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Take Five With Greg Diamond

AAJ Staff By

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Greg Diamond Meet Greg Diamond:

Greg Diamond is emerging in the New York jazz scene as a bandleader and sideman. He's performed at venues such as Dizzy's Club Coca Cola, Rose Theater, (JALC) Smalls Jazz Club, The Knitting Factory, 55 Bar, Zinc Bar, and many others.

In 2007, he was invited to compete among six other finalists at the Gibson International Jazz Guitar Competition hosted by the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Greg has shared the stage with such notables as: Seamus Blake, Antonio Hart, Rolando Briceño, Michael Philip Mossman, Hector Martignon, Don Friedman, Sonny Murray, and many others.

Greg has a Masters degree in Jazz Performance from the Aaron Copeland School of Music at Queens College in Flushing, NY.

Instrument(s):

Guitar, piano.

Teachers and/or influences?

Teachers: Billy Bauer, Paul Bollenback, Jack Wilkins, Peter Bernstein, Michael Mossman, Antonio Hart.

Influences: Kurt Rosenwinkel, Brad Mehldau, John Coltrane, Jim Hall, Grant Green, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Pat Metheny, John Scofield, Bill Frisell, Mongo Santamaria, Hermeto Pascoal, Hector Lavoe, Arsenio Rodriguez, Machito, Toto La Momposina, and many others,

I knew I wanted to be a musician when... I realized that this is all there is for me.

Your sound and approach to music:

I would describe my sound as contemporary jazz with a Latin soul.

Your teaching approach: You get out of the guitar what you put into it. I emphasize the importance of tone, phrasing, touch, etc. My four ideals in approaching the guitar are: Lyricism, Sound, Language, and Technique.

Favorite venue:

Smalls and Nublu, both in New York.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why? I only have one recording and I'm very happy with it.

The first Jazz album I bought was: John Coltrane, My Favorite Things (Atlantic).

Did you know...

I now speak five languages fluently

How would you describe the state of jazz today? In New York City, things are very bad in certain ways and amazing in others.

As far as getting gigs, we're a bunch of dogs fighting for scraps. There's intense competition, there are very limited venues, an immense talent pool, and no money.

On the other hand, it's all happening here, you're constantly getting inspired by people you play with and people you check out at shows. That's what's keeping most of us here. On a more macrocosmic level, I think jazz has become a universal art form that translates into any cultural genre.

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