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My Top 10 Influential​ Jazz Songs – Taylor Roberts



Wes Montgomery – No Blues

On the first track from my own personal Holy Grail of Jazz Guitar, “Smokin at the Half Note,” Wes gives a masterclass on phrasing, development, and the importance of the blues in this music. Staring out with perfectly stated, single-note lines, then developing into his signature octaves, and finally with “shout chorus” chord-solo melodies, this perfect template has influenced countless other players for decades, including myself.

Tommy Emmanuel – Over the Rainbow

One of Tommy’s signature standbys. He’s one of a small handful of guitarists who can truly make the instrument SING. Add that to the fact that his harp-harmonic work is arguably the best of anyone alive today, and you wind up with a lyrical, emotional, and authentic take on the classic Harold Arlen tune.

Charlie Hunter – Just a Closer Walk with Thee

Finally, my greatest influence over the past 4 years. As an extended-range guitarist myself, Charlie’s playing spoke to me immediately upon my first listen. It’s not only his deeply blues-rooted playing that gets me. More than anything, it’s his POCKET. So overlooked by many guitarists in my opinion. While this take is in the solo format, he regularly plays duos with drummers, and is a drummer himself. A constant reminder that, to me, time is the most important thing.

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