up his 2004 solo debut Song For Micaela, NYC guitarist James
Silberstein achieves some equally rewarding results with his 2008
CD Expresslane. Like Micaela, the 11 track 60+ minute
Expresslane puts Silberstein on the fast track with a solid
set of in the groove jazz guitar-based instrumentals. Expresslane
features the guitarist in some good companyincluding bassist
Harvie Swartz, Eric Alexander (sax) drummer Vince
Cherico and moreserving up modern versions of past masters
including Cole Porter, Rogers & Hart, Hoagy Carmichael, guitar
ace Jack Wilkins and more. Several Silberstein originals fit into
the CDs classic mainstream jazz guitar style quite nicely while
liner notes by jazz expert Bill Milkowski offers fresh insights
on Silbersteins latest jazz guitar masterpiece.
WEB EXPRESS 3000 presents Guitars Center Stage
an interview with JAMES SILBERSTEIN
Guitarists making waves in the music world, their new recordings and
Ive been playing guitar for more than 35 years. When
I was a kid, we listened to Duke, Tommy Dorsey, Count Basie, Frank
Sinatra, Ella, Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett and lots of
classical music. My mother told me that when I was two, I used to
listen to classical music for hours at a time. Later, I got into the
Beatles, Stones, Cream, Hendrix, Burt Bacharach, Ravi Shankar, Sandy
Bull, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell and others. When I was 18, I heard
a guy in Central Park in NYC playing beautiful Brazilian-style chord
melody and singing. I listened and got up the courage to ask for lessons.
That began a wonderful learning experience and friendship for me with
Gaudencio Thiago de Mello, the great Brazilian guitarist/singer/composer.
I began listening to jazz recordings and going to jazz clubs. I heard
and met a number of great guitarists at a jazz guitar club in NY called
The Guitar, including Chuck Wayne, with whom I later studied,
and Sam Brown, who became my musical mentor. I also studied with Barry
Galbraith, who helped get me started with sight-reading, and with
Rudolph Schramm, a brilliant arranger. Later, I met Tim Breen, a fantastic
guitarist who was probably my biggest influence. Ive worked
with a pretty diverse list of artists, including Zoot Sims, The Drifters,
Dave Schnitter, Carter Jefferson, Jack Wilkins, Norah Jones, Peter
Leitch, Attilla Zoller, Larry Elgart's Big Band, and comedian Bob
My new CD, Expresslane, was recorded at Kaleidoscope
Sound Studios in Union City, N.J. in 2007. The guitar was recorded
acoustically, directly through the board, and through a miked amp.
Having three tracks provides more options for working on your sound.
The CD gave me an opportunity to play some solo arrangements and in
a variety of ensemble settings and write some tunes. I think it reflects
a range of time-feels, moods, and technical styles and seems pretty
representative of my playing.
I played a Takamine classical guitar on Shadows,
a Gibson Citation on My Romance, and a Gibson Wes Montgomery
L5 model guitar on the other tunes, and used a Fender Twin, an old
Ampeg and an AER amp. I generally use 12 gauge DAddario strings,
Tortex picks and Dunlop finger picks and no pedals.
In addition to the guitarists I mentioned earlier, my biggest
guitar influences when I started playing were Wes Montgomery, Pat
Martino, George Benson, Joe Pass, Tal Farlow, Baden Powell and Bola
Sete. I transcribed some of their solos and tried to imitate aspects
of their playing. There are so many great guitarists now. To name
a few, Gene Bertoncini, Russell Malone, Jack Wilkins and Paul Myers
are master solo guitarists and I also love John McLaughlin, Rodney
Jones, Peter Leitch, Gregg Skaff, Peter Bernstein, Kurt Rosenwinkle,
Allan Holdsworth, so many others. Some of the albums that profoundly
impacted me were Charlie Parker - Live at Massey Hall, Kind
of Blue, In A Silent Way, Bitches Brew, and numerous
Wes, Bill Evans, Pat Martino and George Benson albums.