Meet Joe Diorio

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I've got some pretty good ones out. A lot of people have commented. I've gone back and started working out of them myself. The first book I did was Intervallic Designs. It's those wide skips we were talking about. It's good for your technique and your ear. The next book was Fusion Guitar, but it's not "Fusion" fusion. It's the fusion of earlier jazz and more contemporary jazz. I'd write one solo more inside and the next solo more adventurous. There are tons of ideas in it—that's what you really need for jazz. The next one, Hot Licks, just had simple licks in it. Last year I wrote Jazz Structures for the New Millennium. It's like book II of Intervallic Designs, but expanded—a lot of incredible, different sounding lines are in it. It's for someone who's adventurous. I wrote a blues book, Jazz Blues Styles—taking the flavor of Bird [Charlie Parker], Sonny Rollins, and Monk: putting it together the way I've digested it—plus chord progressions. I also did one called Giant Steps. I never intended Giant Steps to be a book. I was just writing out the solos so I could understand the tune better. Don Mauch happened to see them and said, "Why don't you make a book out of this?" I said, "Man, these things are hard. I'm still learning how to play them." He said, "No, it'll be alright. Go ahead and do it." Warner Brothers approached me, and I sent them the draft. They liked it and published it. There are twenty solos on "Giant Steps," chord progressions, harmonizations, different ways to play through the progressions. It can help your technique, your ears, your chords. I try to include as much as possible in each book. I have a video, Creative Jazz Guitar, that helps people get in touch with their own creativity.



John Coltrane

Starting in the fifties when he came on the scene he dominated everything. He taught us how to hear a different way, how to approach things differently. The combination of Coltrane and Bird together—you've got it all. Obviously the earlier period is easier to hear for most of us. Towards the end it sounded chaotic, but it really wasn't. I like all of it, but it's not for everybody. Actually some younger people have told me they like the latter period much more—maybe their heads are more open.

Ravi Shankar

He's one of my greatest inspirations. He taught me how beautiful Indian music is and how deep you can go with music. It's always spiritual. He said, "Whatever the path is go toward God." I used to try to imitate him, but I had no idea what I was doing. I didn't understand Indian music that much and still don't, but I liked what I heard. Certain things he did would stand out in my mind, and I'd try to play them. There were certain "drone" pieces I wrote. ["Chetananda" from Peaceful Journey, Spitball Records] In the early 60's there wasn't anybody around to teach it, and I couldn't find a sitar—there were none available. I just left it at that. That's an art form you have to study with a deep commitment.

Dom Moio [drummer who occasionally plays with Diorio]

I love him. Dominic is just incredible, a big leaguer. He lives in Arizona. He teaches at the University of Arizona and plays around that area. Dominic and I have some things in the making. He can cook that Italian food—you go over to his house, you'll walk away with about three pounds on you.

Electronics

It's not part of my bag. I've tried a chorus a couple of times, but I lose something of my own sound. It works great for a lot of people. I was listening to Mike Stern yesterday. I thought he sounded great, exceptional. All those electronics work for him. Same thing with Sco [John Scofield]. The minute you hear it you know it's him. I think maybe Pat Metheny, too—the early Pat. I think he's playing a lot clearer now. I'm a staunch jazz musician from the old school.


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