Press – Chuck Anderson Jazz Guitar Player
All About Jazz Interview: Chuck Anderson Trio at Melodies Cafe
ZZAJ Productions“There’s really only one word to describe this guitar jazz album from Chuck & the rest of his trio (Eric Schreiber, bass; Ed Rick, drums) – EXCITING! That doesn’t mean that it’s all “jump”, or “near-rock”, either… you’ll find some absolutely sweet tunes in the 12 all-original pieces… try the truly laid-back “Song for Coreen” to hear what I mean… 4:06 gem, to be sure, with gentle strings that will lull you into mellow-land. On the other hand, if you DO want to jump a bit, try the opener, “Princess of the Nile”… great walkin’ bass line, and the drums are there in grand fashion to help the strut that Chuck leads your ears through.This is great music, not just great jazz (though it certainly is that). The 4:34 title track, “Freefall”, has some beautiful interactions between all three players; I dug it in a big way, but being the uptown blues kinda’ cat I am, it was surely “Exit Blues” that captured my vote for favorite track… while it surely isn’t “gut-funk”, it will make you taste what the aftermath of the blues is – pure JOY!. I give this fine jazz CD my MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, as well as an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98. G
By Jerome Wilson, Cadence
“Chuck Anderson just concentrates on one thing—playing straight ahead Jazz. There is a lot of nimble technique in his playing which shows well both on springy pieces like “Princess Of The Nile” and mellow Blues tracks like “Misty Glow” and “Exit Blues.”
On “Enchanted Garden” Anderson shifts into a reflective country-soul mood and on “Diablo’s Dream” he even works over a funk/hip-hop beat with buzzing, coiled toughness. His rhythm partners, Schreiber and Rick, are always in close support and Anderson emerges on this as a talented modern Jazz guitarist as fluid as a Scofield or Abercrombie.”
“Nice moments here, like the opening modal number ‘Princess of the Nile’ and the relaxed ‘In a Misty Glow,’ which has Anderson alternately double-timing furiously and laying into the luxurious tempo. The group swings with gusto on ‘Flight,’ the dynamic title track and the closer, ‘Diablo’s Dream,’ which gives bassist Eric Schreiber and drummer Ed Rick room to stretch. Anderson also showcases his considerable chord-melody skills on two gorgeous, unaccompanied ballads, ‘Song for Coreen’ and ‘Chanson.’”
Links to articles and concert reviews
by Victor L. Schermer
by Victor L. Schermer
Just Jazz Guitar Interview – Philadelphia Ace: Chuck Anderson
by Ed Benson
EB: Tell me about your background-personal and musical.
CA: I was born in Chicago on June 21st, 1947. Most of my early years were spent in sports – basketball and baseball. I had no interest in music. At the age of twelve, my family moved to the Philadelphia suburb of Radnor in Pennsylvania. I attended grade school in Wayne and then, high school in Devon, Pennsylvania. After high school, I enrolled in St Joseph’s University where I completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing.
EB: When did you take up the guitar and why?
CA: My involvement with the guitar was completely accidental. One summer holiday, when I was fourteen, my family was attending a neighborhood picnic. The neighbor was an amateur but enthusiastic guitar player. He had just purchased a new guitar – a Goya, as I recall. He was alternately strumming the guitar and cooking on the grill. I wandered over to get a hamburger. He took my proximity to indicate an interest in the guitar. In reality, I was only interested in a hamburger. He asked me if I liked the guitar. I shrugged indifferently and said “not really”. Undeterred, he said “I’ll go get my old guitar in the attic and you can take it home and try it”. I declined but he insisted. My mother heard this conversation and impressed upon me that it would be rude to not accept such a generous gift. I reluctantly took the guitar home and stored it under my bed. One day, I had turned my ankle playing basketball and had to rest the foot. Having nothing to do, I pulled the guitar out from under the bed and slowly played a chord from a sheet of chord diagrams that was in the guitar case. Once I heard the Em chord, my life turned in the direction of music.
EB:Did you study or are you self taught? Did you study music in college?
CA:I began taking lessons at a local music store at the age of fourteen. I progressed rapidly and was “promoted” to my next teacher. Dennis Sandole was at that time, one of the best known jazz teachers in the country. I auditioned for him but wasn’t ready to study with him. He suggested that I get in touch with one of his students by the name of Joe Federico. I worked with Joe for three years preparing for the next stage. Sandole accepted me as a student when I was nineteen. He was to be my final jazz guitar teacher. I did not study music in college. I did all of my studies with private teachers. In later years, I studied classical composition and orchestration with Dr Harold Boatrite, a noted Philadelphia composer and teacher.
EB:When did you plan to make music your livelihood?
CA:My direction turned seriously to a music career when I was a junior in college. By the time I graduated, it was a fore gone conclusion that music would become my life. The day I graduated, I remember look ing at my diploma, then my guitar, then my diploma and then my guitar. It was a warm summer day, the windows were open and I impulsively through my diploma out the window. In this way, I suppose I symbolically rejected the business world.
EB: Who were your main influences?
CA: My two main influences were Wes Montgomery and Johnny Smith.
EB: When and what was your first paying gig?
CA: My first paying work was a school dance in the gym at St Katherine of Sienna. I played with a group called the Ravens and was payed the princely sum of f our dollars. I was fourteen at the time.
EB: Do you remember any disastrous gigs?
CA: One disaster stands out. On a New Years eve, our band was playing at a Polish American club. An argument broke out over the winner of a Twist contest. Someone swung a liquor bottle, somebody punched a woman in the face and somebody else picked up a table and tossed it at a group of people. Chaos was everywhere but we kept playing. Bottles broke around us like the Blues Brothers. Just then, my father came to pick me up since I didn’t drive. The police arrived and dragged my father down the steps toward the paddy wagon. After some ridiculous moments, he was free to go on his way. That story is forever etched in my memory bank.
EB: I know you played at the Latin Casino in NJ. Tell me about those days. How did you get the gig, who did you work with, and any special memories of it? Why did you leave the gig? What did you do after you left?
CA: I first got the call in the summer after I graduated college. One of the acts coming to the Latin needed a guitar player but the Latin’s staff guitar player had taken an engagement in Vegas and was unavailable. Apparently no one was available that week. My name was the bottom name on the list of guitar players that the contractor kept. I was totally unknown but they had no choice but to call me. Somehow, I managed to get through my first shows and the act spoke well of me. Amazingly, I was standing in the contractor’s office when the phone rang. It was the Latin’s guitar player, Joe Lano calling from Vegas. He said “I’m not coming back to the Latin. They’ve offered me a job at one of the casinos here in Vegas”. The contractor turned to me and said “do you want the job here”? It took two seconds to say yes! I played at the Latin for the next four years. Fourteen shows a week and rehearsal on Monday afternoons. I had the opportunity to work with amazing acts such as Peggy Lee, Michel LeGrande, Bobby Darin, Sammy Davis Jr, Billy Eckstine, Anthony Newley and Nancy Wilson among many others. I have many memories of the Latin – enough to fill a small book. I have told the Latin Casino story on You Tube and have had some great responses. I’ve heard from waiters who worked there and Jack Curtis’ grandson. Jack was the Master of Ceremonies for the Latin.
EB: Tell me about the trio you formed in the 1970s
CA: After four years of reading, I wanted to stretch out with my own group. I began writing and formed the Chuck Anderson Trio in 1973. The group featured Al Stauffer on Bass and Ray Deeley on Drums. Jimmy Paxson and Darryl Brown also drummed for the trio. We recorded “Mirror Within a Mirror” in the mid 70′s. This album later became a CD, recently remastered by Alan Tucker called “The Vintage Tracks.” We did jazz concert work and featured originals with new versions of jazz classics.
EB:I believe you pioneered the neo classical guitar- what is this? CA:The term Neo Classical guitar has been used in many different contexts, To some, it is a metal style of lead guitar that uses scales like the Harmonic and Melodic minor scales as well as diminished 7th arpeg- gios. The stress is on speed. The Neo Classical guitar is a solo pick style using the amplified or acoustic guitar to play classical transcrip- tions, original works and variations on international folk themes. During the eight years that I worked with- in this style, I was endorsed by the Gibson Guitar com- pany and called “the new Segovia” by PBS. I released a CD called “Kaleidophon : The Art of the Neo Classical Guitar”. Here is a listing of the tracks on this CD. 1. Prelude from #1 Cello Suite (Bach) – Original Transcription 2. Variations on an Ancient Irish Air (Traditional) - Irish Folk Theme 3. ‘Twas a Lover and his Lass (Traditional) – English Folk Song 4. Cherry Blossom (Traditional) – Japanese Folk Song 5. Kaleidophon (Original) 6. Lute Prelude in Dm (Bach) – Original Transcription 7. Bamboo Flute (Traditional) – Chinese Folk Song 8. The Three Children (Original) 9. Gymnopedies #1 (Satie) – the first of three works written for solo piano 10. Indian Raga (Improvised) – Drones, exotic scales and rapid complex rhythm 11. Prelude for Piano (Ravel) – Original Transcription 12. El Colibri (Sagreras) – Original Transcription 13. Passages from the End of Autumn (Original) 14. Themes from a Shattered Moonbow (Original) 15. Scotland the Brave – Scottish Folk Song 16. Ave Maria (Schubert) – Original Transcription
I have mastered two more Neo Classical CDs called ”Virtuosity” and “Timeless” that I hope to release soon.
EB:Tell me about some of the recordings and books you’ve done. CA:My jazz recordings are “The Vintage Tracks” and ”Angel Blue – A Tour of Jazz.” Because of my exten- sive writing background, I have also recorded the fol- lowing CDs: “The International Collection,””Passages from the End of Autumn,””Music from the Light,” ”Christmas Wishes,” “Kaleidophon: The Art of the Neo Classical Guitar” and “Lullabies for Parents.”
I have spent a huge amount of time developing educa- tional concepts for jazz guitarists. Some of my books are: The Six Secrets of Guitar Fingering The Pathways of Guitar Music Pursuing The Horizon Mastering the Modes Modular Phonetic Rhythm, The Foundation and Workbook 1 The Private Music Teacher’s Guide Volume I – Lead sheets to Chuck Anderson’s Tour of Jazz CD. Unlocking the Guitar – Notes of the Neck
EB:What’s in the future in terms of recordings, books and performances. CA:I am getting ready to record a new CD called ”Freefall” featuring my trio and twelve new compositions. The DVD called “The Chuck Anderson Trio – Live!” will be released soon. I have many new books under development: ”Bebop for Jazz Guitar Players,” “Harmonic Analysis for Jazz Improvisation” and “The Evolution of the Blues” are some of the new titles.
I will focus my attention on concert venues, colleges and jazz festivals. I am also working with Mike’s Master Classes on a new master class called ”Navigating the Jazz Guitar.” I have an extensive schedule of lectures, master classes, private teaching, consulting and clinics.
I’ve been a guest several times on Bob Miles show ” Miles of Music”.
EB:What’s your current setup in terms of guitar/amp etc. CA:I use a custom Gibson L5 guitar with an Acoustic Image Clarus II, Series III amp and two Raezer’s Edge Stealth 12 cabinets.
EB:Tell me about your role as an educator and lec- turer. CA:I began teaching at the age of sixteen and have taught extensively and continuously for the past forty five years. I owned my own private music school for many years. I currently focus on my private students. I lecture on Jazz Guitar, Improvisation, Composition and the Music Business.
EB:What’s the story behind the theft of your Gibson L5 and your not playing for a long time. What got you back into playing again? Did you teach during those years? CA:My original Gibson L5 was stolen after a concert. The loss was so devastating to me that I couldn’t play concerts for a very long time. One of America’s great- est luthiers, Eric Schulte offered to customize an L5 for me if I would agree to go back and give concerts again. I agreed and he produced the customized green L5 that I play today. Jack Romano also worked on the final version of the instrument.
I never stopped teaching. It’s not unusual for me to teach sixteen hours in a day.
EB:How do you approach teaching jazz? What methods do you use in teaching the guitar? CA:My approach to teaching jazz is holistic. I break the material down into musical and mechanical tech- nique, chord voicings, voice leading, comping, finger- ing principles, rhythm, melody and chords, improvisa- tion, theory, ear training and repertoire. I stress the development of the unique personality of each student. I never focus on my own style as a player. I play very rarely during a lesson preferring to max- imize the student’s time on his or her own develop- ment. The methods I use are my own.
EB:Any of the newer players you enjoy listening to? CA:I have never listened extensively to any specific players nor have I ever worked out solos or riffs asso- ciated with any particular player.
EB:I know you play at Chris Café in PA. Have you played with Jimmy Bruno there? If so how was the experience? CA:I have not played with Jimmy. He is one of our finest jazz guitarists and I’ve been interested in propos- ing a concert with Jimmy, Pat Martino and I at The World Cafe Live in Philadelphia. Pat was kind enough to attend a recent performance at Chris’ in February. Frank DiBussolo and I gave a jazz guitar duo perform- ance in The Great Guitar Series at Macungie Institute in late March.
EB:Is there a market for jazz? CA:I feel that there is a tremendous market for jazz. The recording industry’s shortcomings seem to be pro- viding a boost in the demand for live concerts. Jazz is at its best live. They can’t download the “live” experi- ence. The Internet has provided unprecedented oppor- tunities to spread the word of jazz all over the world. Personal My wife Coreen is a constant source of inspiration for me. Check out “Song for Coreen” on You Tube, a solo jazz guitar piece. I have three children Chris, Nicole and Silke. My parents are Bill and Catherine Anderson and I have two sisters Carol and Sue. My website is at www.ChuckAndersonJazzGuitar.com
From Bob Miles: Miles of Music (Formerly, World of Guitar) is now airing on 14 separate cable systems hroughout the USA. The show began airing in Los Angeles starting April 13th on LA Channel #36. In May, Miles of Music began a regular show on PBS Philadelphia (2.7 million) on MIND TV (Formerly, WYBE). Bob Miles P.O. Box 324 Warrington, PA 18976 215-343-3011 www.worldofguitar.com www.milesofmusic.tv
Philadelphia City Paper Article
by A.D. Amorosi
In the world of the jazz guitar, Philadelphia’s Chuck Anderson is as legendary for not playing as he is for what he’s played and with whom. With a style that ranges from the cerebral approach of Johnny Smith to the blues passion of Wes Montgomery, Anderson became a staple of the session world throughout the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s.
“When I began, my strongest influences were Montgomery and Smith,” says Anderson, who not only played for Broadway soundtracks and advertising jingles, but was staff guitarist for the Latin Casino, the Valley Forge Music Fair and the Schubert and Forrest theaters. “Those influences changed because I began to compose heavily rather than rely on standard jazz’s repertoire.”
He embraced the influences of French impressionists, Ravel and Debussy. He decreased his listening in order to develop a more unique and personal style; one that saw him acclaimed for his teaching (director of the Medley Music School, developer of the guitar curriculum at Aula de Musica, a private music conservatory in Barcelona, Spain) as well as for solo albums like Kaleidophon: The Art of the Neo-Classical Guitar.
Then something devastating happened. Anderson’s hallowed Gibson L5 guitar — his muse — was stolen. He stopped performing and concentrated on composing. It seemed the end of a long career.
So why after 20-odd years has Anderson returned? “Since I’m so involved with music through teaching, consultation, composing and writing books, I’ve never been that far away from my commitment to the art of music,” says Anderson.
The completion of a new custom guitar — built to L5 specifics by fan-luthier Eric Schulte — certainly acted as a catalyst. But the biggest factor was a feeling of being incomplete without direct contact with audiences. “Since the majority of my material is original, I began to feel the need to share it with the listening public.” The result is his new CD, Angel Blue, full of new compositions which reposition Anderson as the comeback king of diverse instrumental jazz. “Rather than having a single direction, the CD moves throughout different genres,” he explains. Like a great case of wine, his “tour of jazz” promises to be a heady intoxicant and is also a welcome return to form.
Radio Broadcasts from England
Here are links to four radio broadcasts that aired from England. They are about my music and my career. The files are broadcast quality and large. They will take a while to load and play but they do not have to be fully loaded to start playing.
I hope you enjoy them. If you do, drop the host of the show, Jan S Johansen a quick E mail and let him know that you liked the show. His E mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
Chuck Anderson/Jimmy Bruno:
By Victor L. Schermer
Roller’s Flying Fish
8142 Germantown Avenue
January 15, 2011
When two self-propelled master guitarists like Chuck Anderson and Jimmy Bruno get together, it’s a certainty that sparks are going to fly, but not necessarily in what direction. How would these two individualistic players combine forces–and why?
Anderson and Bruno both came out of the same hotbed of Philly jazz in the 1960s, and swapped potentially lucrative careers as staff musicians to play in formats they loved. Each went through periods of relative inactivity due to medical issues–Anderson with a long bout of undiagnosed sleep apnea that left him depressed and lacking energy, and Bruno with carpal tunnel syndrome–but both recovered well, thanks to excellent medical care, and are back, true to form. Despite their unique styles, they have a great deal in common. Around a year ago, Anderson approached Bruno about a collaboration that would soon include a CD, Images, currently in progress.
Wanting to first show their wares in a laidback venue, the duo gave its first live performances on January 14th and 15th, 2011, in Philly’s Chestnut Hill district at Roller’s Flying Fish, a hip restaurant with a newly evolving jazz club on the second floor that has already featured the legendary pianist Mose Allison. With shows arranged and hosted by guitarist Jim Dragoni, Roller’s was a natural place to gather some jazz and guitar fans together for a listen to this new duet format.
The upstairs space consists of a room that could be someone’s den or living room, with good acoustics, a cash bar, and folding chairs arranged to seat about fifty people. It was packed with Bruno and Anderson fans, and eclectic jazz lovers. The two guitarists occupied a comfortable staging area, and their amplifiers delivered excellent sound throughout. Anderson emceed, summarizing the basis of their collaboration and offering well-deserved encomiums for Bruno.
The set consisted mostly of jazz standards, performed in the 1960s-era style of swinging hard bop which Bruno has taken to its outer limits of speed, technique, and expression. Both guitarists were lyrical when they had to be, at other times taking Paganini-like fast runs that were almost heart-stopping. Their sounds differed, with Anderson’s sharp execution and Bruno’s effortless flow, yet they blended effectively, and with the “closed-eye” test it was almost impossible to tell them apart. They co-improvised beautifully, at times achieving stunning turns of phrase that were synchronized in the mind-boggling way that only such virtuoso musicians can achieve.
“Out of Nowhere” was delivered in straight-ahead up-tempo fashion, while, by contrast, the duo’s version of “Lover Man” began with a slow, rubato statement of the theme that picked up to a rhythmic waltz tempo with a Latin lilt. The Les Paul influence was felt on the reflective “When Sonny Gets Blue,” while “There Will Never Be Another You” featured stunning pyrotechnics, with each guitarist comping for the other’s solos. A highlight was Bruno’s solo version of Clifford Brown’s “Joy Spring,” done in diverse variations that fully captured the exhilarating flavor of the song, while also serving to illustrate what miracles Bruno can accomplish on his instrument.
The set concluded with three originals, beginning with the Anderson-Bruno collaboration “Fantasy,” to be recorded in an ensemble format on the upcoming (and long in preparation) CD. The tune and the CD are based on Anderson’s specialty of composing tunes that cross genre boundaries, but generally stay within traditional harmonies and textures, embodying his concept of electric guitar as a “classical” instrument. Anderson then performed a lyrical rendition of his original, “Song for Corinne.” The closing number, “Jimmy’s Blues,” could have been one of those tunes written on the spot to take the set out in a lively, foot-stomping way. The audience was obviously gratified and thrilled to hear these two outlandishly superb guitarists in an intimate neighborhood setting.