I was born April 22, 1949 in Tarentum, Pennsylvania. I basically spent the first 10 years of my life growing up on or around farms in Western Pa.
My father gave me my first guitar when I was 14 (1963). I learned how to tune it listening to Surfin' USA by the Beach Boys. I played by ear until about 1980 when I decided to teach myself how to read music.
Growing up I listened to absolutely everything, which is not the best way to learn guitar properly. I took in guitar players from Kenny Burrell to Jimi Hendrix. I also listened to a lot of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Hubert Laws, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock and Oscar Peterson to name just a few. I tried to voice my guitar chords like piano players and play guitar solo lines like horn players.
I cut my teeth on standards like Autumn Leaves, Green Dolphin Street, Moment’s Notice, A Night In Tunisia, That’s All, There Will Never Be Another You, Darn That Dream, Wave, A Child Is Born, Nica’s Dream and many others. I learned to play them as solo pieces using the chord-melody style of playing. Learning tunes that way makes combo playing that much easier once you already know the whole tune inside out.
One of my goals when composing new music is to introduce jazz to people who may have never listened to it before or who have been somehow intimidated by it. My brand of jazz is not exactly straight ahead (so it isn’t scary) but it isn’t exactly smooth jazz either (so it’s not too tame). It’s place is somewhere in between the two extremes, and that’s okay!