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Joe Diorio

Guitarist and composer Joe Diorio was born in Waterbury, CT, August 6, 1936. Joe had over 50 years experience playing the guitar and over 40 years experience as a performer and recording artist. He has worked with such jazz luminaries as Sonny Stitt, Eddie Harris, Ira Sullivan, Stan Getz, Horace Silver, and Freddie Hubbard. He has recently toured Italy with Riccardo Del Fra (bass player with Chet Baker, Johnny Griffin, Toots Thieleman). In recent years he also recorded albums with contemporary performers including Robben Ford, Gary Willis, David Becker, and Mick Goodrick.

Over the course of his career, Diorio recorded 19 albums. His most recent releases include three CD reissues on the Art of Life Records label, ArtOfLifeRecords.com, “Straight Ahead to the Light” with percussionist Steve Bagby reissued in 2018, “Peaceful Journey” reissued in 2017 and “Solo Guitar” reissued in 2006. Other releases include: I Remember Wes, a tribute to Wes Montgomery; A solo guitar album We Will Meet Again; Double Take with live recordings of the performances with Riccardo Del Fra; and Rare Birds, a duo album with Mick Goodrick.

Highly respected as an educator, Joe has many books and an educational video to his name. He began teaching at the USC Thornton School of Music in 1984 and continued to work with students until 2007. Diorio conducted jazz guitar seminars throughout the United States, Europe, and Brazil. Additionally, Joe was one of the three founding instructors for the Guitar Institute of Technology (G. I. T.) in Hollywood California. Diorio wrote 14 instructional books including “Intervallic Designs for Jazz Guitar: Ultramodern Sounds for Improvising and Giant Steps”.

Joe Diorio passed on February 2, 2022, at the age of 85.


Album Review
Multiple Reviews
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Joe Diorio-"Solo Guitar" CD Reissue Review

Vintage Joe Diorio recording that was originally released in 1975 on the Spitball label (SB-2). Some of the other records by Joe on that label were, Straight Ahead to the Light with Steve Bagby, SoloDuo with Wally Cirillo, Rapport with Cirillo and Peaceful Journey (solo). Peaceful Journey and Solo Guitar are my favorites of that series. Solo Guitar is a huge departure from what was generally being played in 1975. The innovations Joe was doing were hardly noticed as it sounded so easy and right. I think Joe is using the middle pick-up as the sound is so sharp and biting. Joe layers a few of the tunes, Windows, Invitation and Without You. The rest are solo. It's hard to believe this recording is over 30 years old. Joe's interpretations are extraordinary not to mention a display of technique that's mind boggling. The layered Windows is a perfect display of what great jazz guitar can aspire to. The recording sound on the CD has much better fidelity than the original record. Joe throws off his runs and 4th excursions with such ease that I shake my head and think, How did he do that?The unusual harmonies, moving lines, and single note passages are truly amazing. Joe's composition Poem has a real 20th century feel to it. 20th century then meant something else than now. You can hear Julian Bream play this and love it. Very compositional. Invitation starts very quietly and introspectively. Joe then goes crazy playing totally mad. (In a good way). I feel this track shows Joe's complete dedication to his craft and artistry. India is another Diorio tune with lots of open strings and a gentle, almost lullaby feel to it, some engaging rhythm and beautiful expression. The standard, A Time for Love is on its own a great tune and here's Joe doing a remarkable version. Still using open strings but somehow it doesn't sound arranged. It feels like Joe is playing everything improvised with a few guide lines. I'm sure Joe played this tune a million times and felt relaxed to try anything he heard. Joe's own Call to the Center is a real gem! What in the world is this man hearing? No restrictions at all. I always thought that certain guitarists like Barney, Tal, Johnny and some others were not trapped by the conventions of the guitar. They played music on the guitar and not just the guitar. Joe is another one who always did that. Without You is the last track with a layered 2nd guitar. It's a lovely ending to a remarkable set of music.

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Jorge Garcia
guitar, electric
Don Price
guitar, acoustic


Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


Art of Life Records


Straight Ahead to the...

Art of Life Records


Peaceful Journey

Art of Life Records


Solo Guitar

Art of Life Records



Mel Bay Records



Diorio Jazz Records




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