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Scott Sawyer Scott Sawyer

“It’s perfectly understandable why connoisseurs of fine music often refer to Scott Sawyer as a jazz guitarist. It’sbecause he does the jazz thing so well. He’s an expert at breathing new life into that old graveyard of American Popular Song. By artfully reinvestigating this body of familiar melodies and picking through the harmonic bones, Dr. Scott has resuscitated many a standard.

Jazz, however, is merely one of the many tools within his gig bag. He fingers the blues electric with the authenticity of someone who has lived them. That’s not all. With country-boy affability, he strums and twangs. Chicken-picks. Shucks. Jives. Funks it up. And then breaks your heart with that one poignant love note that’s softas an angel’s wing.

Like his better-known contemporaries John Scofield & Bill Frisell, Sawyer was weaned on the Beatles, the blues & ‘Bird’. You can hear it in everything he plays, a new kind of guitarspeak comprised of pop, improv and sounds never before heard. It is a language Sawyer uses with authority.” – Joe Vanderford

Scott Sawyer displays his musical diversity like a badge of honor, re-visiting his blues & rock roots while continuing to explore the jazz tradition & beyond. Since 1980, he’s performed at countless venues here and abroad (Asia, Brazil, Canada, Central America, Europe, the Middle East); including prestigious festivals & concert halls, music clubs and beer-soaked dives.

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Album Review
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N&O/Owen Cordle; May 2007 Scott Sawyer, “Go There” - 3 1/2 Stars

This story originally appeared in the News & Observer (Raleigh) on May 6, 2007 AND online here:

If you know Raleigh guitarist Scott Sawyer from only his jazz gigs and tours with jazz singer Nnenna Freelon, “Go There” (Doll) opens a different door. Welcome to Scott Sawyer, the funk, rock, blues — and jazz — player. A comparison might be made to guitarists John Scofield and Bill Frisell, who also cast a wide net.

With a preponderance of Sawyer tunes, the album is all groove underneath

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Primary Instrument


Willing to teach

Intermediate to advanced


Lecturer of Jazz Guitar (University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill) Applied Jazz Guitar and Jazz Chamber (East Carolina University) Group Guitar (Durham Jazz Workshop) Private Instruction (availability is limited; detailed info provided when requested)

Clinic/Workshop Information

1. The Melody Is In The Chords. Scales don't tell the complete story, and they're not always so practical when confronted with rapidly shifting tonal centers. Using turnarounds, the 12-bar blues, jazz standards (including DJW combo repertoire), and modal vamps, we'll explore improvisation and accompaniment

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Album Dreamers by Scott Sawyer


Self Produced



Stash Records

Album Go There by Scott Sawyer

Go There

Self Produced




Hiram Bullock Hiram Bullock
guitar, electric
Robert Walter Robert Walter
organ, Hammond B3
Barry Finnerty Barry Finnerty
guitar, electric
Petra Haden Petra Haden
voice / vocals

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