| About Me
I first picked up a guitar when I was about seven years
old. Apparently my first guitar teacher thought it was
all some kind of joke as I was really too small to get
my arms around even a child size guitar.
The lessons didn’t last. Maybe I wasn’t getting much
satisfaction from playing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little
Flash forward a few years and I’m in my early teens
playing (quite illegally but nobody really cared so much
about child labour back in the 1970s) in a rock and roll
band in the various bars and clubs in the city centre.
We were lucky to have BBC television and especially BBC2
which had a strong focus on the arts. There was a show
featuring the Canadian pianist Oscar Peterson where he
would play jazz and feature a variety of guests. One
night his guest was the solo jazz guitar wizard Joe
Pass. I remembered watching, jaw open to the floor, as
he performed stunning versions of tunes I remembered
hearing my mother singing as she drove along in her car.
I was later to learn that these songs “All the Things
You Are”, “Misty” and the like were at the heart of what
many refer to as “The Great American Song Book”.
The next day’s water cooler gossip was heatedly centered
around Joe’s amazing performance and we all quickly
agreed that he was actually from Mars, sent to frustrate
us with the impossible and so we moved on with our
The following years were good to me. I landed a job as a
touring session guitarist playing bars and hotels in
Denmark, my first professional gig. As I met more and
more similar musicians on the road my contacts grew and
the phone never stopped ringing. I would end one tour
and immediately start on another. This was the high life
as far as I was concerned but one thing was bugging me.
I knew that I would never be satisfied as a musician
until I had, at least, tried my hand as a jazz musician.
So one day the phone rang and I did what I had never
done for the previous ten years. I said no! That was the
last time the phone rang.
Adjusting from being a, basically pop/rock, guitarist to
a jazz player was a life changing experience for me. I
had to re-learn the instrument completely, change
everything about the kind of guitar I was used to
playing. Essentially I had to begin again.
It was worth it. 25 years on and I’m still in the game.
Still learning, still growing, still finding new and
exciting musical avenues to pursue.
That’s the great thing about jazz. Whoever you are,
you’ll always be a student. It will always be bigger
than you. Even the greatest of the masters would
probably tell you that anybody who says they “know jazz”
probably doesn’t know that much at all.
Stay hungry. See you out there!