Born in Brooklyn, New York, guitarist, composer and arranger Tom Guarna began his musical career at age 15, when his father introduced him to the guitar. His natural ability to play and compose with phrasing reminiscent of his idols, combined with a relentless drive to refine and invent a unique guitar style has made him a desired commodity in the music industry. He is currently performing and recording with jazz groups internationally, and is first-call on a wide range of projects, from session work, jazz venues, tours, and large arenas.
Guarna developed an interest in classical guitar performance and composition at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music in 1986, where he studied guitar with Michael Cedric Smith and composition with Robert Starer. In 1989, he moved to Los Angeles to attend the Guitar Institute of Technology. Shortly after graduating, he moved back to New York, playing local gigs and studying with Steve Kahn and John Abercrombie. In 1991, Guarna began working with saxophonist and best-selling author, James McBride (The Color of Water), whose band members included drummer Gene Jackson and bassist Tracy Wormworth.
In 1995, Tom Guarna joined Blood Sweat and Tears and toured extensively for the next three years with that group. Since then, he has forged his own voice as a modern jazz guitarist, performing with a wide range of artists including Wallace Roney, Mark Turner, Branford Marsalis, Randy Brecker, Lenny White, Mulgrew Miller, Billy Hart, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Greg Hutchinson, Javon Jackson, Les McCann, Victor Bailey, Gary Bartz, Fred Wesley, Mike Clark, Tim Hagans, Greg Tardy, Seamus Blake, Marcus Strickland, Ben Williams, Craig Handy, Uri Caine, Chris Minh Doky, The Yellow Jackets, John Benitez, Gary Smulyan, Joe Locke, E.J. Strickland, Billy Drummond, the Mingus Orchestra, The Allman Brothers, Helen Sung, Tessa Souter, Jimmy Herring, Rodney Holmes, Vincent Gardner, George Colligan and Mad Science, and Manuel Valera.