What guitar(s) do you play?
My main guitar is a 1955 Gretsch Constellation. I guess that’s the one I like best because I play it the most. At the end of the day, though, it’s the archer more than the arrow.
What strings do you use?
D’Addario Flat Top Bronze strings. I use a .13 gauge set, but with a .14 on the high E and an .18 on the B string.
Why did you choose acoustic rather than electric guitar?
I liked the sound better. I can getter a broader range of timbres and colors out of an acoustic.
When did you first decide to become a jazz musician?
When I was about 19.
Which artists/musicians have influenced you the most?
Duke Ellington because he always sought out the music of the world to broaden his perspective, all while never letting that influence become a diluting force. William Faulkner because he showed people how deeply country people are not necessarily simple. He taught me how to strive for higher levels of intellectualism while never losing sight of who I am and where I came from.
Which jazz performers have influenced you the most?
Thelonious Monk, Ornette Coleman, Louis Armstrong, Wynton Marsalis, David Tronzo, Jelly Roll Morton, Sonny Rollins, Charlie Parker, Branford Marsalis, Sidney Bechet, Ben Webster, Charlie Christian, Barney Bigard, Jimmy Garrison and John Coltrane.
Which jazz guitarists (specifically) have influenced you the most?
Charlie Christian, Django Reinhardt, Jim Hall, Kenny Burrell, Lonnie Johnson, Al Casey, Russell Malone and Bernard Addison.
What was the first jazz composition you heard and loved? And why?
I honestly can’t remember. But I was deeply affected by Ellington, Basie and Benny Goodman records with Charlie Christian.
What was your first professional gig as a musician?
I played in a trio with a great singer in Memphis named Joyce Cobb.
Did you initially go to school, college, etc. to be a musician?
No. Initially, I was going to be a Lit major, then a recording engineer.
If you weren’t a musician, what would you be?
What are some of your interests outside of music?
I love to cook for people. I enjoy great literature. I am a hopeless political junkie that reads every poll ever taken. I am really obsessed with great coffee.