50 Jazz Blues Licks is an exclusive series of video guitar lessons by David Hamburger covering the jazz blues styles of historically great guitarists like Geoge Benson, Kenny Burrell, Joe Pass, and many others. A new lick will be released each week, so be sure to subscribe and check back often!

Grant Green’s arrival on the New York scene in 1959-1960 is in many ways the classic overnight success story – one in which the succeeder in question actually spent years under the radar honing his or her chops before getting exposed to a broader scene. Green was a working musician in St. Louis, playing gigs and doing his thing, when altoist Lou Donaldson (Jazz Blues Licks #4, #5) heard the guitarist on a swing through town. Donaldson, then recording for Blue Note records, brought Green to the attention of label partner/co-founder/producer Alfred Lion, and Green was soon in New York recording on a Donaldson session. Lion swiftly arranged for a date with Green as a leader, seen by many as an indication of how taken Lion was with Green – the more general policy at the label was to give a new musician a much longer trial period doing sessions with others in the stable before getting a session of one’s own. And interestingly, Lion may have felt he’d been overly hasty,, as Green’s initial date, with no less a rhythm section than Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones, was shelved (though released four decades later as First Session). The guitarist’s followup organ-trio date, with Baby Face Willette and Ben Dixon, however, evidently passed muster, as it was released in 1961, launching one of the most successful jazz guitar careers of the 1960s.

Video Guitar Lesson

If you like these guitar lessons, be sure to also check out Frank Vignola’s Jazz Up Your Blues, which showcases essential jazz blues vocabulary and techniques, Mark Stefani’s Jazzed Blues Assembly Lines, which takes you on a sonic learning tour through the funky rhythm and blues stylings and fretboard concepts of top jazz blues players, and of course all of David Hamburger’s courses.