Vic Dillahay is a Colorado-based guitarist, fretless guitarist, and mandolinist. He currently plays swing-era jazz with vibraphonist Pete Ehrmann in The Pete & Vic Duo, modern jazz with saxophonist Doug Carmichael (3ology), and acoustic hip-hop with One Member Shy of a Good band.
. As a kid I took lessons from Tim Baldwin, a local guitarist who constantly tried to hip me to the greats. He did his best to find stuff I might dig, but it took hearing a cut from Smokin' at the Half Note on KUVO (Denver's local station) for me to really get why I should play jazz.
I spent the next few years studying with various artists and at CU Denver trying to get a handle on the music. A few lessons that I took with Jimmy Bruno
and his book on picking really helped get my chops together. However, my biggest teacher has been the bandstand and the musicians I've worked with. They are the reason for anything that sounds good coming from my playing.
changes, or just working on power chords for an AC/DC tune, the focus is always on playing music.
It's also important to play for an audiencemusic is communication, not merely transmission. I make sure students have the opportunity to play on stage at least a few times per year so they can use what they've learned.
I love 55 Bar for its no-frills vibe. In Colorado, it's Sun Rose cafe in Longmont. The owner Steve is a huge supporter of the arts and has created a really wonderful space for acoustic music.
What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
To survive, the people who love jazz need to keep playing and listening.
For jazz to grow, we need to reach out to new listeners and make them feel welcome. Jazz is intense but subtle, so it takes time to understand and patience to teach its depth to someone raised on the immediacy of popular music. We lose our potential audience when we fail to communicate. When we are so focused on our own culture we become isolationists, belittling any music outside our ken.
What is in the near future?
I've been recording some of my own compositions for project that's due out next year and there's a Pete & Vic Duo album of standards waiting on a release date. I'm almost finished writing a book on applying pan-diatonic sets to jazz that should be published by Christmas.