Jazz Guitar Clinic and Concert Scheduled at Bellarmine

Howard Roberts, Jimmy Raney, Cal Collins, Jeff Sherman Set to Teach

By Paul Moffett

The Fourth Annual Jazz Guitar Clinic and Concert is scheduled for June 25 and 26 at Bellarmine College, Newburg Road, Louisville, Ky. Performances by guitarists Howard Roberts, Jimmy Raney, Cal Collins and Jeff Sherman will highlight both events. A Howard Roberts model Gibson guitar will be given away at the concert, courtesy of Willis Music.

The two-day event will feature workshops in fingerboard theory, bebop playing, ensemble playing, comping, ear training and more, according to Jeff Sherman, director of the clinic. Sherman, who teaches jazz guitar at Bellarmine, as well as playing in groups around town, first organized the clinic in 1985. That clinic, which drew an enrollment "of a dozen students, featured Jimmy Stewart, a writer for Guitar Player Magazine and Raney, the Louisville jazz legend who first played bebop on the guitar. Stewart was the writer of several popular songbooks and was the house guitarist at the hungry i in San Francisco.

The second year, Sherman asked noted session player Howard Roberts to join Raney. Roberts was very enthusiastic about the project, which drew forty students and an overflow crowd standing in the hall. Roberts founded the Guitar Institute of Technology, which has recently become the Musicians' Institute of Technology, combining the Guitar, Bass and Percussion Institutes into one.

The 1989 clinic found Hungarian guitarist Attilla Zoller teaching along with his friend Raney. Zoller also designs guitars and strings and is the designer of a pickup manufactured by Shadow Electronics of West Germany. The pickup closely approximates the sound of an acoustic instrument, with a strong mid-range signal.

For the 1990 clinic, Sherman found some funding from Dr. Robert Todd, as well as the Louisville Jazz Society and Willis Music. The additional funding enabled him to bring in Roberts, Raney and Cal Collins.

Roberts started playing as a country guitarist then moved on into other forms, studying classical guitar before settling into jazz. He has played over fifty thousand studio dates, has recorded for Capitol and Concord Records, writes songbooks and is currently promoting a teaching method for beginners which features differently colored strings. The method, called Chroma, also can be used with a Chroma guitar and workbooks.

Roberts has recently completed a three-volume series on the guitar, entitled Compendium for the Guitar. Co-written with Gary Hagburg and published by Advance Music, the set is an exhaustive look at the guitar.

Roberts teaches with an emphasis on the ear, even though he is an outstanding sight reader. Sherman chuckled as he recalled that Roberts suggested to students that they go into the bathroom at home, turn off the lights and play a scale. In the dark, there are no visual distractions and the sound-reflecting characteristic of bathroom tile ensures good hearing.

Jimmy Raney is well known to aficionados of jazz in the Louisville area. He was ranked as one of the world's greatest jazz guitarists in the Playboy magazine polls during the Fifties. He lives in Louisville and plays only occasionally because of medical problems with his ears.

Cal Collins, who currently lives in the small Indiana town of Dillsburg, plays and teaches in the Cincinnati area. A recording artist for Concord Records, he has recorded over thirty albums, both as a solo and with such jazz artists as Kentucky's Rosemary Clooney and Herb Ellis. He is a noted bebop player.

Enrollment in the clinic is limited to forty students. This year the Louisville Jazz Society has underwritten four partial scholarships. Tuition is $70 for the two-day session, includes a ticket to the concert.

The concert will be held at Wyatt Hall on the Bellarmine campus, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $7. A Gibson Howard Roberts Guitar will be given away to someone who attends the concert. For tickets and: for information about the clinic, call Jeff Sherman at (502) 452-8224.