Widely considered as one of the top acoustic guitarists in the world, masterful Woody Mann is a New York based musician and renowned teacher with deep roots in the blues. He has excellent credentials and has learned directly from the Rev. Gary Davis, played with Son House, Bukka White and John Fahey. Then, he ascended to ranks of the most celebrated and accomplished guitarists, regularly performing at the acoustic International Guitar Festival, an event that brings together the world’s finest players, kind of like the Mensa of the guitar. Along with Ed Gerhard, Bob Brozman, and a handful of others, he represents the blues well among the small circle of the “virtuosos virtuosos.”
By no means singularly a blues player, he has one foot in the jazz realm. When he does play the blues, his repertoire is wide-ranging and unlimited. Be it Ragtime, Piedmont, fingerpicking, slide, laptop, whatever he touches is amazing and delightful.
All the fancy technique, but can he play the blues with feeling? Resoundingly, yes! Of course, his performances are usually more jazz oriented, but when he wants to, play the blues, he is one of today’s best.
Blind Blake was the premier ragtime blues guitarist of the 1920s. His fingerpicking techniques and styles are fascinating and challenging. He explored, extended and experimented with the alternating bass style that was popular at the turn of the century so that it could encompass the current trends in rhythmic dance beats and the more complex blues ideas coming from the emerging jazz bands. His guitar playing influenced generations of country blues artists.
Lesson One: Blind Blake recorded many slow blues in the key of C. Black Dog Blues illustrates many of the licks and ideas that Blake used. Bad Feeling Blues is played in the key of D and presents a departure from Blake’s usual phrasing patterns.
Lesson Two: Sweet Jivin’ Mama is a blues in A, played in a quasi-open D tuning (E A D F# A D)! This unusual arrangement brings together beautiful voicings with a lyrical blues setting. Blind Blake’s most popular song for today’s audience is Diddie Wa Diddie. This fast ragtime blues in C highlights Blake’s thumb rolls.
Lesson Three: Blind Arthur’s Breakdown is a rag in the key of C that brings together a distinct five section instrumental combining thumb rolls, hot blues licks and unusual chord structures. This arrangement is a great challenge.
Level 3 • 24 page tab/music book with three compact discs