitar influences since I first heard Live! in 1974. Pat has recorded prolifically, but because of the ups and downs of the record business it's difficult to find all of his recordings intact; some are out of print, some repackaged, and so on. His first recording El Hombre is a classic and still available, as are Desperado, Footprints, and We'll Be Together Again. Or, to browse all of it just go to thePat Martino store at Amazon for all of his currently available books and recordings.

    • Pat Metheny. What can you say? he does is all - great player, composer, bandleader, sideman, and tireless champion of creative, improvised music. Some of my favorite recordings of his are Bright Size Life , Question and Answer , and Trio 99>00 . If you would like to play his songs yourself check out the excellent Pat Metheny Songbook: Lead Sheets.
    • I first heard Tim Miller when he was still in his teens as a student at UNT, tearing it up at a local dive in Denton. Besides recording his own CDs he performs with such jazz stalwarts as Paul Motian, Terri Lyne Carrington, and George Garzone. Check out Trio Volume 2 .
    • If you like amazing and somewhat quirky music check out Ben Monder, a truly original player. I discovered his album Dust some time ago and found it very compelling.
    • Chico Pinheiro is my favorite find in the last year. He has everything - originality, musicality, chops, a great singing voice, and he's an excellent composer. His debut album is fantastic and simply called Chico Pinheiro.
    • I first heard Adam Rogers playing with sax phenom Mike Brecker. His playing is super clean and accurate, with a lot of interesting rhythmic twists. His debut album is Art of the Invisible.

    • Kurt Rosenwinkel is one of those scary good younger guys who has taken jazz guitar in new and exciting directions. Two of my favorite recordings of his are East Coast Love Affair and The Remedy - Live At The Village Vanguard.

    • The official site of jazz/funk master John Scofield. I met Sco' at a seminar back in the late 1970s, and had a great time hanging out and playing some bop. After seeing him several times over the years I can honestly say he gets better every time. It's hard to pick a favorite Scofield recording, but Meant to Be, with Joe Lovano, Bill Stewart, and Dennis Irwin is right up there.

    • Another young guitarist who is creating his own distinctive style is Israeli born Yotam Silberstein. His latest CD is called Next Page.

    • Greg Skaff has worked with Stanley Turrentine, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Watson and many others. A great, bluesy player with a modern command of harmony, Greg is also a great guy to hang out with.
    • Rick Stone is a New York-based mainstream guitarist who self produces his CDs, including one with jazz giant Kenny Barron. Rick maintains a site packed with downloadable educational material and jazz links.

    • John Stowell, from Portland, Oregon, is a stylistically distinctive player who comes as close to being technically flawless as you can get. After many years of having a "web page" John has graduated to having a full-bore web site. (Congratulations, John!)

    • John Stein is a Boston-based jazz guitarist playing in the funky organ group tradition.

    • Dave Stryker is a top-notch New York based player who has worked with Stanley Turrentine, among others.

    • Vinny Valentino is a swinging, hardworking jazz guitarist who has played and recorded with many of the greats.

    • Jesse van Ruller won the Thelonius Monk Competition in 1995, and for good reason. His playing is inventive, tasteful, and very hard swinging. I really dig his debut CD Here and There
    • Kevin Van Sant is someone I've known for many years via usenet, and he never ceases to amaze me with his playing and creative approaches to being a working jazz musician.

    • Anthony Wilson is one of the guitarists to rise to fame in the last decade or so, not only for his superb playing, but also his association with one of the most popular figures in the jazz world, singer/pianist Dianna Krall. The two CDs I have of his are Adult Themes and Anthony Wilson .
  • Tribute sites a.k.a. "fan" sites, created as labors of love by people who have no direct agreement or collaboration with the artist.

    • Charlie Christian was the first electric jazz guitar "star," and he laid down the foundation for all generations to come. Garry Hansen ran an excellent tribute site for years, but it appears to be down at the moment. In the meantime there's The Genius Of The Electric Guitar and the transcriptions I've done from these recordings.

    • Wes Montgomery was one of the greatest and most influential guitarists, period. From my understanding his family has been understandably protective about people using his name for their own gains, so there's no official site, but here is a discography that may be helpful for those trying to make sense of all the various recordings put out under his name. One of my favorite recordings of his is Portrait of Wes, with his long time Indianapolis trio featuring organist Mel Rhyne and drummer George Brown.
    • Tabo Oishi's Joe Pass Memorial Hall is a wonderful tribute to one of my favorite guitarists and biggest influences. Joe played well in every type of setting - solo, duo with vocalists and instrumentalists, trios, quartets, etc., all the way up to big bands. His Virtuoso records for Pablo put solo jazz guitar on the map. Some of his best are Virtuoso (20 Bit Mastering), Virtuoso No. 2, For Django, In Hamburg, The Best of Joe Pass- The Pacific Jazz Years.
    • A Howard Roberts tribute site created by Mike Evans. Roberts was one of the most-recorded studio players in history, playing on countless records, movies, and TV shows. I attended one of Howard's three day seminars in 1975, an experience which opened my 19 year old eyes and ears wider than I imagined possible. Roberts founded the Guitar Institute of Technology in Hollywood, CA, which later morphed into the Musicians Institute. Most of his recordings were out of print for the last few decades, but thanks to reissues the great Howard Roberts is back.

    • Freddie Green was the rhythm guitarist for the great Count Basie Band for some 50 years, certainly a record achievement! This site is a labor of love for Michael Pettersen. Of course almost all the Count Basie records are classics, but to hear Freddie in a small group setting is something special. Check out the recording he did with guitarist Herb Ellis called Rhythm Willie.

    • Classic Jazz Guitar is Mike Kremer's site devoted to "information about the best of the classic guitarists and their music from the 1930ís, 1940ís, 1950ís and 1960ís." It's a terrific resource, one that I've learned quite a bit from.
  • Educational sites primarily designed to teach principles of jazz and guitar.

    • Jody Fisher has his own site, and I'm sure many of you will be familiar with him through his extensive credentials as a player, author, and teacher. His site has a boatload of great info - including how to order his great books and videos - but also a wealth of free articles and lessons right there on the premises.

    • Joey Goldstein is a talented guitarist with impressive credentials from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and possibly the most prolific "web teacher" ever.

Clay Plays With Words
Essays on the Art of Jazz Guitar
Read any good books lately?

New! The Lowdown on Fakebooks

Most of the jazz musicians I know have one or more fakebooks at their disposal, for learning tunes at home, in rehearsals, or even on the bandstand. There are a lot of them out there, some better than others, so I'd like to list some of the ones I use regularly.

The Chuck Sher New Real Books

These books are at the top of my list because they are the most accurate and pay royalties to the composers. Sometimes the charts are a bit too detailed to sight read in a dark club, and there are some pop tunes included in some of the volumes that really shouldn't have been included, but overall they're excellent books. If you have to pick one start with The New Real Book, Volume 1, which contains a lot of tunes jazz musicians play.

If you are looking for an alternative to the Chuck Sher books the Warner Brothers Just Jazz Real Book is very good. The tunes are very well-known standards and the music is legible with good changes.

A great resource for locating which book(s) a particular tune can be found is The Fake Book Index over at http://www.seventhstring.com/, who also make the terrific program Transcribe!

Classic instructional books on jazz improv and jazz guitar

Sometimes nothing but a book will do (i.e, not an "e-book.") Below I've listed and annotated some of the ones that I first started with back in the mid 1970s, which I believe have stood the test of time. In addition, there is a review of a newer book that has set the bar for jazz texts, Mark Levine's Jazz Theory Book.

  • Mickey Baker's Complete Course in Jazz Guitar: A Modern How-to-Play Jazz and Hot Guitar, Book 1

    This book was recommended to me when I was 17 by jazz guitarmeister Curt Warren. Written and first published in the 1950's, Baker's book (still published with the original cheesy cover art, typos, and other mistakes left intact) is an often hilarious window into a bygone era. With all its flaws it's still an extremely useful instruction book for guitarists who are newbies to jazz. It's divided into two sections, chords and soloing. The chords are all written as box diagrams (requiring no music reading ability), and the subsequent exercises teach you solid musical examples using the chords you've learned. If you work your way through the first section more or less as Baker instructs you'll know 90% of the basic "jazz guitar chords" that you'll need to play jazz/blues changes, standards, bop tunes, and bossa novas. The section on single note soloing is pretty basic, but it does teach you some simple jump blues lines and a few concepts about soloing on changes.

  • Improvising Jazz (A Fireside book) by Jerry Coker

    Jerry Coker started his career as a saxophonist, apprenticed in big bands such as those of Woody Herman and Stan Kenton, and later garnered fame for his extensive contributions to jazz education. Improvising Jazz was his first book, written in 1962. A thin paperback, its humble appearance belies the wealth of information contained between the covers. Coker discusses topics such as chord/scale relationships, jazz harmony, developing your ears, melody construction, analyzing tunes by their key centers and chord root motion, and how to swing. My mom bought me a copy when I graduated high school, and a better gift I can't imagine. Well, maybe a Shelby Cobra. Coker also co-wrote:

  • Patterns for Jazz: Treble Clef

    Unlike its svelte cousin discussed above, Patterns for Jazz: Treble Clef is a full sized text meant for the music stand. My aged copy is spiral bound; unfortunately recent editions are bound with cardboard and glue, which makes the book harder to keep open. While this book contains ample theoretical explanation of keys, modes, and so forth, it is intended to be practiced from. The focus of it is to develop the jazz musician's technique and vocabulary through extensive study of scales, patterns, and lines, exercised through all twelve keys. As with many books of this nature, Patterns for Jazz: Treble Clef is one of those resources that a person would have a difficult time studying to completion in one lifetime. In the interest of fairness, I should mention that quite a few musicians believe that studying and practicing patterns as outlined in this book is a waste of time - that such practice is anti-musical. Coker and other jazz educators of his generation were probably a bit overzealous in presenting these books, but I believe that pattern study can be not only practical but enlightening. All music makes use of patterns, and in a sense it's ridiculous to define some patterns as good and others bad. As with most things in life, pattern study is perhaps best done in moderation.

  • Joe Pass Guitar Style

    Joe Pass was one of my main influences on guitar. When I was nineteen I had the pleasure of meeting and studying with Joe at a seminar in Tampa, FL, and in addition to his book I had just about every record he had put out at that time. The Joe Pass Guitar Style book was carefully written by Joe and Bill Thrasher. Like Mickey Baker's Complete Course in Jazz Guitar: A Modern How-to-Play Jazz and Hot Guitar, Book 1, Joe's is divided into two sections: harmony (chords) and melody (soloing). Unlike the Baker book, Joe's book uses only standard notation for the examples, so you have to be able to read music to get the most out of it. The terms and theories are clear and simple - a refreshing workingman's approach to the subject. The section on harmony is worth the price alone, and the melodic etudes in the second part are examples nonpareil on how to solo over chord changes.

  • Jamey Aebersold play-along series Along with his contemporaries Jerry Coker and David Baker, Jamey Aebersold is one of the founding fathers of modern jazz education. His unique contribution was to take the idea of Music Minus One and apply it to learning jazz fundamentals. It all started about 40 years ago with an album and book set entitled How to Play Jazz & Improvise. Volume 1 These albums (now CDs, of course) provide rhythm tracks (usually piano, bass, and drums) and the accompanying books have the melodies and chord progressions written out in treble and bass clefs and transposed for Bb and Eb instruments, suggested scales, and other tips on how to improvise. My first one was Vol. 3, The II/V7/I Progression: A New Approach To Jazz Improvisation (I believed after playing for only two years that I needed the "intermediate" level). To date Mr. Aebersold has produced 118 of these play-along recordings, including volumes devoted to songs by jazz composers such as Horace Silver (three separate volumes, Vol. 17, Vol. 18, and Vol. 86), Herbie Hancock John Coltrane (two volumes, Vol. 27 and Vol. 28), and Wes Montgomery, and many volumes of tunes that are classic jazz standards. Many of the volumes are simply exercises, including the volumes 1 and 3 discussed above.

    Another terrific "play-along" tool is Band-in-a-Box. For those of you unfamiliar with this little gem, it is a computer program which auto-generates accompaniment backgrounds for practicing soloing. All you do is type in chord symbols (in ASCII text), hit the play button and off you go. You'll also need a sound card on your computer and some speakers for audio. There are several clear advantages to Band-in-a-Box - namely, you can play your tunes in any key, at any tempo, with any of a copious number of rhythmic feels. If you aren't happy with a particular chord, you can change it. The files take up almost no room on your hard disk, so you can easily store hundreds or even thousands of tunes.

    The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine

    I need more books on jazz theory and methods like I need a hole in the head, so I resisted buying this book for a long time. Now that I own it, I can honestly say that it's the best single resource of its type I've found on the market today. During the last twenty-five years of teaching, I've mostly relied on explaining things my own way, because there was no single book that pulled all the aspects of theory and common practice into one place. Mark Levine has written just such a book. I studied all the chapters to see what was included and how it was explained, and in most every case it either matched my opinions exactly or explained things even more clearly than I could.

Transcriptions

One thing that almost every jazz musician does is study the improvising of other great jazz musicians, and more often than not this is done via transcriptions. Strictly speaking transcription is writing music down in some form of notation, say standard treble and bass clefs or guitar tab, but it's sometimes done by learning a solo with your instrument (Joey Goldstein calls this "lifting" rather than transcribing) or by singing it. It's best to do this yourself for the ear training, but since I have a bunch of solos already written out I thought I'd share them with you. More of these will follow. If you're so inclined read the caveats.

I've started with some Charlie Christian solos on account of he was the man.

This would be a good time to mention a really helpful tool called Transcribe!, put out by the good folks at http://www.seventhstring.com/. Transcribe! allows you to manipulate sound files (mp3s, etc) in various ways that help in transcribing - slowing them down, changing the pitch, creating and storing loop points, and so on. Their excellent web site has loads of free music tools and advice for transcribing, as well as the The Fake Book Index mentioned above.

Quintessential jazz recordings

Every musician I knows has an extensive library of jazz records (even the ones who don't play jazz). Below are some recommendations, particularly suited for those of you new to the genre. This will be a work in progress, not only because of the staggering number of jazz records that already exist, but great new recordings come out all the time.

Miles Davis, trumpeter, composer, bandleader. One of the most important jazz musicians in the music's history. Almost any of his records can be considered classics, but here is a short list.

John Coltrane, tenor and soprano saxophonist. Coltrane or 'Trane as he was sometimes known remains one of the most important and influential musicians in jazz. He was a sideman for Miles Davis during the 1950s on two separate occasions, and began his solo recording career during this time. His style was very intense, and with his classic quartet with McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones, and Jimmy Garrison they would sometimes play one song for an entire hour or more! Below is a sampling of his prodigious recorded with.

The Dave Brubeck Quartet. Pianist/composer/bandleader Dave Brubeck is a controversial figure, often dissed by critics and some jazz musicians for his popularity and sometimes heavy handed approach to the piano. Others have pointed out that he was not the first musician to use odd time signatures in jazz, which is true. But the fact is, he was a true jazz pioneer who managed to spread high level, original instrumental music to a wide new audience during a time when jazz was being overshadowed by rock and roll and R&B. His most famous quartet included drummer Joe Morello, bassist Joe Benjamin, and the stunning alto saxophonist Paul Desmond, who wrote the group's signature tune, Take 5. Two of their most recognized and creative albums are:

Wayne Shorter, tenor and soprano saxophonist, composer. A sideman with both Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and Miles Davis's Quintet, Wayne Shorter probably did more than anyone else to change the sound of jazz composition during the 1960s, one of music's most turbulent and fertile periods. His compositions sound deceptively simple and lyrical, yet with underlying depth and sophistication. The albums below represent some of his best work.

Clay's practice tips series

A couple of years ago I ran a series of weekly e-mail tips that I sent to a group of people who signed up to receive them. Although time constraints eventually caused me to discontinue the series I enjoyed writing them, and I think the advice holds up. See for yourself.

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