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New JGT Video, Guitarist John Stowell Performs an Original Composition, ‘Rain Painting’



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Guitarist and JGT contributor, John Stowell provides the transcribed music and video performance for this original composition.

John Stowell: I always compose on the guitar, and my songs begin as simple comping exercises looking for a few new voicings or placing some chords that I just found in a voice-leading context so that I can retain them. I don’t consciously avoid diatonic harmony, and some of my tunes do have the occasional II-V-I, but I let the melody of a song take me where it leads. Very often the resulting harmony is unpredictable and challenging to improvise over. My goal in sharing some of my tunes with you is to introduce you to some new sounds and shapes that you can apply in a broader context of a standard or one of your own compositions.

In “Rain Painting”, I’m using some close intervals, open-string voicings, and unusual inversions. This tune is the title song for a CD that is a duo project with electric bassist/vocalist Dan Dean that will be released on the Origin label in early 2021. Dan and I are very proud of this recording of my original tunes, and Dan’s singing and playing are unique and quite beautiful. Good luck with your own writing and playing, and I’m happy to hear from anyone who would like to contact me.

Rain Painting by John Stowell

John Stowell has two new CD releases on the Origin label (Scenes/“Trapeze”, Trio Linguae/“Signals”) and a new Truefire Course that will be released in late October (Modern Jazz Harmony Playbook). You can find info on all of John’s recordings and instructional material on his website (

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