In this jazz guitar masterclass, acclaimed guitarist Bruce Forman shows you how to effectively practice when locked in the shed, or more specifically "the bunker" (since this video was filmed during the coronavirus pandemic). Bruce brings you through his process of diving deep into a jazz standard and exploring the music, the guitar and ultimately gaining a more meaningful relationship with the art form. If you want to get some golden nuggets of wisdom from a true master, either during this COVID quarantine or after the smoke clears, this jazz guitar lesson is for you!
Topics Covered: Jazz guitar, improvisation, using the melody for inspiration, intervals, being comfortable in different positions, themes and motifs, telling a story, chord practice, register, chords vs. single line, using bass notes, substitutions, tonalities, creative ideas, etc.
“Bruce Forman is one of the great lights of our age.” – Barney Kessel
“Bruce Forman is a wonderful guitarist; extremely versatile and very musical…a first-rate accompanist and soloist.” – Kenny Burrell
The short story:
A busy touring schedule; seventeen recordings as a leader; countless sideman recording dates including a featured role on one of jazz great Ray Brown’s last albums; soundtrack performances on three of Clint Eastwood’s distinguished films–the Oscar-winning Million Dollar Baby, Oscar-nominated Flags of Our Fathers and Hereafter ; producer, arranger, and acclaimed educator; over twenty appearances at the landmark Monterey Jazz Festival; in residence at USC ’s Studio / Jazz Guitar Dept.—when does Bruce Forman rest?
Forman is a seasoned jazz player with top-level skills as a leader, entertainer and sideman. He creates soulful, lyrical melodies, inventive harmonies, and solid accompaniment. Though he can shred bebop at blistering tempos with the best of ‘em, he is no urban snob. Cow Bop, Forman’s unique “western bebop” band, hit four separate charts with its CDs, Swingin’ Out West, Route 66, Too Hick for the Room and Cowlifornia Swing.
A new composition, The Red Guitar, has received wide acclaim. It may be the only jazz libretto where the narrator and the featured instrumentalist are the same performer. The Red Guitar requires great virtuosity, but it is much deeper than a simple showcase for Forman’s abilities. It is serious one-man theater, exploring the obsessive demands that music places on its truest followers.
Forman is also a distinguished music educator and in-kind philanthropist. His national music-mentoring program, JazzMasters Workshop, provided over 2,500 sessions for young students. Always free of charge, JazzMasters’ sessions occurred during after-school hours, and the program enriched lives and helped develop numerous musicians who have gone on to promising careers.
Bruce’s life and musical journey provide an American saga that is still in full swing. His Texas origins, his early career in San Francisco and New York , and his years on the road, all contribute to the unique and highly personal vision that he demonstrates today. Deep immersion in American culture inspires him to contribute to the traditions that he drew from. Cow Bop’s “road challenges” down historic byways like Route 66; original works like The Red Guitar; JazzMasters Workshop—these are only the latest answers to the endless question that underlies Bruce Forman’s creativity. His music and life reflect every step of his journey, and demonstrate the awareness of an artist who’s very much at home in the world, and at the top of his form.