for John Knowles: Lenny Breau Fingerstyle Jazz

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for John Knowles: Lenny Breau Fingerstyle Jazz

Postby George Beasley » Wed Sep 01, 2010 3:15 pm

John,

I was listening to the CD that came with your Lenny Breau Fingerstyle Jazz book today, and was wondering what guitar Lenny is playing on those examples. Also, how did you guys go about doing the recordings? Do you have any stories about that project?
Thanks,
George
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Re: for John Knowles: Lenny Breau Fingerstyle Jazz

Postby George Beasley » Sat Sep 18, 2010 11:17 am

Bump..
Thanks,
George
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Re: for John Knowles: Lenny Breau Fingerstyle Jazz

Postby Doug_H » Sun Sep 19, 2010 12:15 am

I'd love to hear about it, too. I bought two copies (with cassette) when it first came out so I could give a set to a friend who'd never heard of Lenny Breau. He loves it. I've since lost my cassette somehow, but don't have anything to play a cassette with anyway....maybe the 'ex' has it. :x
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Re: for John Knowles: Lenny Breau Fingerstyle Jazz

Postby John Knowles » Sun Sep 19, 2010 2:53 pm

George and Doug, I must have missed this post. I'd enjoy telling a few stories. I have fond memories of working with Lenny on that project.

I loaned Lenny my Takamine classical for the recording sessions. I don't remember the model number but it has a solid cedar top. I bought it from the Takamine rep in Dallas. He was showing it to dealers to introduce the Takamine line. I don't think they had introduced the models with pickups at that point. I have tried out several pickups on that guitar but Lenny was playing it un-amplified on the FingerStyle Jazz project. Recently, I gave that Takamine to my son Jay. He plays it when he writes songs and records demos.

Lenny and I recorded late at night in the recital hall at Blair School of music. I recorded the Jerry Reed Heavy Neckin' tape in that hall. It's a small hall (250+ seats) with a nice natural reverb. We recorded late at night because we could hear traffic noise during the day. Even after midnight, we had to stop several times for sirens or helicopters since we were near the Vanderbilt hospital.

To be continued...
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Re: for John Knowles: Lenny Breau Fingerstyle Jazz

Postby John Knowles » Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:36 am

By the time Lenny and I started working on the FingerStyle jazz project, I'd heard him play and watched him teach for several years. I'd identified some things that were important to him and I'd heard a lot of good players ask him questions. I decided I would interview Lenny so that he could talk about his approach to music and the guitar. I had a rough idea of how things might go but I trusted Lenny to be himself. I haven't listened to the recording in a long time but I remember the feeling of having a tiger by the tail.

I remember asking Lenny to play twelve bars that demonstrated a particular idea. He got to the turnaround and kept on going... and going. Finally, he looked up at me and asked, "Was that enough?" Lenny got caught up in the music and took it where it wanted to go. I wanted authentic Lenny and I was getting it.

There were several times when Lenny's way of demonstrating an idea caught me by surprise. I remember him singing the bass notes (roots) that he was leaving out of the chords. I had a hard time singing those notes at first but when I did, it changed the way I heard what he was playing. I remember Lenny smiling at me because he knew I'd heard it.
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Re: for John Knowles: Lenny Breau Fingerstyle Jazz

Postby George Beasley » Tue Sep 21, 2010 7:35 am

John,

Is there much material from your interview with Lenny that was left out of the book?
Thanks,
George
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Re: for John Knowles: Lenny Breau Fingerstyle Jazz

Postby keener » Tue Sep 21, 2010 10:38 am

John,

I just ordered the book from Amazon and look forward to it.

In using Amazon's "peek inside" feature, I got to see a few of the transcriptions, and noticed there where Lenny got the 4th and 5th strings at the same time while playing some notes on the first string. Do you recall if he got the 4th and 5th using the thumb and index fingers, or was it all with the thumb?

Thanks for the great discussion!

Bruce
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Re: for John Knowles: Lenny Breau Fingerstyle Jazz

Postby Roger Hardin » Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:00 pm

I still have my copy of this that I purchased when I was in College in the mid 1980's. This will always be one of my favorite books by John.
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Re: for John Knowles: Lenny Breau Fingerstyle Jazz

Postby John Knowles » Wed Sep 22, 2010 4:50 pm

George, I have the out-takes from the interview somewhere. I was thinking the same thing.

Bruce, Lenny would typically use thumb and index to play those two-note chords. He also played three note chords with thumb and two fingers. That left a finger or two for melody notes. I was always amazed how he could keep the timing of the melody and accompaniment independent no matter which fingers he was using. And he was improvising most of the time.

Roger, Thanks. A lot of people are just now discovering Lenny so I still get email about that book.

John
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Re: for John Knowles: Lenny Breau Fingerstyle Jazz

Postby George Beasley » Wed Sep 22, 2010 6:40 pm

John Knowles wrote:George, I have the out-takes from the interview somewhere. I was thinking the same thing.


John,

You will have to find those tapes, and see how it sounds now. Maybe things that were cutting-room-floor material then are better now that they have some age. Perhaps you could release the whole conversation on CD as part of a 30th Anniversary Revised and Expanded edition of "Fingerstyle Jazz", with the transcriptions in the back edited in Finale, etc, and a new section with any thoughts or discoveries about Lenny's playing that you made in the 26 years since you originally wrote LBFJ.

I'll buy two!
Thanks,
George
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