"Donohue' s genre-bending approach fuses the right-hand Piedmont fingerstyle of Blind Blake and Blind Boy Fuller with the harmonic vocabulary and improvising spirit of Charlie Christian and Wes Montgomery." – Guitar Player Magazine
The overall theme of these lessons is to show the roots of Classic Jazz using archival footage; how to arrange a jazz composition and then how to improvise around the arrangement using various techniques. Pat Donohue is a master of fingerstyle jazz guitar. He describes in detail his arrangements as well as how to improvise upon the tunes.
In the first lesson of Classic Jazz for Fingerstyle Guitar, Pat presents three great Jazz compositions: Stormy Weather, St. Louis Blues and You Rascal You. Archival footage is included that features Duke Ellington performing Stormy Weather with Ivie Anderson from1943; Bessie Smith singing St. Louis Blues from a rare 1929 film short and Louis Armstrong in 1942 doing You Rascal You.
81 minutes • Level 3 • Detailed tab/music PDF file on the DVD
Review: What a great treat these videos are! Pat Donahue is a new name to me. It’s refreshing to see someone interested in pre-war jazz, with the ability to approach these tunes in a modern manner, yet with respect for the originals.
Volume 1 begins with a clip of the Ellington band from 1943 performing “Stormy Weather” with an Ivie Anderson vocal and a glimpse of Fred Guy on guitar. After the video, Donahue plays his version of the tune, then spends considerable time explaining in great detail to the viewer how he approaches and arranges the tune. Above all, it’s important that what he plays sounds good a change from a lot of guitarists today. “Stormy Weather” is followed by “St. Louis Blues” by Bessie Smith and Louis Armstrong’s “You Rascal You.”
In each case, Donahue’s treatment of the song is musical and technically daring. Volume 2 is more of the same with a 1941 clip of Fats Waller and a 1942 clip of boogie woogie greats Albert Ammons and Pete Johnson. Donahue’s version of the boogie woogie tune “Big Band Bluesy” is awesome His technique is fun to watch and when he explains how he does it, even a budding finger picker like me can get it. These two videos together are fun and educational. If you buy them, you won’t be disappointed. – Just Jazz Guitar