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!

As he reminisces in this interview, Orrin Keepnews produced records for the independent Riverside label during its highwater mark, working on records by Wes Montgomery, Milt Jackson, Thelonious Monk and many others including, prior to his stint with Blue Note, trumpeter Blue Mitchell. As the story everyone loves to repeat goes, the difference between Blue Note’s records and those of its other main rival on the scene, Prestige, was “a day of rehearsal.” Paid rehearsal, as Keepnews points out. Riverside, says Keepnews, was somewhere in the middle, and they certainly made some fabulous records of their own (hello, “Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery”). And if you’re a hopeless music geek like I am, you’ll also recognize Keepnews as the author of many jazz liner notes of that era and beyond, for Riverside and elsewhere. Dig his discussion here about what it was like to record Mitchell, including a story involving Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderly and a Hawaiian shirt that should make anyone who’s ever gotten vibed out by another musician feel a little better, knowing that it can and does happen to the best of them. And then check out our second Blue Mitchell turnaround.

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.