A Ted Greene Tribute Project, a student's journey and why I did this:
I had the great good fortune to know and study with Ted Greene for almost twenty years. Ted was the ultimate music and guitar teacher. He was known around the world as a true master of the Guitar, and for his innovative Harmonic style of solo guitar. To hear Ted play was a unique and rare opportunity to hear something extraordinarily beautiful. Every guitar player, young or old, famous or just starting out, wanted to study with him, and he always had a kind word and an enthusiastic response for every person he met. He was one of the kindest and most generous people I have ever had the privilege to know. He was also absolutely one of the best musicians I have ever known. A true Zen master of music. His untimely passing left a hole in my musical universe.
Over the years I had collected dozens of sheets of his lessons and solo guitar arrangements. In fact they are probably one of my most prized possessions. I always travel with them, in the same beat up folder I used during my twenty years of lessons. These arrangements are astoundingly beautiful and formidable solo guitar harmonizations and orchestrations of well known Jazz standards. They are also extremely challenging physically, musically and intellectually. For years I have half-heartedly tried to learn them, always with a deep sense of humility and slight intimidation, (ok I admit it, huge intimidation, lol), at the task.
Last year , while participating in a Zen class, I committed to complete a project, where I would choose to do something that I have always told myself I could not do.
Well, long story short, performing and recording Ted's arrangements became that project. I committed to learn as many as possible and then record my favorite 9 arrangements. I did this because I have always told myself they are too difficult, too beautiful, and simply out of my league as a guitar player. My motivation was to prove those internal statements false, and to keep Ted's music/arrangements alive and current.
So I embarked on this musical journey. (I just had no idea it would take as long as it did! lol...but that is sort of how all true adventures and journeys are, I think.)
My hands would hurt, my back ached, my ears opened, and I can honestly say that I have never been happier, doing something simply for the pure joy of making something, as best I can.
I am NOT, by any means, a solo guitarist, and most of the time I can be found playing loud Blues and Rock guitar with a band, so playing really complex arrangements, naked solo guitar, was a big challenge to begin with.
I did not try to emulate Ted or his gorgeous sound, (I don't think that is even possible), but rather I tried to digest and perform these arrangements with my own "voice" on Guitar. I project that is what he would have wanted. To freshly re-imagine each piece. I spent a lot of time trying to record good natural sounding interpretations, sometimes recording hundreds of takes, just to get one decent one, and even then there were times where I would simply choose to start from scratch. One year went by that way.
Ted always encouraged me to find my own way on the instrument. That was his gift to all of his students. He could see something good in each and every person he met, and help them to develop that. With the exception of light percussion on a few tracks, everything you will hear is solo guitar. In fact the only guitar overdub is a second guitar at the end of "The look of love", a quick solo over a samba groove, just for fun.
I will not be selling these recordings per se, and I am posting them here for folks to hear and enjoy. What I am asking, is that people, if so moved, donate what they feel the experience was worth, in order to honor Ted. I want to give back to Ted and others what he so generously offered me over the years. All donations will be distributed as follows: 1/3 of Donations will go to Barbara Franklin, Ted's love, and his website: http://tedgreene.com/, and 1/3 will go to the African Vulnerable children's project: http://www.livingcompassion.org/africa/index.html, helping those who most need our help, and keeping in line with Ted's tremendous spirit of generosity and concern for those less fortunate, and 1/3 will be used to maintain and develop this tribute site. The suggested donation is $10.00, but give what you feel you can.
Ted's great gift was not just music and these amazing arrangements, but his ability to teach and inspire with compassion, enthusiasm and clarity for all of his students. These qualities are what I remember and cherish most. It is rare to even just meet someone like that, let alone be afforded the opportunity to study with someone that generous of spirit.
I am proud to have been Ted's student. I will let the music speak for itself, in gratitude to my teacher and my friend.
Thank you Ted.
John March 2010
A small suggestion: (try and listen on good speakers, rather then just a 1" laptop speaker, thanks, and enjoy!)
All recordings and performance rights are the property of John March and Shunyata music publishing™, all rights reserved. "A student's tribute to Ted Greene", Copyright© March 24th 2010. Duplication, distribution, broadcast and re-use of any kind, is by permission only.
Purchase here: https://zenguitarguy.bandcamp.com/album/chord-alchemy-a-students-tribute-to-ted-greene