I thought that some of you might be interested in how Jazz Guitar Society.com was started, and also the principles that it operates under. It all goes back to what was Guitar Institute of Technology in the early 1980s in Hollywood CA, soon to become Musician’s Institute. I (Doug Perkins) taught there for a number of years after graduating as a student, and one of my private students was a guy named John Pin from Australia. He was very interested in the modern fusion players of the day like Mike Stern, and we got along great because that was basically exactly what I did. Many years later in the early 2000’s, a friend told me that he saw on some musician message board on the internet that an ex-student was looking for me and gave me his contact information – it turned out to be John, who was back in Australia. We started emailing and then talked on the phone, and we both found a real rapport between us. I was really impressed with all he had done after graduating, which included a lot of writing for film and TV and [playing and teaching (including currently at the biggest school in Australia, Australian National University).
But he had also done DVD authoring and was a really great video editor, and as it turned out, already owned the URL jazzguitarsociety.com. We started talking about how amazing the teaching staff at MI was back then with guys like Howard Roberts, Don Mock, Ron Eschete, Les Wise, Pat Martino, and the likes of Robben Ford, Tommy Tedesco and Lenny Breau who were part time coming in and out to teach between gigs. We thought it would be amazing to be able to bring that sort of level of learning experience to people via their computer’s desktop that couldn’t go to a place like MI, and that’s where the idea to do JGS came from. From the two of us doing everything, we added Paul Binns as our webmaster to also come up with our product delivery solution, and have finally gotten to the point of using some paid transcribers as well.
With the scope of MI’s curriculum having grown into a whole lot more than a focus on jazz guitar playing, we felt that we had the opportunity to keep what was started there in terms of jazz guitar education going with JGS, and set out to find the kind of player / teachers that were at the school back then. Since I knew a lot of the past and present staff at MI, I started talking to them about doing master class video lessons for us, starting with the great Mike Miller, plus a few videos from John and I to fill things out. People like Tim Lerch, Dave Hill, Allen Hinds, Daniel Gilbert (who used to live across my driveway when I was a student at MI), and of course Ron Eschete came from this concept.
But lately, we’ve been finding great young players made of the same stuff coming up, and been abled to present them here at JGS as well – people like Camilo Velandia and Assaf Kehati. They may not be household names to thousands as yet, but they are so good that it’s just a matter of time. We also have been talking to a couple of new guys we won’t name as yet that are going to be HUGE jazz guitar artists of the coming decades, and are really excited to be able to present them as they are on their way up. It’s amazing when you think that every generation has raised the bar for the next one, and how far things have come from people like Eddie Lang and Freddie Green in terms of what’s technically possible on the instrument – the torch of learning not only gets passed on, but the flame burns brighter with each passing. At JGS, we are always going to be looking for those new young guys, as well as going after the established artists as well. So keep an eye here for some of the new people we will be presenting, and you will be able to tell your friends that you knew about them years before they ever heard of them.