Friday, November 2, 2012


I created this blog to document my experiences learning to play jazz guitar. Before you dismiss this project as yet another narcissistic exercise in self-promotion or self-help (I can see that dismissive smirk...really, I can), let me try to explain. Learning to play jazz is hard, really hard. Besides working with many great teachers face-to-face, I have found the web to be an invaluable tool. So many terrific blogs, websites, and videos are out there, and I have a learned a lot from them. It is time, I think, to give back a little and share my experiences. More than just a document of my progress, I hope the blog can be also be a guide to some of the better digital resources out there. And I also want to use this space to share some of my own documents, especially musical transcriptions and exercises.

To get this started I am uploading a recently completed transcription of Jim Hall's marvelously concise solo on Stella by Starlight, from his 1957 Pacific Jazz record, Jazz Guitar. I initially found another transcription here, but I wasn't happy with it and decided to just start from scratch (note that it is written for guitar, so it sounds an octave lower than written). There are many things to say about this, but I was drawn to the solo mostly because I was so impressed by the strength of the melodic lines, how they carry through the changes. Right now I often feel "trapped" in the changes, even as I am starting to hear lines that, while marking the changes, have enough coherence to sound free of them. My favorite Hall solo—his first chorus on "I've Got You Under My Skin," from Intermodulations (with Bill Evans, 1966)—embodies this idea even more strongly. If you don't feel like doing it yourself, guitarist Steve Khan has a transcription on his great website ( 

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