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Modern Master – Guitarist Mike Moreno



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Jazz Guitar Today talks to guitarist Mike Moreno about life during COVID-19, his current projects, and his gear – Video Interview.

Cover photo credit: Kasia Stanczyk

Bob Bakert, Editor of Jazz Guitar Today: It is with great pride that we at JGT present this modern master of jazz guitar Mike Moreno.  Mike’s approach is decidedly contemporary, but there is no doubt his roots are in the tradition.  Mike’s career is full and well rounded as he is an educator in multiple institutions of higher learning, he is a touring musician both as a leader and sideman, and when he is not recording his own projects he is in demand on the recording sessions of several of his fellow contemporary musical colleagues.  Mike is also a Youtube personality with his own channel. I asked my friend Ede Wright, who is a big fan of Mike’s to say a few words about Mike’s contributions to the “scene”… Please enjoy Ede’s introduction and this cover story on Mike Moreno.

Mike and Logan Richardson’s Quintet at Dizzy’s in NYC. 
Photo by Joseph Bolongne

INTRODUCTION: Guitarist Ede WrightGuitarist, composer, educator Mike Moreno, would stylistically fall firmly in the modernist camp. Having technical mastery of the instrument is a given, as well as a Ph.D. level understanding of traditional and what some call modern harmony, meaning ideas and concepts derived from modal masters like Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, or Chick Corea.

In order to properly digest these concepts, a true modernist must also possess a deep knowledge and respect for the genre and history of the idiom we love called Jazz. Not simply from an American roots perspective, but as interpreted thru other peoples and cultures around the world. Great composers from Brazil, Cuba, Spain, and India have influenced improvised music in ways I hear represented in Mike’s music.

Mike has all of these things in his modernist bag, but theres something else I see and hear in Mike’s compositional approach that’s more of an intangible, a color or mood that’s hard to pin down, yet undeniably there. 

I see it as a deep penchant for the romantic with equal parts melancholy, spiced with a touch of modest introspection. Mike is one of those composers who upon hearing, images immediately come to mind.

Mike at the piano at Dizzy’s in NYC. 
Photo by Joseph Bolongne

Mike Moreno Quartet Live in Hong Kong

Kendrick Scott Oracle in Mexico City as part of the New York Jazz All Stars Series – John Ellis- tenor, Taylor Eigsti- piano, Joe Sanders- bass, Kendrick Scott- drums, and Mike Moreno on guitar.
Photo by Sharon Cohen

Latest Album Projects

Mike Moreno – 3 for 3
Mike Moreno – Lotus

Stephen Raphael Marchione, Marchione Guitars LLC – Mike Moreno primarily plays my Marchione 59 Burst guitar. He is also now playing my Marchione Master Burst guitar. I developed and designed the 59 Burst in the mid-2000s after hearing Mike play a gig here in Texas. Mike was playing a 335 and although his playing was extraordinary I felt the tone and ergonomics of the guitar were holding him back. We talked and then I designed an original guitar that was fully carved from solid wood, inside and out. The result is a profoundly resonant and responsive instrument that sings with the player, allowing ease of expression and a wide tonal palette. 

Marchione Guitars Master Burst

The Marchione 59 Burst is carved from Honduras Mahogany, Silver Maple, and African Ebony. It comes in 25.5” scale as well as 24.75” scale. The pickups are Parker mounted proprietary Marchione PAFs or Tone Specific Virtuoso PAFs. All joinery is done with Hot Hide Glue, the plates are carved and tuned by hand and the entire guitar is made start to finish here in my Texas studio.

Mike Moreno and Stephen Marchione

Lotus Quartet – Hills of Kykuit

Jochen Rueckert Quartet with Mark Turner – tenor, Orlando Le Flemming – bass
Jochen Rueckert – drums and Mike Moreno on guitar.
Photo by Bruno Rumen

Mike and Jon Cowherd on piano. A duo show in Muri, Switzerland. 
Photo by Stephan Diethelm

Check out Mike’s Gear Run Down


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