The Sunday Jazz Brunch Presents

The Guitarists

Air Date: 2/25/2024 on 90.5 WICN 8am-12pm ET

Pop. Rock. Folk. Blues. Country. Classical. 

And, of course, Jazz.

The guitar is a prominent instrument in every western musical genre. It is amazingly versatile. Much like the piano, it can be used for both melody and harmony - in some cases, simultaneously!

Well that does it for my grand generalizations. Let's talk about The Jazz Guitarists!

The Jazz Guitarists

Look at that playlist! Tell me there aren't at least a few of your favorites in there.  Yes, I know there are some omissions, and if one of them is a favorite of yours, well, you'll notice it right away.

The thing is, even with four hours to play with, there isn't enough time to cover everyone. We go for breadth, as much as fits in four hours. You'll notice a few other artists in the mix on occasion - mostly vocalists, always new music.

Let's talk about a few of the guitarists you'll hear.

Kenny Burrell, for instance. The show opens with the Billy Strayhorn/Duke Ellington number Warm Valley. Listen to his tone. The emotion in his playing is so real. 

From the younger crowd, we have Sam Kirmayer from Montreal, Canada. Of all the young cats, his tone is my favorite. I love what he does with the organ trio featuring Ben Patterson on the B3.

Speaking of Canada, don't miss the artistry of Jocelyn Gould, from a bit further west in our great northern neighbor. She's been traveling the globe spreading the gospel of jazz guitar, quite nicely it seems, given all the attention she's been getting. It's well deserved.

The historically first jazz organ trio appears in your Contemplative Hour, with Wes on guitar and Mel Rhyne on the organ. (The original vinyl cover noted that this was a "dynamic new sound.") If you want to judge an artist's influence on others of his genre, then Wes is the most influential of all, given how many tribute songs and CDs have been released by other guitarists. As far as jazz guitar goes, he surely is The Man.

What About Joe?

Now, I know what a few of you are thinking - what about Joe Pass?  Isn't he also The Man? Well, the only problem here is, that there really hasn't been anybody who can play even remotely like Mr. Pass. Not that Wes can be imitated more easily, but Wes created a new style that is not as inaccessible as Joe's pyrotechnics. If you like, let's call it a draw. They are both geniuses in the field.

I have read interviews with several well-known guitarists who mentioned Barney Kessel as a significant influence. If you catch his version of  For My Love - with vibraphone! - you'll understand why.

One of the busiest working jazz guitarists today is Peter Bernstein. I am no longer surprised to see his name on any jazz release, often not only as a player, but also as a composer. If you are in the NYC area, you can probably grab some tickets to see him at one of the downtown clubs.

Ed Cherry is another in-demand guitarist. He has the sweetest licks, and he can also often be found gigging in the NYC area.

What can I say about George Benson? What he did for jazz guitar in the '70s was very similar to what Wes did in the '60s - he made jazz popular again. The critics moaned in both cases, but the public had a different opinion, as both became quite well-known and made good money. In Benson's case, he added his voice, and that boosted his popularity even more.

Tuck Andress is another superb exponent of the instrument. While he did perform solo, he is best known as half the duo with his wife, vocalist Patti Cathcart. I remember being thrilled when, early in my jazz explorations, I discovered the medley they performed of two of my favorite songs from Jimi Hendrix's Axis: Bold as Love album. You'll hear it in the second hour.

During Groove Hour you'll groove to folks like Chris Standring, Chuck Loeb, Lee Ritenour, and Norman Brown, to name a few. I know they would all tell you that Wes is a huge influence: each has done a song or entire CD tribute to The Man!

But all is not electric in Groove Hour. You'll hear John McLaughlin play his acoustic tribute to Lester Young. Also, you'll hear the amazing technical mastery of Pascale Grasso, whose notoriety has dramatically increased through his work with vocalist Samara Joy. Yes, he plays electric, but listen to his tone - it is almost acoustic.The show ends with a great acoustic number from Rhode Island native Frank Potenza. Here I must amend my prior statement. Mr. Potenza is one of few who can be said to come close to sounding like Joe. Have a listen and decide for yourself.

Yours in jazz,


Photo of Joe Pass by Tom Marcello Webster, New York, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

HOUR ONE: Contemplative Morning

Kenny Burrell\Lotus Blossom 1995\Warm Valley
Jim Hall-Duologues 2005-03 From E. To C
Stacey Kent\Summer Me Winter Me 10 A Song That Isn't Finished Yet
Dan Dean\Vocalise 2024\Prokofiev The Love of Three Oranges #3 March

Sam Kirmayer-High and Low-08 Recurrence 2018
Judy Whitmore\Come Fly With Me 2024\Around the World
Jocelyn Gould-Golden Hour 2022-09 Tides are Turning
Stella Bass\Look for the Silver Lining 2024\I Believe In You

Randy Napoleon\Rust Belt Roots 2021\04 The Man Who Sells Flowers
Silva & Steini\More Than You Know 2023\It Might As Well Be Spring
Wes Montgomery-Wes Montgomery with Melvin Rhyne-08 Yesterdays 1959
Vivian Sessoms-Life II-12 Remembrance - (Featuring Mary Lynn & Eds Chimes) (For Sybil) 2019
Barney Kessel & Friends-Barney Plays Kessel 1990-02 For My Love

HOUR TWO: New For You

Jim Rotondi\Finesse 2024\Dark Blue
Joe Pass-Virtuoso in New York 2004-03 We'll Be Together Again
Stacey Kent\Summer Me Winter Me 2024\Show Me
Russell Malone-Black Butterfly-11 Sno' Peas 1993

Goldings Bernstein Stewart-Perpetual Pendulum 2022-06 Come Rain or Come Shine feat Peter Bernstein
George Benson & Al Jarreau-Givin' It Up-01 Breezin' 2006
Ed Cherry-Soul Tree-04 Soul Eyes 2016
Earl Klugh-HandPicked-05 Cast Your Fate To The Wind 2013

Al Di Meola-Across the Universe-11 Julia-2020
Tuck & Patti-Love Warriors-08 Castles Made Of Sand - Little Wing 1989 feat Tuck Andress
Kenny Burrell & The Jazz Guitar Band-Pieces of Blue and the Blues-03 Blue Days, Blue Dreams-1988 feat Bobby Broom and Rodney Jones

HOUR THREE: Brazil/World

Sergio Pereira\Finesse 2022\Morning Mist
Mafalda Minnozzi\Natural Impression 2023\02 Começar De Novo feat Paul Ricci g
Greg Skaff Feat. Ron Carter & Albert Tootie Heath-Polaris 2021-11 Ill Wind
Chico Pinheiro\City Of Dreams 2020\Up in the Air
Celso Fonseca-10 Pousada (2005)
Charlie Byrd-Bossa Nova Pelos Passaros-09 Bim Bom 1963

Diego Figueiredo\Follow the Signs 2022\Dear John
Marco de Carvalho-For the Moment-14 Criança Nova 2003
John Pizzarelli-Bossa Nova-13 Soares Samba 2004
Jimmy Bruno-Solo-13 Giant Steps 2004
Ricardo Silveira-Noite Clara-03 Com O Tempo ( As Time Goes By) 2003

Ray Obiedo-Carousel-03 Villa Capri 2019
Peter Eldridge\Stranger in Town\Someone To Light Up My Life feat Romero Lubambo g
Oscar Castro-Neves-Playful Heart-01 Waters of March (Águas de Março) 2003
Pat Martino-All Sides Now 1997-06 Both Sides Now feat Cassandra Wilson v comp Joni Mitchell

HOUR FOUR: Groove, Baby

Chris Standring-Ten-10-never-too-late-m
Larry Carlton-Collection-11 Hello Tomorrow 1991
John McLaughlin-The Essential John McLaughlin (Disc One)-07 Goodbye Porkpie Hat 2007
Joyce Cooling-Global Cooling-06 Dolores In Pink 2009

Lee Ritenour-dreamcatcher-11 storyteller-
Chuck Loeb-eBop-01 eBop 2003
Samara Joy-Samara Joy 2021-02 Everything Happens to Me feat Pascale Grasso g
Chuck Yamek-Feels So Right-03 2003
Doc Powell-Doc Powell-05 Cab Ride 2006

Pat Metheny-Secret Story-09 See the World 1992
Chieli Minucci-Night Grooves-04 New Day 2003
Norman Brown-The Highest Act of Love-04 Spirit Power 2019
Ken Navarro-Slow Dance-04 Lady's Choice 2002
Frank Potenza-In My Dreams-04 In My Dreams 1999


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