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Jitterbug Vipers

My Jazz Story

Answers from our guitar player Slim Richey, born Feb 11, 1938 I love jazz because, to me, Jazz is the ultimate freedom in art. I was first exposed to jazz a tiny bit by radio. My older sister, Robin, was a piano major at SMU. She played cocktail piano and sang. She brought me a 2 LP set of Bennie Goodman’s 1939 Carnegie Hall Concert just to “get jazz in my head”, and a year later, she brought me a 10” Barney Kessel LP. I met Dizzy Gillespie and Herb Ellis on the same night in 1955 by boldly walking backstage at a Jazz At The Philharmonic Concert in Dallas. I was 17 years old. The stage guard followed me in but left when he saw me talking to Dizzy who had put his hand on my shoulder. I introduced my self to Herb Ellis and we had a long friendship. He visited me once and let Meaux Jeaux and I produce 2 instructional videos on his playing which Herb had me play on and featured one of my jazz compositions, “Joeography”. Herb and I were friends from 1955 until he passed away in 2010. The best show I ever attended was probably at the Half Note in NYC where Monk was playing. The first jazz record I bought was "Barney Kessel Plays Standards". My advice to new listeners is, if you want to immerse yourself in jazz guitar, start with Charlie Christian and Django Reinhardt. To me to most swinging guitarists following those two were Herb Ellis, Barney Kessel and the supreme guitarist of all time, Wes Montgomery. And listen to Freddie Green for rhythm guitar.