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Billy Newman

Guitarist Billy Newman has been performing for over 20 years. Starting in Jazz, he performed in the 80’s with artists such as Dave Douglas and Vincent Herring. Since 1992 he has been traveling to Brazil, spending months there to investigate the myriad forms of music. In 1995 he began forming groups to perform principally Brazilian instrumental music at New York cultural institutions including the Guggenheim Museum, Brooklyn Museum, and MOMA, as well as at colleges, clubs and libraries. After 1998, Billy developed a serious passion for Choro music, studying and playing with musicians including Rogerio Souza and Rodrigo Lessa in Rio de Janeiro. In August 2000 he travelled to Recife and performed at the Conservatorio Pernambucano. In 2004 he taught in Brazil and performed in Rio de Janeiro and in 2007 gave jazz workshops and performed in Florianopolis. He has performed all over the New York Area with his groups, the Brazilian Acoustic Ensemble and Brooklyn Brazil Bop. In 2006 Billy was awarded a prestigious composer’s residency at Yaddo. Composer’s residencies followed in both 2007 and 2008 in the famous MacDowell Colony.


MacDowell Composer Residencies 2007,2008 Yaddo Composer Residency 2006 Brazilian Guitar (Alfred Music) Instruction book pub. 2002


Through outstanding collaborations like the Brazilian Acoustic Ensemble, guitarist and composer Billy Newman has emerged as a leading exponent of the music of Brazil. Exploring far beyond the well-trodden bossa nova path, Newman unearths the full range of styles the country offers, including choro, baiào, valsa and samba, and gives American audiences a rich panoramic glimpse into Brazilian art, highlighting its parallels with progressive jazz. A recipient of composers residencies at Yaddo and MacDowell Colony, he is the curator of a three-day series at the club dedicated to the country's music

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Primary Instrument



New York City

Willing to teach

Beginner to advanced


I have been teaching for many years now. My instruction goes beyond guitar to include improvisation for other instruments, Ear training, Harmony and composition. My Schedule is flexible just inquire. I've been teaching online since 2009 via Skype or Google. I've instructed in recent times horn players in improvising and even a steel drum player. Some have found me useful for my sight reading methods. I am always enthusiastic to help someone who has strong passion for music and especially one who can find the time to practice. Over the years there have been those students who have improved by doing their practice just in the hour lesson every week. I will work with you and show you how to work by yourself. I've often found much Joy teaching students and beginners but I think I can be very useful to advanced students. I have amassed a body of transcriptions fingered for guitar by some of my favorite horn players and pianists. These include Frank Strozier (alto sax), Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans, Wayne Shorter, Clifford Brown, Sonny Rollins, etc. I have over 30 solos already in digital form and I will do a guitar book on horn and piano solos adapted for guitar one day. Most of the work is done. To recuperate all the solos for a demonstration CD would be quite a challenge! I have definite ideas about positions and slurring to make these solos as easy on the neck and strings as possible. These ideas are always evolving of course. The development of a "Brazilian solo guitar repertoire" in order to play these types of gigs had led me to amass a vast collection of chorinho and other Brazilian guitar material directly from Brazil. I've spent hours at the Biblioteca Nacional in Rio de Janeiro and in the file cabinets of many generous friends. I've been sharpening my arranging powers over the years and also have a collection of my own arrangements of many sambas, bossa novas and baiãos. This includes a number of arrangements of Pixinguinha which are far more playable than Barbosa-Lima's. It would be my greatest pleasure to help someone on this path. I have a lot more to offer my students in developing within Brazilian music than what is in the fairly condensed 50-page book I did for Alfred in 2002. Of course this book is still highly recommended! It can be purchased from GuitarWorkshop.com, or by contacting me directly. Rhythmic training is an integral part of learning Brazilian guitar as well as instruction in classical guitar techniques. My students improve vastly in their ability to recognize and play rhythmic motives. I was trained in pandeiro and will encourage percussion playing and the exploration of basic polyrhythm.

Clinic/Workshop Information

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Frank Strozier
saxophone, alto
John Gilmore
saxophone, tenor
Grant Green
Baden Powell
guitar, acoustic
Rogério Souza


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