One simply cannot talk about people of importance to this genre without tipping the hat to the most masterful musician, teacher, musicologist, producer, folklorist and preservationist of the traditional blues. By now, Stefan Grossman is a venerated, iconoclastic and respected acoustic blues figure of mega-proportions. He came out of the vibrant Greenwich Village, New York, 1960s scene around Washington Square, where so many American folk and blues musicians launched their careers. His friend and occasional collaborator, Steve Katz, formerly of the Even Dozen Jug Band, the Blues Project and Blood, Sweat & Tears, once half jokingly told this writer: “There we were, all these New York Jews playing the black blues.” Indeed, the blues had a strong influence on young New Yorkers during the folk revival. These musicians, Stefan Grossman, Happy & Artie Traum, Danny Kalb, and many others, in turn had a powerful influence on the acceptance of the blues by the American baby boomer generation at large; and, they significantly helped to launch the folk, roots & blues revival, thereby reinvigorating the careers of many original blues musicians whose careers had waned.
Many people know Stefan Grossman as the paramount teacher and entrepreneur in what has become the world’s largest “blues school”, Stefan Grossman’s Guitar Workshop. He is one of the most skilled guitarists in the genre, having been a student of Rev. Gary Davis in New York City. He also picked up lessons directly from Mississippi John Hurt, Son House, Skip James, Mississippi Fred McDowell, and others.
Four original instrumentals all in standard tuning and in different keys are taught in this lesson. These are multi-part compositions that should challenge the intermediate to advanced fingerstyle guitarists. I have brought together blues, country and jazz ideas to these solos.
Bermuda Triangle Exit has three parts. It begins with a counterpoint section that then leads in to an alternating bass theme and resolves with an R&B fashioned third part. Beyond The Pleasure Dome (also known as Matesa) comes next. This is played in the key of C and brings together several country blues styles to a lyrical instrumental. The Way She Walks is very much influenced by my many years living in England. I learnt the first section from Martin Carthy and then added two additional parts to round off the composition. Why A Duck is played in the key of F and was originally recorded as a duet with John Renbourn. My part stands well as a guitar solo and opens up the fingerboard to a variety of interesting chord fingerings.
All in all, four enjoyable instrumentals that should keep your fingers of both hands very busy.
116 minutes - level 3/4 - Detailed tab/music PDF file on the DVD
Review: Another in a long series of excellent guitar DVD lessons from Stefan Grossman. This is for the Intermediate player (Level 3 to 4) though challenging enough for the Advanced player. If you are not familiar with the Level System, go to guitarvideos.com for the rankings.
If you are familiar you know that as in other DVD lessons, the author first demo's the song, and then breaks it down, with close camera work, the complexities. With the careful use of the pause button, a late staged beginner (Advanced Beginner? I sound like Winston Churchill!) will benefit from these marvelous and "delightful" originals by Stefan Grossman.
This DVD is like a follow up from his Fingerpicking Blues Guitar Solos DVD where the student is challenged as well as encouraged; the author likes to push forward, rest a bit, push forward again, some review, etc, and the student WILL progress.
If you find this DVD to be a bit "over your head" do not despair. Stay with it and learn one song. Here at Amazon (or at the guitarvideo.com website) you will find many other excellent lessons that may better suit your level. How To Play Blues Guitar in 3 volumes is a "must" for all lovers of acoustic music. Folk Blues, Country Blues, and some fun "Blues in..." various keys are all easy to learn, yet can lead you to deeper and more complex playing, especially as you improvise. The How To Play the Blues series is a must for a solid foundation.
The songs here are all both fun to play and enjoyable to listen to. If you are familiar with Stefan Grossman's CDs, you will recognize where the licks come from and how thoroughly enjoyable they are (I listen to them at work and in the car as the familiarity with the songs help me while learning) and you will find friends and family loving them as well.
These 4 songs, including the fun Why a Duck? a la the Marx Brothers, are performance orientated and will be fans' favorites. With the step by step instruction, the incredibly clear and distinct camera work, this DVD will be a sure favorite among players.
Stretch out and learn. Push yourself a bit. The songs are worth it! - Peter Hyatt/Amazon Customer Review