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Steve Herberman, Hristo Vitchev, Rick Stone and Harvey Valdes

Dom Minasi By

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Welcome back to Guitarists Rendezvous, our third installment in a series that introduces readers to emerging or established guitarists who fly just under the radar of public recognition. Each will field the same four questions and we've included audio and video so you can sample their music.

This installment includes a diverse group of musicians from New York, California, and Washington DC.

Meet Steve Herberman

Steve hails from Washington DC. I met Steve about 15 years ago at a jazz conference in New York City. Just by talking to him I knew he was a great player. Checking out his website and video's confirmed it. What his website doesn't show is that Steve is nice guy who's has humility in abundance. Steve was born in 1966 in Bethesda, Maryland. He is a graduate of Berklee College Of Music. Later on in his career Steve switched to the seven-string guitar. He has performed at many venues throughout the US and the UK including the NAMM shows and has performed with some of the best musicians around including Keter Betts, Buster Williams, Gary Bartz, Ali Ryerson, Steve LaSpina, Jeff Hirshfield, John Pisano and many more. Steve has an active performance, recording and teaching career. His latest recording in 2015 co-released with fellow guitarist, Steve Abshire, is titled Between Friends on the Mainstay jazz label.

Q: How long have you played the guitar?

A: 38 years

Q: Who are your major influences?

A: The following were (and still are) my heroes. I got into periods of listening a lot to each, roughly in this order beginning when I was around 14 years old: Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, Charlie Parker, Kenny Burrell, Dexter Gordon, Art Tatum, Bill Evans, Oscar Moore, Nat "King" Cole, and later Johnny Smith, Lenny Breau and George Van Eps. I've added many other players since these guys but this is where I began and I seem to always come back to them.

Q: Why jazz?

A: The spontaneity has always appealed to me. The rhythms in the music, the use of all of the colors of the harmonic rainbow, the interesting people whom made/make jazz. Mostly the impressive repertoire by jazz composers, and the Great American songbook and music from other parts of the world, like Brazil, Europe and Africa, etc. Jazz ideally includes all music and it's amazing to hear a good soloist spontaneously compose a solo of great beauty, depth and complexity (or simplicity).

Q: Where do you think jazz is headed?

A: I believe that jazz will continue to embrace the new music styles that come along and keep improvisation at its foundation. Jazz will also hopefully always pay homage to the great advancements of the past and continue to champion the originality of the musical artist.

Steve Herberman is a guitarist deserving of further recognition. Check Steve out, especially his teaching videos and the fluidity in which he performs, believe me you won't be disappointed.

Meet Rick Stone

I met Rick around 1986 and hadn't heard him play till about ten years later at the old uptown Birdland in NYC. I was impressed. Rick was playing a D'Aquisto, Fender Arch-top guitar and sounded great. Since those years Rick has made quite a reputation for himself in the New York area, but he is still slightly below the radar of national and international recognition.


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