Category Archives: Guitar

Tom Griesgraber

Artist Profile:

Tom Griesgraber

tom_griesgraber_5Until you’ve seen it performed live, the music of Chapman Stick player Tom Griesgraber sounds too big to be real. There are acoustic guitar or piano-like moments, funk rock bass lines, ambient synth and soundscape textures, rock guitar leads, jazz solos and even small bits of percussion sometimes all happening simultaneously. To the uninitiated listener it sounds like an ensemble, but to those who have seem him live, it is the magic of a unique virtuoso.

As an honors graduate of the renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1995, Tom had already developed a strong foundation in the mechanics of music along with a thorough proficiency on the electric guitar. But he yearned for more: he became weary of conventional methods and was compelled to seek out a more atypical means of making music.

This soul-searching came to a new beginning when Tom discovered the Chapman Stick, taking up the unique 12-string instrument shortly after watching a performance by Tony Levin with Jerry Marotta and Steve Gorn in 1997. In a dramatic move, Tom put his creative career on hold, set aside the guitar, and focused on the fresh and still mostly unexplored territory of the often unrecognized Chapman Stick. “Logically that decision didn’t make much tom_griesgraber_3sense,” says Griesgraber. “It really felt like starting over, but I just knew I had to do it. I believe every one of us has a purpose in life and if we concentrate on doing what we feel called to do, no matter the risks, things work out for the best.”

Developed by musician Emmett Chapman in the early 70s, The Chapman Stick used by Griesgraber combines six guitar strings tuned in fourths with six bass strings tuned in fifths. Notes are “tapped” rather than strummed allowing the player to create separate parts in each hand with a variety of guitar and bass-like sounds. Taking things even further, Tom adds a third synthesizer output on the guitar side and incorporates live looping and synth pedals into his performances.

Today Griesgraber is one of the world’s most respected and active performers on The Stick. He has toured as an opening act and guest for more than eighty US shows with the California Guitar Trio, toured the US and Europe with drummer Jerry Marotta as the duo Marotta/Griesgraber and opened numerous shows for artists like The Tony Levin Band, The League of Crafty Guitarists, The Dixie Dregs, Steve Hackett, Adrian Belew, Al Dimeola, Stanley Jordan, Bill Bruford’s Earthworks, Larry Carlton and Steve Lukather, Muriel Anderson, Tower of Power, Asia, Michael Manring, Tim Reynolds, Jazz Mandolin Project and The Bad Plus. At the request of Recording Academy (Grammy’s) president Neil Portnow, he has also performed for the Academy’s Board of Trustees as well as the Academy’s Holiday Party and the 2004 Grammy Awards Show Post Party. In addition to his solo performances, Tom also performs regularly with his group Agent 22 and as a duo with Bert Lams of the California Guitar Trio.

To date, Griesgraber has released seven recordings; two solo albums, two with his group Agent 22, two with guitarist Bert Lams and one as a collaboration with drummer Jerry Marotta. All of them reflect both his live shows and his eclectic tastes in music, with pieces ranging in style from progressive or “art” rock to jazz, acoustic music and ambient electronic. “Sketchbook,” his most recent solo release is perhaps the most diverse of all and features stunning contributions from musicians Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson), Bert Lams (California Guitar Trio), Peter Sprague (Chick Corea) and Ryan Moran (Agent 22, Slightly Stoopid).

Timothy Young

Artist Profile:

Timothy Young

Timothy Young began playing guitar at age 5 under tutelage of Sister Margaruite of the Sacred Heart Convent in Menlo Park, CA.

His formative years were spent daydreaming and playing theatrical games in the graveyard and in the creek which wound through the eucalyptus trees to the S.F. Bay. At age 11, he formed QBXA with his best friend and inspiration, Greg Peters. Together they made the transition from air-guitaring to the Rolling Stones to writing and playing their own songs.

After a brief stint in The Boxing Kangaroos (a band comprised of students of Toby Germano), he was ready to lead his own band, as he did throughout high school, eventually teaming up with Paul Moore (formerly Paul Regoli) and congealing into Twilight Breakfast. They recorded an E.P. which had moderate success on Bay Area radio station Live 105, with Timothy's song, "The Saddest Day." In 1988, Timothy relocated to Seattle and played in a series of bands including Action Buddy, God Ball, the Scabs, finally settling in with the Scallywags, a ten year collaboration with Mike Coffey (bass/guitar) and Mike Stone (drums). They released "Tourette's Syndrome," a mighty 24 song cd in 1995.

In 1996, Timothy released his first solo record, "With Very Special People," a project that expanded his skills as a composer and arranger. Another great learning experience has been his collaboration with friend and inspiration, Eyvind Kang (violin/ viola) as Chunky Wedgies (with Geoff Harper - bass) in Nades (1-10) on recordings (Eyvind's cds on Tzadik) and later with Los Parasitos and Virginal Coordinates (feat, Mike Patton). Working with Eyvind has been pivotal in Timothy's development as a musician.

In 1996 Wayne Horvitz (keyboard - Naked City) formed Zony Mash with Andy Roth (drums) and Fred Chalenor, then later Keith Lowe (bass) and Timothy (guitar). They toured Europe, Canada, the US and even Iceland, releasing 7 (and counting) cds along the way. Now called Sweeter than the Day, they continue to play select engagements around the world. After leaving the Scallywags in 1999, Timothy started his own band, and along with Paul Moore, led the group through many changes; from Very Special Forces - a 5 piece psycho punk / no wave unit, to VSF - psychedelic shock-pop, to V - the 40 piece unicorn rock orchestra currently working on the song cycle "The Fool," to be released next year.

In August of 2006, Timothy and Eryn, his wife of 6 years, relocated to LA. With Eryn on drums/vox and John Schuller on bass, they are The Youngs and with their second cd, "Hand Up, Head Down" finished, they will be performing in and around LA, with plans to tour in the near future. Their first cd, self titled, was released on Web of Mimicry in 2004. In LA, Timothy will be playing more with his rock dream band, THRUSTER! - Matt Chamberlain (drums) and Kaveh Rastegar (bass). They will be releasing a record this year, but the thrill is playing live - where they play from their animal brain - graceful, powerful and terrifying.

Other notable engagements include playing with David Sylvian (Everything and Nothing tour 2001-02), working with Robin Holcomb - live and on "The Big Time" (Nonesuch Records 2003) performing with Sam Rivers and Julian Priester and playing with Michael White, Cecil MacBee and Kenneth Nash on Michael's recent cd, Voices. For Timothy, music has been a refuge, a teacher and a realm of healing and transformation. He is grateful for the opportunity to touch and be touched through music

Tim Reeder

Artist Profile:

Tim Reeder

tim_reeder_1Tim Reeder Baritone and Tenor Vocalist, Martin Tenor Guitar and Ukulele. Tim has been writing songs and singing his whole life. His introduction to singing barbershop started in High School, where his music teacher, Ron Browne ("Dapper Dans" and "Yerfadder's Mustache" fame), taught him the harmony ropes.

He first performed on national television in 1976 with his Barbershop Quartet, "The Hotshots." In 1978 his college quartet was hired to sing weekends at Disneyland. An accomplished musician, Tim's prowess on tenor guitar, his ability to sing alto and scat, plus his love for swing music, lead him to form his own 1930's-era vocal jazz group called "Vocalworks."  This "hip" group, prominently featured Tim's scat-singing and ukulele playing. In addition, they were featured on Garrison Keillor's national radio show, "A Prairie Home Companion." tim_reeder_2

Tim's wife Debbie sings soprano with the group, along with former Dapper Dan alumni Bruce Cooper, and on stand up bass, "Magic" Dave Eastly. Vocalworks has appeared in various countries, including Sweden. Tim has appeared on television, in commercials, and the legitimate stage too. You've probably seen and herd him on "Home Improvement," "Gilmore Girls," "That 70s Show," Disney's "Haunted Mansion" starring Eddie Murphy, and Holiday commercials for "" to name a few.

Tim is a member of the Frank Thorne Chapter of SPEBSQSA and is a native of Mississippi. Tim and his wife Debbie (also a musician), live in Capistrano Beach with their two sons who are both aspiring musicians.

Tadeu Do Amaral

Artist Profile:

Tadeu Do Amaral

tadeu_do_amaral_1Born in São Paulo, TADEU DO AMARAL studied with important Brazilian musicians, such as the legendary guitar teacher Isaias Savio, Leo Soares and Claudio Santoro. He took part in many music seminars including one led by Alberto Ginastera.

Beside a solo career including performances in major concerts halls in Brazil, always to enthusiastic critical acclaim, he has collaborated with many prominent musicians in that country, such as Flávio Stein, Eduardo Gramani, Angela Barra and Ricardo Lopes Garcia.

Through a variety of activities in the State of Santa Catarina, where he lives at present, he has had a pioneering role in teaching and widening the appreciation of the guitar in a region where it was almost unknown. In recent years he has participated as a teacher in many music festivals in Brazil.
Since 1985, when he gave a series of recitals of works by English composers, Tadeu do Amaral has specialized in presenting comprehensive cycles, such as the complete guitar works by the Polish composer Alexandre Tansman and the complete lute works of Bach.

He released the CDs "Musica Espanhola" and the collected works of Mexican composer Manuel Ponce, and both were highly praised in journals such as Classic CD and Guitar Player.

In recent years, do Amaral has been closely involved in launching Brazil's EGTA label, and among his projects as producer and editor were the series "Great Guitarists" and "The History of Brazilian Music."

Steve Cardenas

Artist Profile:

Steve Cardenas

steve_cardenas_1Steve Cardenas has diverse credits as a performer and recording artist. Having started his musical career in Kansas City, he is now an integral part of the jazz community in New York.

Cardenas has backed up such greats as Eddie Harris, Marilyn Maye, Jay McShann, and Slide Hampton. He has toured Europe extensively including performances at various jazz festivals which include the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland on three separate occasions and the North Sea Jazz Festival two times. In recent years, hesteve_cardenas_2 regularly performed with such diverse artists as Maria Muldaur, Paul McCandless of the group Oregon, trumpeters/composers Mark Isham and Jeff Beal, bassists Charlie Haden and Marc Johnson, and newcomer Norah Jones. Currently he is a member of the Paul Motian Electric Bebop Band, as well as a quartet led by drummer Joey Baron called "Killer Joey". In addition to this, he leads his own group performing at various venues around New York City.

Along with his performing and recording experience, Cardenas is an instructor at the New School in New York as well as teaching private lessons on his own. Most recently, Steve was guest faculty for the 2003 winter/spring semester at California Institute of the Arts. Other teaching positions in the past have included the "Integrated Arts in Education" program through the Stamford Symphony Orchestra, the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, California, and jazz workshops at Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Camps. Also, in collaboration with editor/record producer Don Sickler, Cardenas completed work on a book of Thelonious Monk's compositions through Hal Leonard Publishing. The Thelonious Monk Fakebook marks the premier publishing of all of Monk's compositions together with many of them appearing for the first time.

Just released in fall 2003 is Steve's new CD, Panoramic, for Fresh Sound New Talent Records. As on his previous release, Shebang, this CD features Larry Grenadier on bass and Kenny Wollesen on drums, with Tony Malaby added on tenor saxophone.

Soren Reiff

Artist Profile:

Soren Reiff

soren_reiff_1With his abillity to play virtually all styles of guitar on jingles, film tracks and Cd's - pumping out solid rythm comp on the club scene, and sending scorching solos into the homes of a million plus Danish television viewers, it's no wonder he plays about 250 gigs a year.

In 1981
Reiff jr. graduated from highschool, and started his musical education, at the music school in Holstebro.

In 1982 he moved to Copenhagen and started playing with the pros in Denmark.

In 1986 he was introduced to bandleader Jan Glæsel and started working in his band. This let him to play with such stars as Randy Crawford, Robert Palmer, Paul Young, Curtis Stigers and Toots Thielemanns not to mention the cream of the Danish music scene.

1991-1994 Reiff jr. played in the houseband of "Meyerheim & co." a Danish version of The Tonight Show.

In 1995 he did the Danish vesion of the TV-show "Don't forget Your Toothbrush".soren_reiff_2

In 1996 he worked on "Safari" a live Standup TV-show (like Saturday Night Live), shown Saturday night.

In 1996 Reiff jr. founded the music company DaRoof.

Spring 1997 Reiff jr. was musical director of the TV-show "It's Saturday Night" a show with a market share of 45%.

During 1997 junior also did all the musical arranging on the TV-show "Mandagschancen".

Reiff jr. was included in the "International Who's Who In Music".

For 3 seasons Reiff jr. was the musical director of the TV-show "The Big Class Reunion" which featured artists like David Sanborn, Mark King and Chaka Khan. This show had a market share of 67 % !!

During spring 2000 Reiff jr. lived in New York composing and producing. One of the songs he wrote and produced was "Who Would You Be".

In 2001 junior toured with Danish Music Awards winner: Infernal and nominee : Blue Eyes/Julie Rugaard.

September 2001 Reiff jr. played several concerts in Malaysia and during November he toured with the outstanding keyboard player David Garfield from LA.

For the third time Reiff jr. was the musical director of the "New Year Show of ARTE". ARTE is the biggest management-agency in Denmark - and the show featured more than 150 artists.

2003 Reiff jr released Funky Flavas - a cd with his own material. One of the songs (written while Reiff jr. lived in Italy during November and December 2002) is sung by Michael Ruff and one of the tracks features Mike Stern.

During spring 2004 Reiff jr recorded and produced the album: "Pop Bag Baren". This album features 12 Danish recording artists.

During summer and fall 2004 Reiff played again some outstanding concerts with David Garfield and his band.

Scott Ray

Artist Profile:

Scott Ray

scott_rayMulti-instrumentalist Scot Ray is an active and innovative musician/composer. Equally fluid on trombone, tuba, and dobro slide guitar, Ray has been featured on over five dozen recordings.

Sandro Albert

Artist Profile:

Sandro Albert

sandro_albert_1Brazilian guitarist, composer and arranger Sandro Albert is captured live at the Baked Potato in North Hollywood. His excellent band features Jimmy Branly on drums, Katisse Buckingham on woodwinds and vocals, Chris Golding on bass, Quinn Johnson on keyboards, and special guest Mark Ledford on percussion vocals and trumpet.

Sandro Albert, has worked as a sideman for major artists in his native Brazil for the past 15 years. Since his arrival in the U.S., he has worked with Jazz vocalist Brenda Russell, Milton Nacimiento, Luis Conte, and R&B/funk group WAR, among others. At age thirteen, Albert’s grandmother gave him his first guitar. Not long afterwards a friend began to share his jazz collection with him. Some of his earliest influences were Wes Montgomery, Miles Davis, and Brazilian icons Milton Nacimiento and Jobim. As Guitar Player magazine states, "Wow! Sandro Albert shows talent, versatility, and great taste with his first solo record, Soulful People." sandro_albert_2

Jimmy Branly, Drums—Born in Havana, Cuba in 1979, Jimmy Branly started playing drums at the age of thirteen with friends from different musical schools. In 1998, Jimmy moved to Los Angeles where he has played with musicians such as Cecilia Noel and the Wild Clams, Otmaro Ruiz, Sheila E. Band, Luis Conte Band, Struz and Farah, Oscar Cartaya, The Nieves, Brandon Fields Band, Steve Tavaglione, David Garfield, Justo Almario, Airto Moreira and Flora Purim.

Ron Eschete

Artist Profile:

Ron Eschete

ron_eschete_1Ron Escheté is originally from Louisiana and grew up playing the Blues, eventually playing in most of the major Blues clubs on New Orleans famous Bourbon Street. Ron studied classical guitar and flute at Loyola University and moved to California in 1970. In 1975 he joined pianist Gene Harris and quickly established his reputation. He has played with all the jazz greats, including Ella Fitzgerald, Diana Krall, Dizzy Gillespie, Milt Jackson, Ray Brown, and Ernestine Anderson and many others.

In addition to playing and recording, Ron has taught for twenty five years at some of the nation’s major universities North Texas State Universily, Utah State University, California State University at Long Beach, California State University at Fullerton and Musician’s Institute in Hollywood.

He is the author of several books on jazz guitar.

Ron is a master of the 7-string guitar and his chords are exquisite, the Bill Evans of the jazz guitar. Because of the seventh string, he sometimes sounds as though two people are playing.

Dr. Herb Wong says of Ron “As a leader, soloist, arranger and accompanist, Ron’s wherewithal is armed with Protean strengths and vitality, enhanced with eloquent harmonic and melodic language.”

ron_eschete_2Ron Escheté (pronounced ESH-tay) is the consummate master of the seven-string guitar. Whether he is playing bebop, ballads or blues he is a musically sophisticated guitarist who plays with grace and dignity. "Escheté is one of the finest jazz guitarists in L.A. – no small achievement in a region dense with superb players," says Jim Ferguson of JazzTimes. His deft and nimble fingers paint a spectrum of sound so rich that his voicings are often compared with those of a pianist. 20th Century Guitar likens his sound to that of the great Bill Evans.

Escheté is currently performing and recording with the Ron Escheté Trio, featuring Todd Johnson on six-string bass and Kendall Kay on drums. While he has long been regarded as one of the finest guitarists in mainstream jazz, now Escheté ranks as an innovative leader for his work with this ensemble. "The Escheté trio is as polished as the classic Modern Jazz Quartet… This is a unit that speaks with a single voice. It is a voice of brilliant musical reason." – Jim Merod, Jazz News. What is most unique about the sound of this trio is the depth and texture created by the coupling of Escheté’s seven strings with Johnson’s six strings. The outcome – "a rich tapestry of melody, harmony and teamwork," says Hal Howland for Modern Drummer Magazine.

ron_eschete_3Escheté was born in 1948 in Houma, Louisiana, and not surprisingly his early influences were jazz masters Jim Hall, Howard Roberts and Wes Montgomery. After receiving his first guitar at the age of 14, Escheté joined a quartet and was working clubs in Louisiana before he had even graduated from high school. He attended Loyola University where he majored in classical guitar and minored in flute. While there he studied with classical guitarist Paul Guma.

Shortly after Escheté left Loyola he was tapped to tour with Buddy Greco. While on tour with Greco, Escheté set his sites on the Los Angeles music scene. In 1970 Escheté relocated to California, working and recording with vibist Dave Pike. Then in 1975 he joined forces with pianist Gene Harris and quickly establish his reputation as a premier accompanist. Over the decades Escheté has worked with the greatest artists in jazz including: Ella Fitzgerald; Sarah Vaughn; Diana Krall; Dizzy Gillespie; Milt Jackson; Ray Brown and many more.

Escheté has appeared on the Tonight Show with Diana Krall, the Merv Griffin Show with the Mort Lindsey Orchestra, the Mike Douglas Show with Buddy Greco. He has played nearly every notable jazz venue in the southern California including the Catalina Bar and Grill, The Jazz Bakery, Steamers, Donté's, Carmelo’s, The Parisian Room and The Lighthouse to name only a few. He has toured extensively and has played major venues from New York to San Francisco.

Escheté cites a 1988 gig in San Diego as a critical turning point in his career. There he began to shed his reputation as the quintessential sideman; he stepped to the center of the stage and he began exploring original material. "Long considered to be one of the finest guitarists in mainstream jazz by musicians and listeners alike, he has now taken over the reins, and "innovative leader" might be a better appellation," says preeminent jazz critic, Zan Stewart. In 1994 he released his first solo recording for Concord entitled, A Closer Look (CCD-4607), showcasing his masterful fingerstyle sound and his seven-string Benedetto arch-top. In addition to this solo recording Escheté has recorded three CDs with his trio (Softwinds, CCD-4737; Rain Or Shine, CCD-4665; and Mo’ Strings Attached, TJA-10020) and is currently working on a 4th recording to be titled Live at Rocco.

While his career has been primarily focused on performance, this master musician has dedicated nearly twenty five years to teaching music at many colleges and univesities, including among oth-ers: North Texas State University, Utah State University, Loyola University, Louisiana State University at New Orleans, California State Universities at Long Beach and Fullerton, and Musician’s Institute in Hollywood. He has authored three books: Melodic Chord Phrases (R.E.H Publications), The Jazz Guitar Soloist (Alfred Publications), and a book of Howard Roberts solos entitled Super Solos (Payback Publications).

Ron Escheté has been described as a masterful musical chameleon, switching melodic lines and ideas with cool efficiency and beauty. He transforms from accompanist to soloist to band-leader; from musical master to musical mentor.

…Escheté is one of the best there is at playing the "traditional" melodic jazz guitar style; a keeper of the flame. – Adrian Ingram, Just Jazz Guitar


Robin Henkel

Robin Henkel


robin_henkel_1Robin Henkel is known in his hometown (San Diego, CA) as a blues artist specializing in slide guitar and the styles of the Mississippi delta. Because of this reputation, his CD "Highway," although deep in American roots, is not what many of his fans expected. This music is a thoughtful blend of swing, funk, Latin, with jazz horn arrangement, slide and steel guitar. Although not a blues CD, Highway won Best Blues CD at the San Diego Music Awards 2000.robin_henkel_2

Cuts like "Steel Swing" and "Mahtochiquala 1" are reminiscent of a period in American music when the steel guitar (popular in Hawaiian and country music) met with the horn arrangement of the big bands. This was a rich (and almost forgotten) moment in our musical culture.

San Diego Union columnist Mike Kinsman wrote "as a guitar player Robin can play blues, jazz, funk, country swing, Hawaiian and Latin music. He borrows from each of those styles when he performs and sometimes even surprises himself."

robin_henkel_3The Los Angeles Times said "Robin is a futurist and a historian."

Robin has opened shows for Bonnie Raitt, John McLaughlin, Dizzy Gilespie, Charles Brown, Dr John, Arlo Guthrie and Willie Nelson.

Robin has performed with Big Jay McNealy, Eddie Kirkland, Sha Na Na, Johnny Almond, Jimmy Witherspoon and Papa John Creach.

Robin performed blues with the San Diego Symphony as a special featured guest artist during the Summer Pops Concert Series 2002.

Robin Henkel has been teaching at the Blue Guitar since 1980, giving instruction in guitar, bass, slide guitar, lap steel, open tunings, blues, jazz, theory, and rhythm. Robin performs with his own group and others in the San Diego area and has also performed with John Hammond, Eddie Kirkland, Sha Na Na, Lowell Fulson, Johnny Almond, Jimmy Witherspoon, Big Jay McNealy, Papa John Creach, and Buddy Miles .

"Robin Henkel is a futurist and a historian" - Los Angeles Times
"Robin's live shows are nothing short of inspirational" - 360 Degrees
"You can almost hear the scratches on the 78" - San Diego Reader