Are you ready? Then put down that sunblock, because it’s time for another frankmarzano.com newsletter!
Q: What’s the difference between a rock guitarist and a jazz guitarist?
A: A rock guitarist knows four chords and plays to 1000 people. A jazz guitarist knows 1000 chords and plays to four people.
Well, I don’t know 1000 chords, but I did play to four people (cumulatively) during my recent gigs in Waterford and Cambridge Springs last month. One of them was a musician I knew from the Erie music scene. He raved about what a great guitarist I was. But when I asked if he could put in a good word for me at some of the venues he plays at, he became strangely demure. Perhaps he saw it as a “zero-sum” situation, in which any gig I got would be a gig he didn’t get.
Certainly such an attitude goes against nature. An oak tree produces over 1000 acorns a year. A watermelon contains nearly 1000 seeds. We live in a self-regenerating world. How, then, did humans acquire the fear of there not being “enough to go around”?
But on to happier news… My second album of guitar instrumentals, Solo Jazz Guitar, is available for free download at my website:
I also have some more gigs coming up:
Sat. 8/6 noon – 2 pm Meadville Market House
Sat. 8/20 12:45 – 1:15 Celebrate Erie
Sat. 9/10 noon – 2 pm Meadville Market House
Sat. 9/17 benefit for the Waterford Library (location and time TBA)
In addition, I’ve also been hitting up some open mic nights. I’ve been critical of open mic nights in the past; many venues use them as a ploy to have live music without paying the performers. But I think they’re fine for up-and-coming musicians (which, in the field of jazz guitar, is pretty much what I am).
Finally, a few more insights I’ve gleaned while playing jazz guitar:
1) When I began playing jazz guitar, I chose songs that I thought would be easy for me to learn. However, I quickly surrendered to the reality that jazz guitar involves a certain degree of difficulty. The guitar is great for beginner-level songs (“Wild Thing”, “Louie Louie”, etc.), but it’s a lot less friendly to jazz. Jazz guitar is hard, but the effort required is amply rewarded by the beauty of the music that results.
2) Everyone’s hands work differently. There are some fingerings you simply won’t be able to do. (There are many fingerings that I’m unable to do.) In such cases, find another way to play the song, even if it means altering or eliminating notes.
Finally, a huge thanks to all of you for supporting and encouraging me as I work to keep this style of guitar playing alive.
Rock long and prosper,