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.