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Take Five With Curt Sheller

AAJ Staff By

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Meet Curt Sheller: Curt has been a performing guitarist/recording artist for the past 30 years and a private music instructor for the last 20 years. As an educator and author, Curt has published over 20 books on music, guitar and ukulele. Here is what Nick Matty said about Curt's books. "I have purchased many books over the past 15 years I have been playing and none of them come even close to having the detailed and easy to understand information yours have."

Currently exploring jazz using ukulele.

Instrument(s):

Guitar, bass guitar, ukulele.

Teachers and/or influences?

Chuck Anderson is my main teacher and influence in all things guitar and the music business. Influenced by jazz guitarists Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, Django Reinhardt, Jim Hall and Steve Khan. For ukulele it is Lyle Ritz, James Hill, Jake Shimbukuro and Gordon Velesco.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

Like a lot of guitar players my age, it was probably the British Invasion with The Beatles and that group of bands. I remember seeing the Beatles on Ed Sullivan when I was 10. Then Motown and The Beach Boys.

In my early 20's I was turned on the jazz by my guitar teacher Paul Byrne. I fell in love with the melody and chord style of playing.

Your sound and approach to music:

Creating or taking existing melodies and songs and creating instrumental arrangements. The songs can be anything from standards and straight ahead jazz and contemporary pop.

Your teaching approach:

A music coach and guide for student to explore guitar and music. Striving to bring the best out of a student, based on their goals. To instill in them a dedication to learning music and exploring their own voice on the instrument.

Your dream band:

I just like working with like minded, professional musicians.

Favorite venue:

Most every ukulele festival I perform at, present workshops and hawk my books. They are the best people in the world to work with and don't bring any of the political BS to the table that typically goes on in other genres and in the guitar circle. They are there for the love of the instrument.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?

My debut jazz CD. First CD and a real relief to get out.

The first Jazz album I bought was:

Joe Pass - Virtuoso

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?

My teaching and especially my application of contemporary instrumental and jazz for solo ukulele.

Did you know...

For ukulele fans I'm also an accomplished jazz guitarist. For guitarists the ukulele is a great instrument to become a better guitarist.

Desert Island picks:

Wes Montgomery - The Incredible Guitar of Wes Montgomery

Jeff Beck - Wired

Jeff Beck - Blow by Blow

Jim Hall - Live

Kenny Burrell - Midnight Blue.

How would you describe the state of jazz today?

Lots of potential and a constant struggle to get our music out there.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?

Live performance and teaching.

What is in the near future?

A jazz trio CD using ukulele, bass and drums.

By Day:

Private guitar teacher, author, publisher and graphic designer.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:

Graphic Designer or Computer Programmer for Mac OS X and iPhone software.

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