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Guitarist Charley Rich studied privately with notables Joe Monk and Harry Leahy. At Stony Brook, he focused on composition, studied with Richard Dyer-Bennet and then spent a year at Berklee College of Music. After college he played the club scene in NYC, performed for impresario Sid Bernstein, studied classical guitar with Jerry Willard and took a fascinating lesson with Ralph Towner.
Charley has played with many bands and done solo gigs such as opening up the first 20th Century Classic American Guitar Show on Long Island. He spent several years prior to this new CD performing and recording with the Long Island group, Sun, Moon and Stars.
Teachers and/or influences?
I knew I wanted to be a musician when...
I wanted to be a musician since high school. While I started playing an instrument around 8, I became highly motivated about it in high school with my first jazz-rock band.
Your sound and approach to music:
Melody. Tone. Tell a story
Your teaching approach:
Find what gets them excited musically and teach within that context. Learning should always be fun.
Road story: Your best or worst experience:
Pushing the band equipment on sleds up a hill to a college dormitory where we were playing.
Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
"Mythology." It is a bebop big band tune. I had so much fun tracking the horn parts on midi guitar.
Tommy Emmanuel and Frank Vignola. Just Between Frets.
Desert Island picks:
Tommy Emmanuel, Only;
Ralph Towner , Diary;
The Allman Brothers Band, Live at the Fillmore East.
How would you describe the state of jazz today?
Seems forgotten in today's mobile culture. It is one of the greatest things to come out of the US, but pop culture has just overwhelmed it. I would like to see it taught as something authentically American in public schools.
What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
Education and exposure.
What is in the near future?
Promoting my new CD, By Myself.
What song would you like played at your funeral?
Product Management and Marketing in the IT industry
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.