Jazz guitarists are
guitarplayers who play jazzmusic on the guitar using an approach to playing chords, melodies, and improvised solo lines which is called jazz guitarplaying. The guitar has fulfilled the roles of accompanist (" rhythm guitar") and soloist in small and large ensembles and also as an unaccompanied solo instrument. Until the 1930s, before guitar amplifiers were widely used, it was difficult for jazz guitarists playing acoustic instruments to be heard over drums, piano or horn sections. As a result, jazz guitarists tended to act as accompanists, strumming chords as part of the rhythm section. Once the first guitar amplifiers were developed in the 1930s, electric guitarists such as George Barnesand Charlie Christianwere able to project their solo sound over a jazz ensemble. The history of jazz guitar has been an integral part of the wide-ranging history of jazz. The early guitar players were the great blues singers who accompanied themselves on the guitar. By the 1930s, guitarists gained prominence in jazz and some were even featured performers, such as Carl Kress(1907-1965), who recorded in 1927 with Bix Beiderbecke. In Europe, Django Reinhardt(1910-1953), a Belgian gypsy jazz guitarist recorded with his Quintette du Hot Club de France. Beginning in 1939, Charlie Christian played with Big BandSwing bandleader Benny Goodman, and in the bebopera, Tal Farlowwas notable for his virtuoso playing. In the 1960s, guitarists tended to play in small groups, such as Jim Hall, who did his best work in duos with Bill Evans, Ron Carterand others. Wes Montgomerywas a self-taught guitarist who used his right thumb rather than a plectrum(pick) to produce his unique sound in his late-1950s and 1960s hard boprecordings. Joe Passpioneered solo guitar with chordal substitutions in his duos with Ella Fitzgerald. Grant Green's was known for his funky 1970s organ triomusic. Fusion guitarists such as Larry Coryell(1943- ), John McLaughlin, Pat Metheny, and Allan Holdsworthcombined the sound and energy of rock with jazz-style improvisation.
1900s to 1920s
The history of the guitar in jazz is rooted in the great blues singers who accompanied themselves on the acoustic guitar, such as
Big Bill Broonzyand Huddy " Leadbelly" Ledbetter. The banjo, because of its loud volume, was an early stringed accompaniment instrument in jazz in New Orleansand Dixielandmusic. Banjoists such as Johnny St. Cyr (1890-1966) and Bud Scott (1890-1949) also played guitar in jazz bands of the 1910s-1920s.Summerfield, Maurice. 1998. The Jazz Guitar: Its Evolution, Players and Personalities Since 1900. United Kingdom: Ashley Mark Publishing.] Early jazz guitarists included Eddie Lang(1902-1933) [ [http://eddielang.com/ Eddie Lang ] ] , Nick Lucas(1897-1982) [ [http://www.nicklucas.com/ Nick Lucas, The Crooning Troubadour and his Guitar ] ] , Lonnie Johnson(1889-1970) and Snoozer Quinn(1906-1952).
Even as late as the early 1930s sophisticated jazz orchestras such as the
Duke Ellingtonband still used a banjo to provide a rhythmic pulse. During the 1930s, though, guitarists gained prominence in jazz and some were even featured performers. Carl Kress(1907-1965) [ [http://classicjazzguitar.com/artists/artists_page.jsp?artist=18 Classic Jazz Guitar - Guitarists ] ] and Dick McDonough(1904-1938) [ [http://classicjazzguitar.com/artists/artists_page.jsp?artist=46 Classic Jazz Guitar - Guitarists ] ] made an early guitar duo recording in 1934. Kress was featured with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra in 1926 and recorded in 1927 with Bix Beiderbecke. He initially played banjo and four-string guitar, changing over to six-string guitar in the 1930s. Kress used an unorthodox tuning that he created for himself. He played in the 1950s on the Gary Mooretelevision show and into the 1960s in a duo with George Barnes. McDonough led radio and performing bands and performed with many other musicians such as the Dorsey Brothers. Other successful jazz guitarists of the period included George Van Eps(1913-1998) and Freddie Green(1911-1987), who played rhythm guitar in the Count Basie Orchestrafor 50 years. George Van Eps(1913-1998) began recording as early as 1934 and taped his last records in 1996, along the way inventing the 7 string guitar in the 1950s [ [http://classicjazzguitar.com/artists/artists_page.jsp?artist=30. Classic Jazz Guitar - Guitarists ] ] In Europe, Django Reinhardt(1910-1953), a Belgian gypsy jazz guitarist recorded with his Quintette du Hot Club de Francewith violinist Stéphane Grappelli(1908 – 1997), a French jazz violinist. Reinhardt was an influential figure in jazz and among jazz guitarists as a soloist, accompanist and composer. [Delauney, Charles. 1981. Django Reinhardt. United Kingdom: Ashley Mark Publishing.] [Dregni, Michael. 2004. Django: The Life and Music of a Gypsy Legend. New York: Oxford University Press.] The Quintette du Hot Club de France included Django Reinhardt's brother Joseph Reinhardtas well as several other Gypsy guitarists and non-Gypsy musicians. Because of international commerce, records featuring Django Reinhardt were heard in the United States and inspired many future famous jazz guitarists. Django's early style was influenced by the jazz of the time, including Louis Armstrongand was later influenced by bebopmusicians such as Charlie Parkerand Dizzy Gillespie. In 1946, Duke Ellingtonbrought Django to the United States for a series of concerts.
Jazz guitar reached a watershed with the development of amplification using a magnetic pickup and amplifier. With its amplifier, an
electric guitarcould be as loud as horns, drums, and piano put together. This dramatically changed the way that the instrument could be used, because before amplification was available, the guitarist would just play chords, because single-note melodies would be inaudible. One of the very first jazz guitarists to experiment with the electric guitar was Eddie Durham(1906-1987) who was playing one as early as 1938. Durham showed the instrument to Charlie Christian(1916-1942) in 1937 and to Floyd Smith. On March 16, 1939 Smith recorded "Floyd's Guitar Blues," perhaps the first hit record featuring electric guitar. But it was Christian who was to become the central figure of the electric guitar revolution in jazz, playing with Benny Goodmanafter an audition on August 16, 1939. Christian was influenced by the records of Django Reinhardt, learning some of his solos note-for-note. Christian was diagnosed with tuberculosisin 1940 and died at the Seaview Sanatorium in Staten Islandin 1942.
The 1940s saw jazz guitarists become firmly established as soloists in their own right as well as accompanists. Playing with
Nat King Colebrought Oscar Moore(1916-1981) to prominence in jazz and popular music. Moore was a pioneer for the role of jazz guitar in the small jazz ensemble and played with Cole for nearly a decade [ [http://classicjazzguitar.com/artists/artists_page.jsp?artist=20 Classic Jazz Guitar - Guitarists ] ] . Moore also played with Lionel Hamptonand Art Tatum. Bill DeArango(1921-2005) played guitar with musicians of the caliber of Coleman Hawkinsand Dizzy Gillespie. [ [http://classicjazzguitar.com/artists/artists_page.jsp?artist=11 Classic Jazz Guitar - Guitarists ] ] . Billy Bauer(1915-2005) was a member of Woody Herman's first Herd and also played with Benny Goodmanand Jack Teagarden. Bauer was at the forefront of bringing the guitar into bebop, playing with Lennie Tristanoand later Lee Konitz[ [http://classicjazzguitar.com/artists/artists_page.jsp?artist=5 Classic Jazz Guitar - Guitarists ] ] .
1950s and 1960s
In the 1950s,
Herb Ellis' accomplished technique and elegant lines reached a wide public through the recordings of Oscar Peterson's trio. During the same time period, Tal Farlow's bebopvirtuoso playing did much to make up the ground between the guitar and the other "frontline" instruments such as saxophone and trumpet. Kenny Burrell(1931-) did recordings in the 1950s with Dizzy Gillespieand John Coltraneand led his own groups. Lenny Breau(1941-1984) performs using an ensemble improvisational playing, along with a more orchestral fingerstyle solo jazz guitar. He used many diverse elements of music, including closed voicings, flamencostyle guitar, use of varied rhythms, fingered harmonics, modal jazz harmony,an intimate knowledge of inversions and tritone substitutions, and a great understanding of bebop. Charlie Byrd(1925-1999) did nylon-string guitar recordings with saxophone player Stan Getzwhich helped popularize Brazilian bossa novaand sambamusic in North America.
Jim Hall is a masterful melodic player,
composer, and arrangerwho did his best work in duos with Bill Evans, Ron Carterand others. Hall has a melody-based, motivicapproach to improvisation. Wes Montgomerywas a self-taught guitarist who used his right thumb rather than a plectrum(pick) to produce his unique sound in his late-1950s and 1960s hard boprecordings. Joe Passpioneered solo guitar with chordal substitutions in his duos with Ella Fitzgerald. George Benson(1943-)'s success as a pop vocalist in the 1970s made him a household name, but he was an influential jazz guitarist in the 1960s, particularly with his organ triorecordings with organist Jack MacDuff. Grant Green's funky 1970s organ triomusic makes him a favourite with 2000s-era lounge and club DJ's, but much of Green's best jazz work can be found in his 1960s output. The king of the descending blues lick, Grant Green's deceptively simple style was full of groove and tone, and it is hard to replicate. Fusion guitarist Larry Coryell(1943-) was among the first to combine the sound and energy of rock with jazz lines in the late 1960s.
1970s and 1980s
John McLaughlin pioneered jazz-rock fusion in the 1970s. John Abercrombie has recorded with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette and the Brecker Brothers. He also explores often the parameters of jazz fusion and post bop.
Pat Methenyis a Missouri-based guitarist and leader of his own band, the Pat Metheny Groupwith Lyle Mayson piano. work. Mike Stern, who came to prominence with Miles Davisduring the 1980s, has a unique take on fusing blues rockguitar with be-boplines in extended improvisations. Bill Frisellintroduced folk and bluegrass musicinto jazz, use of intervals rather than single lines, combining harmonics and fretted notes. John Scofieldplayed and collaborated with performers such as Miles Davis, and Billy Cobham, and groups such as Medeski Martin & Wood. At ease in the bebop idiom, Scofield is also well versed in jazz fusion, funk, blues, and soul.
1990s and 2000s
Stanley Jordanis an American jazz/jazz fusion guitarist, best known for his development of the touch technique for playing guitar. John Pizzarelliis a jazz guitarist, singer, songwriter who scat sings in unison with his guitar line. Randy Napoleoncomposes, arranges, and performs in the tradition of Wes Montgomery. Reviewer Ken Dryden from the "All Music Guide" notes that "Napoleon consistently shows that he is in full command of his instrument without resorting to overindulgent solos like many young players".
Charlie Christian at wwwallaboutjazz.com [http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/musician.php?id=5699]
List of jazz guitarists- a list of guitarists from a broad range of jazz subgenres
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