Jazz guitar music: five jazz musicians who made magic with strings

  • Jazz is a musical genre with a strong identify and which is now fully mature and developed. In the early days of jazz, the guitar was considered to be more of a rhythmic section instrument, along with the bass guitar and drums. One of the characteristics of jazz is the “struggle” between the instruments to stand out and express themselves. 

    How did the classic guitar distinguish itself and reach the deserved level of prominence it has today? Without a doubt, the talent of the following jazz players has a lot to do with guitar music taking off in this genre.

     

    -Django Reinhardt. This Belgian pioneer revolutionised the musical concept of the guitar in jazz. With only two useful fingers on his left hand, this legend could play the guitar with a dizzying, cheerful, flexible, and fresh style.

     

    -Wes Montgomery. Instead of plucking the strings with many fingers, as with the Spanish guitar, this jazz immortal used only his thumb as a pick and achieved a surprisingly clean, but also dark and serious sound. He was a pioneer in the use of octaves, something practically unheard of in the old jazz.

     

    -Joe Pass. He brought a clean and crisp sound with delicate phrasing to jazz. He was a master of counterpoint and melodic chords. An adaptable player who was a great soloist but who could also envelop Ella Fitzgerald in warm discretion.

     

    -Jim Hall. A classically-trained jazz master, he redefined the sound of the electric guitar and with his subtle and spaced phrasing: he insisted on decorating the silence; not by filling it, rather he attacked the sound vacuum. Imaginative, delicate, and warm. He was fond of duets with other instrumentalists whom, rather than playing with, he conversed with.

     

    -Grant Green. The “father of acid jazz”. The neat, eclectic, and unsurpassable king of improvisation. Unpredictable and elaborate. He transmitted a groove and an elegant and exquisite feeling with his guitar. An authentic musical experience.
     

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