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Sheryl Bailey at the SJGS

We are excited to announce that Sheryl Bailey, the renowned and highly regarded American guitarist, will be performing at the Southern Jazz Guitar Society on Sunday, June 23rd. This is a rare opportunity to see her outside the USA or London so be sure to put the date in your diary. The concert will start at 8:00pm and the location is the Lantern Theatre at Mountbatten School in Romsey. See the Contact Us page for directions. As usual, there will be a licensed bar.


Sheryl will also give a clinic at 3.30. If you are interested in coming please use the contact page to get in touch with us.


By kenlawson, Mar 21 2018 06:28PM

My Experiences with Henry Johnsons "Jazz Expressions" TrueFire course.

In this episode of the blog I have been continuing with my studies of the G major and minor inversions, their scales and arpeggios. I have also been trying to come up with my own lines and licks, whilst studying some of Mr Johnsons lines. I am still convinced that this slow methodical way studying this material will pay of in the end.

I feel I am beginning to see these areas of activity and know the relevant notes I could use when I see a specific chord on the chart, so this is encouraging.

Also, I would like to share an insight that I have gained by watching a video lesson later in the course. The lesson is titled "Phrases Not Scales" and in it Mr Johnson explains and demonstrates how to think in phrases when improvising. The point that caught my attention was this, your lines will continue to sound like scales or arpeggios until you start to think in terms of speaking a phrase or sentance. A sentance or phrase to be understood needs a begining, a middle and an ending. So it seems to me from viewing Mr Johnson's examples that I need to use the choice of notes, rhythmic variation and other melodic devises to crreate each part of the phrase. It also follows that when putting a series of phrases together to create a solo they need to done in the same manner as we tell a story: with a series of sentences and paragraphs, the solo needs to have a beginning, a middle and an end.

I have recorded a short video demonstrating the difference between playing notes from a scale and making the same notes into a phrase.

There are earthquakes happening in my jazz guitar studies right now; I will explain in my next post.

By kenlawson, Mar 9 2018 09:23AM

My Experiences with Henry Johnson's "Jazz Expressions" Course

In this past week I have been further consolidating or committing to what memory I have left the four Gm7 inversions, the relivant scales, arpeggio shapes, notes, and intervals. I have also studied similar information for the minor inversions. This is slow going but I'm driven on in the belief that I will reap the rewards in future when I improvise. The expectation is that this work will facilitate more melodic improvisation whilst following the harmony instead of just using the home scale of a song or section of a song as my free improvisation does currently.

The video I've posted this week is a free samplier for the course that have posted on Youtube. In it Mr Johson explains his "Areas of Activity" concept.

Next week I will be practicing the major and minor information and using a few of Mr Johnson licks to play over these chords.

By kenlawson, Mar 2 2018 09:58AM

My Experiences with Henry Johnson's "Jazz Expressions" Course.

The past week has found me consolidating the four Gmaj7 inversions, scales and arpeggios I discussed last week. I have been practicing using these to improvise over the Gmaj7 chords in each position. I have also been using Frank Vignola's "Ten Rhythms 70 Example Riffs" lessons to give me ideas to improve my improvised lines.

Here is a short video to demonstrate where I am with this practice, (you will notice I have many more hours of practice to do yet), I'm just at the beginning.

Using Henry's Jazz Expressions course, I am now starting to learn some Gmin7 inversions and repeat the scale and arpeggio studies, more on this next week. If I get time with all the other, Chord Melody and maintaining my repertoire work I have planed, I will add a couple more of Frank's riffs.

By kenlawson, Feb 22 2018 01:31PM


In the first video Mr Johnson tells us the course is broken down into two sections. The first will cover the concepts and techniques he feels essential in his approach to playing jazz guitar. In the second section, we are told he will demonstrate how he applies these to a number of performance studies.

Lessons 1, 2 & 3

I have combined my responses to the first three lessons because they outline his concepts, how he visualises the fretboard and his demonstrations of these concepts. Also I started the third lesson during this last week.

In the first lesson Mr Johnson is saying he needs to visualise the fretboard firstly in chord shapes, then their relation to arpeggios and scale tones. These are then moved around the fretboard by use of inversions of the chords. After watching the videos entitled, "Visualising The Fretboard", Chord Shapes & Inversions" and "Areas Of Activity" it is clear to me I have a lot of work to do. I need to revisit the five positions I once learned for the Major, Minor, Pentatonic and Blues scales, and I should take this opportunity to really memorise them. There will also be some work on memorising some relevant Arpeggios.

That is a lot of work, but from what Mr Johnson is throwing around as incidental comments and what he is using to demonstrate his concepts and their use, I am gonna need to do it.

So what have I been doing this last week. I have learned the four inversions of the Gmaj7 chord, at the 3rd, 5th, 9th and 12th positions, all on the top (1, 2, 3 and 4) four strings. While I do this I am also re-learning the 5 position major shapes, notes and intervals for G major scale and Arpeggios for these positions.

I am now practicing playing the chords followed by the scale and/or arpeggio, I can select notes from these to improvise over this chord in these positions. To improve the musicality of this improvisation I am thinking of re-visiting Frank Vignola's lesson, "Ten Jazz Rhythms 70 Example Riffs", but more about this next week.

By kenlawson, Feb 14 2018 11:49AM

Hello, I am about to take over this blog to record my experiences while I try to develop my jazz guitar skills and knowledge. I will be posting articles and comments while I struggle with the complexities of learning jazz guitar and highlighting the study materials I am using. These will be articles from the SJGS website and lessons purchased from tutors on and off the internet.

I should firstly explain that my objective is to show what I am studying, record my progress with it and the feelings of this beginner. What is definitely NOT intended, is provide tuition to other players, I'm not qualified.

I will also initially be learning to use this blog editor, if that is the correct terminology, and as I learn what it can and can't do, I hope the blog content will improve.

I hope to post new content every week, health and "real world" life permitting, the first posts will concentrate on a new program from a USA jazz guitarist, Henry Johnson. In 54 years of listening to jazz guitar I have never heard of, Henry Johnson, but I like his sound, approach and aims in writing this course. The course is titled "Jazz Expressions", and a first quick scan through shows it is based on Mr Johnson's own concepts, techniques and observations on playing jazz guitar. So let me get the guitar in my hands and explore, I'll report how I get on in a weeks time.

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Louis Stewart Jul 2014 _ 4 edited