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Peter Sprague

Peter Sprague is a critically acclaimed American jazz guitarist, composer, musical arranger and musical transcriber, sound recording engineer, and music producer. In 1984 noted jazz critic Leonard Feather, in a review for the Los Angeles Times, called Sprague, “One of the emergent great guitarists.” [1] While he is highly conversant with many forms of both jazz and classical music, his own compositions and arrangements have often reflected a Latin flavor, though lately he has created and performed a number of pieces specifically for his “String Consort” group (featuring a string quartet of violins, viola, and cello) which range from classical- to American folk-originated explorations. He owns and operates SpragueLand Studios where he is studio recording engineer and often plays as one of the performing musicians. He also owns and has been producing for his own record label, SBE Records, since 1994. Although he lives in the North County region of San Diego, California and performs frequently in the San Diego and greater Southern California region, he has traveled to and performed in a number of international venues. He has one brother, jazz saxophonist Tripp Sprague, and one sister, Dr. Terry Sprague (PhD), who teaches dance as depicted on film and video. He is married to Stefanie Flory, an Occupational Therapist and the manager of SpragueLand Studios. They have one daughter, Kylie Sprague, born in 1993, and live in Leucadia, California.

An active and prolific musician, Sprague has produced or played on over 190 recordings including 20 on which he is featured artist (these for labels including Concord and Xanadu as well as his own SBE); overall he “has been part of over two hundred and fifty CD projects.”[2] He has studied with notable musicians including jazz guitarist Pat Metheney, Boston’s Madame Chaloff, and classical guitarist Albin Czak, and has played with many other notables including Chick Corea, Hubert Laws, David Benoit (with whom he toured for three years), and Sergio Mendes. He has written eleven published music books, six of which are his transcriptions of his own music (The Sprague Technique, SpragueSongs, Soliloquy Songbook, Blurring the Edges Songbook, BrazilJazz Songbook, Soliloquy Songbook) and five of his transcriptions of others’ (Jazz Solos of Charlie Parker, Jazz Solos of Sonny Rollins, Jazz Solos of McCoy Tyner, Assorted Jazz Solos, The Jazz Solos of Chick Corea); his The Peter Sprague Guitar Technique is required reading for a local college. He also transcribed six songbooks for Chick Corea (Chick Corea’s Light Years, The Eye Of The Beholder, Inside Out, Chick Corea Collections, Beneath The Mask, and Paint the World) and was chosen by Corea to arrange Corea’s famous piece “Spain” for that artist’s first GRP All Star Band recording. He composed and performed a twenty-minute guitar concerto, “Concerto for Two Guitars and Orchestra,” with the Grossmont Symphony Orchestra in May, 2000 and with the San Diego Symphony in May, 2002,[3] and has performed a number of times at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York. More recently he has toured Europe and Japan with vocalist Dianne Reeves, and in 2010 he was awarded a Chamber Music America grant commission to compose and perform new music, which he titled “Dr. Einstein’s Spin.”[4]

Sprague has also taught music to others: for three years he was an instructor at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood (California) and California Institute of the Arts in Valencia (Los Angeles County, California), and for two years he periodically traveled to Argentina to perform and teach there. Currently a member of the University of California, San Diego Jazz Camp faculty,[5] Sprague continues to nurture younger aspiring jazz musicians through workshops he conducts with local high school and college students and through his collaboration with and promotion of other talented but less-experienced or prominent musicians.

Also of note is Sprague’s original concept for a twin-neck guitar consisting of one nylon-string, wider classical-style neck combined with a second steel-string, narrower neck. He commissioned luthier Andy Powers to build this instrument and it is now one of Sprague’s primary guitars. Along with a similar twin-neck subsequently built by Powers for fellow guitarist Fred Benedetti, this nylon/steel twin-neck guitar is likely the first of its kind.[6]