Sal Sal­vador

Join Pete Cal­lard as he un­cov­ers some of the great­est licks from the gi­ants of jazz gui­tar. This month, Stan Ken­ton stal­wart, Sal Sal­vador.

Guitar Techniques - - Lesson: Jazz -

This month we’re go­ing to be ex­plor­ing the solo­ing style of Sal Sal­vador. Born Silvio Smi­raglia on Novem­ber 21st, 1925 in Mon­son, Mas­sachusetts, Sal­vador grew up in Stafford Springs, Con­necti­cut. Start­ing out on his fa­ther’s acous­tic gui­tar, it was hear­ing record­ings of Char­lie Chris­tian with Benny Good­man that turned him on to jazz and the elec­tric gui­tar. He stud­ied via cor­re­spon­dence with Nat King Cole gui­tarist Os­car Moore, and be­gan play­ing pro­fes­sion­ally in the mid 40s in Michi­gan, along­side fu­ture greats, sax­o­phon­ist Phil Woods and drum­mer Joe Morello.

Mov­ing to New York, Sal­vador joined many of his con­tem­po­raries in the stu­dio world, and was rec­om­mended by his friend Mun­dell Lowe (GT224), with whom he was to col­lab­o­rate with many times dur­ing his ca­reer, for a job in the house band at Ra­dio City Mu­sic Hall along­side Johnny Smith (GT209). He also worked for a time on staff at Columbia Records, leading to record­ings with Tony Ben­nett, Rose­mary Clooney and Mar­lene Di­et­rich. In 1952 Sal­vador joined the Stan Ken­ton Orches­tra, and was fea­tured on the record­ing New Con­cepts of Artistry in Rhythm. The as­so­ci­a­tion with Ken­ton proved fruit­ful, rais­ing Sal­vador’s pro­file and se­cur­ing him a con­tract with Capi­tol for a fol­low-up to his de­but re­lease as leader -1954’s Sal Sal­vador Quin­tet - leading to the al­bum Ken­ton Pre­sents Sal Sal­vador. Along­side his own record­ings, Sal­vador formed a quar­tet with pi­anist Ed­die Costa, and started his own big band in 1958, re­leas­ing the al­bum Colours In Sound. That year he also ap­peared with sax­o­phon­ist Sonny Stitt in Jazz On A Sum­mer’s Day, a film of the New­port Jazz Fes­ti­val. The pe­riod from 1963 to 1978 saw a hia­tus in Sal­vador’s record­ing ca­reer as a leader, as he changed his fo­cus to teach­ing and live play­ing, but his even­tual re­turn to the stu­dio proved pro­lific, with three al­bums in 1978 alone. He con­tin­ued to re­lease al­bums un­der his own name and in var­i­ous col­lab­o­ra­tions over the next two decades. Sal­vador re­formed his big band in the 80s, and joined with gui­tarist Mike Gior­dano to form the Crys­tal Im­age Quar­tet. A keen ed­u­ca­tor, Sal­vador was ap­pointed head of the gui­tar depart­ment at the Univer­sity of Bridge­port and Western Con­necti­cut State Univer­sity, and in the 90s re­leased a a se­ries of tu­itional books and videos, taught pri­vately and con­trib­uted lessons to Just Jazz Gui­tar mag­a­zine. Sal Sal­vador died of cancer at the age of 73 on Septem­ber 22, 1999.

For this month’s nine play­ing ex­am­ples we’re go­ing to be ex­am­in­ing var­i­ous el­e­ments of Sal­vador’s solo­ing ap­proach. This will in­clude lines on short and long II-V-Is, II-VI-II-V-Is, turn­arounds and rhythm changes ideas at tem­pos rang­ing from medium to se­ri­ously quick. We’ll also be cov­er­ing, among other things, his use of chro­mati­cism, mo­tifs, phras­ing, syn­co­pa­tion, slur­ring across the beat and bar line, plus vari­a­tions on sim­i­lar ideas, en­cir­clement, pen­ta­ton­ics and melody quotes.

Sal Sal­vador’s life has no mean­ing with­out jazz; he is com­pletely ded­i­cated to his gui­tar.

Sal Sal­vador

Sal Sal­vador was a busy player and ded­i­cated teacher

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