Joe dio­rio

This month John Wheatcroft shines the spot­light on the amaz­ing Joe Dio­rio and his un­canny abil­ity to blend old and new jazz.

Guitar Techniques - - LEARNING ZONE - NEXT MONTH John ex­am­ines the bluesy fu­sion lines of the won­der­ful Tony Remy

Joe Dio­rio is a stag­ger­ing jazz gui­tarist who, for over 50 years has en­joyed renown as both per­former and ed­u­ca­tor. He has played and recorded with jazz heavy­weights such as Sonny Stitt, Ed­die Har­ris, Stan Getz and Fred­die Hub­bard, and par­tic­i­pated in col­lab­o­ra­tions with gui­tarists such as Pat Metheny, Robben Ford and Mick Goodrick. He is one of found­ing tu­tors of the Gui­tar In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy (GIT) in Hol­ly­wood, along­side per­form­ers and ed­u­ca­tors in­clud­ing Howard Roberts and Tommy Tedesco.

Joe’s play­ing is a beau­ti­ful blend of tra­di­tional and mod­ern jazz sounds. While it’s clear that he has paid his dues, as­sim­i­lat­ing the vo­cab­u­lary of jazz greats such as Django Rein­hardt, Benny Good­man, Char­lie Parker and count­less more, there is a search­ing and unique in­ter­val­lic side to his play­ing, in­spired in part by work­ing with avant-garde artists such as Sonny Stitt, and also by his time spent analysing the ground-break­ing vo­cab­u­lary of John Coltrane. Per­haps, how­ever, the true cat­a­lyst here was im­mers­ing him­self in the study of Ni­co­las Slonim­sky’s Th­e­saurus Of Scales And Melodic Pat­terns, at the sug­ges­tion of sax­o­phon­ist Ed­die Har­ris. As Dio­rio states: “I pulled it out and started learn­ing and that re­ally threw my head, be­cause it helps you to hear bet­ter all kinds of weird fast stuff.”

There are eight ex­cerpts for you to learn here, in­spired di­rectly from Joe’s vo­cab­u­lary. One of many im­pres­sive as­pects of Dio­rio’s play­ing is the huge con­nec­tion be­tween the pre­med­i­tated lines that he presents in his ed­u­ca­tional ma­te­rial, and the more freeflow­ing, in­tu­itive ideas that he might draw from when im­pro­vis­ing. With most of us there is some kind of dis­con­nect here, when the pre-cal­cu­lated and ‘worked-out-in-ad­vance’ player in­side us sounds quite dif­fer­ent to the spon­ta­neous ‘in-the-mo­ment’ side of our play­ing - the side we ide­ally need to tap into when ap­proach­ing jazz.

Jaco used to ask me how was I mak­Ing all of these In­ter­val­lIc runs, and I told hIm, ‘You gotta get slonIm­skY’s book’ Joe Dio­rio

With this in mind, it’s a re­ally good idea to let these ex­am­ples ‘sug­gest’ what you might play in the long run, rather than be seen as ex­plicit di­rec­tions of what must be de­liv­ered. So, while you should com­mit these to mem­ory in the short term, re­mem­ber that this is only the start of the process and over time each of these lines will leave a con­cep­tual trace that you can use as the ba­sis for cre­at­ing ideas of your own; and again, in time, you’ll be able to make these de­ci­sions com­pletely ‘in the mo­ment’. I’m sure Joe would agree.

Joe Dio­rio’s Gib­son 175 with open-topped hum­buck­ers

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