The “Great Society” of Jazz Guitarists
June 13, 2011

Written by Doug Perkins

It was some time in the early 2000’s that I got an email from a keyboard player friend here in Los Angeles that some guitar player named John Pin in Australia was looking for his old guitar teacher from Musician’s Institute named Doug Perkins. He figured that was me and sent me John’s email, who I definitely did remember as one of my better private students. We started emailing, mostly about guitar stuff in general and jazz specifically, and he even sent me MP3 recordings of some of our lessons where I was showing different ways to substitute scales on chords and how to go in and out of the key that were really fun to listen to after so many years. We became friends and started discussing our day to day stuff that we were doing and going through, and he sent me a link to a jazz guitar blog site he had that he was using to teach some students on as well.

I was really impressed with what John had done, besides becoming a really great guitar player, he had written and recorded lots of music for TV etc. and owned a company that handled the creation of DVDs from existing major release movies. It was clear that besides his musicianship, he was a really smart guy that understood modern technology and knew how to run a business. After he sold that company, he wanted to really just do things that were related to his first love, jazz guitar.

During this time, I had taken what was one of two lessons I had ever taken since graduating Musician’s Institute with Mike Miller (Chick Corea, Yellowjackets, and much more), who I consider to be one of the best improvising musicians on the guitar. He plays “new” pretty much every time he performs, and I wanted to get inside his head and see how he thought about harmony, etc. (The other person I took a lesson with since M.I. was the recently deceased Jimmy Wyble, who came up with the amazing “Art of Two Line Improvisation”, a system for improvising and composing on the guitar – or any instrument for that matter – that even had it’s own scales and had yielded Jimmy some of the most hauntingly interesting music I had ever heard.) From this lesson (which I had recorded to MP3), I started messing around with some concepts of my own and eventually talked to Mike about trying to work together to put out a book on “Post Bop Guitar” with one of the major music publishers to document some of concepts that as far as we knew were not “out there” anywhere for guitarists to learn – we had hoped that we could help others to not have to feel their way through the dark like we had to do to get to some of this stuff. We wrote out a couple of pages on like one or two topics and gave it to a publisher at the NAMM show, and whoever they gave it to to look at dismissed it as something they already had – which from looking over their titles I highly doubted, but either way was enough for us to decide to just shelve the project for then.

In the meantime, John had taken a couple lessons with Australian jazz guitar phenomenon James Muller (who it turned out Mike Miller had met, interestingly enough) that were really helping him grow as a player as well – since I think few are yet familiar with him here’s a link: http://www.jamesmuller.com/mainframe.html – James blew me away as well and I knew he was someone that more people needed to know about.

Somehow along the way, John got me to finally get on Skype, and during one of our “cyber talks” one of us (I don’t remember who) suggested creating a website there some of the knowledge that a lot of the great guitarists of the world could make available their learning for others. What you are seeing here now is the start of that concept, with John and I taking the “build it and they will come” concept from the movie “Field of Dreams” and deciding to run with it. We hope to use our contacts that we have built over the years of playing jazz guitar to make an ever increasing impressive aggregation of teachers and lessons that would in some way help to contribute to advancing what’s out there to raise the level of jazz guitar playing into the future. For anyone that is checking us out, we welcome you and any comments that you might have, and hope that you’ll meet other guitarists with similar musical interests along the way – one of the things that I found valuable to myself and others while both studying and teaching at MI was the “community” concept that helps us all to grow that we are hoping to provide here as well. I’m pretty excited to be doing this, and am pretty sure that I will be someone that might learn the most from what is going to come out of this.

12 responses to “The “Great Society” of Jazz Guitarists”

  1. matt berry says:

    When will the Mike Miller masterclass be available?
    thanks!

  2. Dan Sloss says:

    G’day, Gary France gave me your web address yesterday. I know it’s a stretch (kidding) but I’ll add a link on our website. We also have a Facebook group at http://www.facebook.com/groups/32796846919/

  3. Doug Perkins says:

    That’s great Dan, I have a Facebook group as well and will link over to yours as well. We are ALL in the Universal Society of the Six Strings 😉

  4. jazzacast says:

    Wow! Would love to hear about the lessons that John took with James Muller! He is my favourite guitarist, would give anything to have a lesson with him!

  5. jazzacast says:

    any chance of sharing the type of stuff stuff Muller discussed?

    • Doug Perkins says:

      All this is in the works, and we will of course let you and everyone else know about this when it does – yes, Muller is one of the best guitarists on the scene these days for sure. I will be talking to John tonight and we will discuss this for sure.

  6. jazzacast says:

    Sounds great! I’m going to see him James play next weekend in Sydney, Can’t wait! Looking forward to hearing more about this, thanks Doug!

  7. jazzacast says:

    Hey I just thought it would be great if John spoke to Muller about technique and things he practices or has practiced to keep that going and help improve it, it’s the one thing I’d love to ask Muller myself, if John spoke about it, would love to hear about that! just throwing it out there! haha

  8. jpdim says:

    Jazzacast, ill post something in the forum.
    cheers

  9. Frank S says:

    Hi, I live in the UK. Are the lessons available as downloads? And, if not, why not?

    Cheers, Frank ( just north of Liverpool, UK)

  10. Doug Perkins says:

    Hi Frank, yes, we have free trailers you can watch to see if you want to buy a lesson, and then if you do the lesson is sent via email with a timed out link that you can click to download the video and written examples as a PDF file. Make sure that you download the video within 24 hours and if you have any problems with the download, send an email to us and we will re-send it. – Doug Perkins, JGS.

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