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Jazz Advice

If You Love Jazz Guitar…

Chuck Anderson

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The Jazz Guitar Style is, to me, an art form – not a commercial form.

That’s the good news and the bad news. The good news is that you are free to pick your repertoire and your style without commercial influences. The bad news is that it’s harder to make a living in this field than it is in rock, country or blues. 

There is the old joke about the difference between a rock guitar player and a jazz guitar player. The rock guitar player plays 3 chords for 30,000 people and the jazz guitar player plays 30,000 chords for 30 people. 

There was a point where George Benson told me that he was discouraged by playing for such small crowds in the jazz genre. He wanted to share his music with a wider audience so he moved into a more R&B direction and began singing. His success has been huge. 

Not everyone plays the guitar, especially the jazz guitar, with fame and fortune in mind.

The love of the music, the sound and the style becomes more important than the outer trappings of success. This can be said about most of the arts from painting to dance to poetry. 

If you love the jazz guitar, throw yourself into it! Don’t compromise. Play what you love. 

Bill Evans said in an interview with Marian McPartland, that you should not follow trends or audiences. Play what you love and hope the world makes room for you! 

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