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Jimmy Giuffre

(4.26.21–4.24.08)

Jimmy Giuffre

It was probably 1956 when I first met Jimmy Giuffre at a jam session in one of the clubs on Hollywood Boulevard. I had been a fan of Jimmy’s, and having been a composition major in school I was intrigued by his writing for Woody Herman’s band. Everybody was talking about the “Four Brothers” arrangement. Anyway, I saw him outside this club, introduced myself, told him what a big fan I was, and how it was such a pleasure to meet him. And with that Texas accent that I can still hear in my mind today, he said, “Same to ya!”

I’ve said many times that listening is the key. I may not have realized it back then, but that’s what I learned from working with Jimmy. He listened so carefully, and his observations changed my playing. He would notice if I was hitting the guitar pick too many times in a phrase that he had written. He’d say, “Try to make that sound more like a wind instrument and leave out some of the articulation.” That changed my way of listening to the guitar, opened my ears in a different way.

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Originally Published