Greetings and welcome to year seven of the most unusual, forward-thinking, open-minded guitar camp on the planet.
We have another round of extraordinary teachers this summer joining us in the glorious 100-acre wilderness retreat that Music Masters has cultivated over the past two decades.
Back again are two of our core teachers, Kurt Rosenwinkel and Gilad Hekselman, both of whom will be with us throughout the event. These are two of the finest and most inventive improvising guitarists in the world. Their artistry has affected the whole field.
We are thrilled to have one of the most important guitarists of our generation back again, John Scofield. This year John will not only give a master class, but he will jam with several of our artists on Wednesday night’s performance.
Also returning are Rodney Jones, Camila Meza, and Mike and Leni Stern. Rodney has played with artists as diverse as James Brown and Dizzy Gillespie. He’s one of the most sought-after guitar instructors in the country and was the main jazz guitar teacher at Juilliard and Manhattan School for many years. Camila turned a few heads last year. She’s a jazz guitarist, singer and songwriter originally from Chile, now recording for Sony Masterworks. Her writing blends South American rhythms and jazz harmony and her gorgeous singing voice conjures Milton Nascimento and Joni Mitchell. Mike and Leni Stern, perennial favorites, are both back for the 4th time. Mike, of course, is one of the signature electric guitarists of our era, starting in the 1980s with his tenure with Miles Davis. Leni specializes in bridging jazz with W. African sounds and voice. Both are beloved for their insightful, warm teaching style.
And… we’re beyond excited to introduce some wonderful new teachers next August.
The one and only Nels Cline will be with us. Nels has been on the leading edge of guitar exploration since the 1980’s. He’s released dozens of extraordinary records of all shapes and sizes as a leader and collaborator. Nels, a fearless improviser, is best known as a sideman in the rock band Wilco. Nels is funny, smart, eminently approachable, and wise.
Once again Harvey Sorgen and Jerome Harris will be our “house” rhythm section. Like last year we’ll have four different spaces for after-hours jamming. And I’ll be there, too, of course, teaching and producing, and answering any questions you may have. We’ll be starting a monthly Zoom meeting in January for any attendees who wish to not only meet each other but begin to talk about the camp and its profuse learning opportunities. See you soon.
Founder and artistic director of Alternative Guitar Summit
A true guitar polymath, Nels Cline’s recording and performing career spans jazz, rock, punk and experimental musics with over 200 recordings, including 30 as a leader, to his credit. His many accolades include being anointed by Rolling Stone as both one of 20 New Guitar Gods and one of the top 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.
Born in Los Angeles on January 4, 1956, Cline and his twin brother, drummer Alex, formed a teenage rock band called Homogenized Goo, inspired by the groundbreaking psychedelic guitar work of Jimi Hendrix’s “Manic Depression,” Jeff Beck’s solo on The Yardbirds’ “Happenings Ten Years Time Ago,” George Harrison’s playing at the end of the Beatles “Strawberry Fields Forever” and Pete Townshend’s feedback squalls on “I Can See for Miles.” Later rock guitar influences for Nels included Steve Howe from Yes, Jan Akkerman from Focus and Roger McGuinn from The Byrds. “I just loved psychedelia — reverse guitar stuff, Indian-type drones, distortion and feedback. It all created a sense of the mystery and magic of sound that maybe set the stage for me to not to just play straight rock my whole life.”
Guitarist, composer, arranger, lyricist, writer, educator, and vocalist Joel Harrison has “created a new blueprint for jazz” (New Orleans Times-Picayune). A Guggenheim Fellow (2010) whose compositions have been commissioned by Chamber Music America, Meet the Composer, New Music USA, the Jerome Foundation, NYSCA, and the Mary Flagler Cary Trust, Harrison is a two-time winner of the Jazz Composers Alliance Composition Competition and has appeared repeatedly on DownBeat Magazine’s “Rising Star” poll.
His twenty-two releases as a leader showcase his prowess as a shapeshifting composer, with works for orchestra, string quartet, solo cello, and percussion as well as the PASIC award-winning marimba solo Fear of Silence. Notable releases include Free Country, featuring Norah Jones and David Binney; the recent America at War for jazz orchestra; String Choir: The Music of Paul Motian; and Search, featuring Donny McCaslin. His ever-surprising body of work seamlessly connects multiple American traditions. Harrison’s music may be founded on jazz but veers into classical, rock, country, and all manner of American roots music. Succinctly described by the New York Times as “protean… brilliant,” he is also an active film composer, having worked on the Oscar-nominated Traffic Stop and the Sundance awardee Southern Comfort.
A former student of Jimmy Wyble and Mick Goodrick, Harrison is the founder and director of the Alternative Guitar Summit, a yearly festival devoted to new and unusual guitar music. The festival has featured such artists as Fred Frith, Nels Cline, Bill Frisell, Julian Lage, and Pat Metheny, who has called the Summit “one of the most interesting and distinguished forums for guitar on the planet.”
Gilad Hekselman is one of the leading voices in jazz guitar. Only a few years after his arrival to NY in 2004, this native Israeli was already sharing stages with some of the greatest artists in the New York City jazz scene including Chris Potter, Eric Harland, Fred Hersch, Mark Turner, Anat Cohen, Ari Hoenig, Esperanza Spalding, Jeff Ballard, Ben Wendel, Gretchen Parlato, Ben Williams, Avishai Cohen, Tigran Hamasyan, Aaron Parks and Becca Stevens among many others.
In May 2019, Hekselman featured his quartet at the legendary NYC venue The Village Vanguard. He has also been playing all other major jazz clubs in New York City, including the Blue Note, The Jazz Standard, Dizzy's Club and Smalls. He is constantly touring world-wide and has played most noteworthy jazz festivals and venues including Montreux, North Sea, Montreal & SFJazz to name a few.
Hekselman has released 9 critically-acclaimed records as a band-leader, many of which have made it into 'best of the year' lists on NY Times, Downbeat Magazine, Amazon, All About Jazz and many other publications. His 10th record, Far Star, was released on Edition Records in May 2022. It's an all-original album in which Hekselman plays many instruments, and it features special guests such as Eric Harland, Shai Maestro, Ziv Ravitz and more. The record release will be celebrated with a week-long engagement at the Village Vanguard in NYC at the end of March 2022.
In 1976, Jones began touring with Dizzy Gillespie. He joined the Maceo Parker Band in 1989. Jones’ albums include The Liberation of Contemporary Jazz Guitar, Articulation, (Verve) When You Feel the Love, The “X” Field, Right Now!, (Blue Note) The Undiscovered Few, Soul Manifesto, Soul Manifesto Live, Dreams and Stories, and A Thousand Small Things. He has collaborated with Ruth Brown, Lena Horne, Jimmy McGriff, Jaki Byard, Chico Hamilton, Lucky Peterson, Kenny Burrell, Lonnie Smith, Ray Brown, Billy Strayhorn, and others. In 2001, Jones began teaching at the Manhattan School of Music. In 2007, he joined the faculty of The Juilliard School as a professor of jazz guitar studies where he served for 12 years. Jones’ book Hip Guitar Lines: The Lines, Fingerings, and Ideas That Will Transform Your Playing was published in 2020. Jones owns New Tide Music.
A fluidly inventive Chilean jazz guitarist and singer/songwriter, Camila Meza makes ambitious, lyrical music that combines progressive fusion, post-bop, and Latin American folk traditions. It's a sophisticated sound born out of her love for artists like Pat Metheny, Milton Nascimento, and Joni Mitchell. Meza first garnered attention with her 2007 debut, Skylark, before moving to New York. Since then, she has collaborated on projects with other boundary-pushing artists like Ryan Keberle, Aaron Goldberg, and Fabian Almazan. Applying her distinctive approach to jazz and pop standards, as well as her own emotive original pieces, Meza has garnered widespread acclaim for her genre-crossing albums, including 2009's Retrato, 2016's Traces, and 2019's ebulliently orchestral Ambar.
Born in 1985 in Santiago, Meza grew up in a creative, intellectually minded family the daughter of two journalists. Her father, who also played piano, encouraged her to play music. She also drew early inspiration from her brother, a drummer, who introduced her to prog-rock. By her teens, Meza was taking guitar lessons and listening to music by Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin, as well as singer/songwriters like Joni Mitchell. At 15, she formed a rock band with friends from school. She eventually discovered jazz, especially the genre-bending work of Pat Metheny, who quickly became a major influence. Soon, Meza was studying the styles of other influential guitarists like George Benson, John McLaughlin, and John Scofield. She also developed a deep passion for Latin American music traditions, including artists like Victor Jara, Milton Nascimento, and Mercedes Sosa. Along with playing live shows, she studied with noted Chilean artists Jorge Vidal and Jorge Díaz. In 2007, she released her debut solo album, Skylark.
American composer, multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, and producer Kurt Rosenwinkel is one of the most celebrated musical voices in jazz and is widely renowned as one of the most distinctive and gifted guitarists to have ever played the instrument.
Rosenwinkel’s harmonically rich, rhythmically free, and incomparably fluid style has made him one of the most important jazz musicians to emerge in the last thirty years, and his groundbreaking sonic conception of the guitar has changed the way the instrument has been perceived and played ever since. His recordings as a bandleader in early aughts on Verve Records were strikingly original releases that reshaped contemporary jazz in the 21st century. The Enemies of Energy (2000), The Next Step (2001), Heartcore (2003) and Deep Song (2005), would redefine the sound of jazz for a new era, deftly fusing jazz’s deep acoustic traditions with electronics, digital manipulation, programmed beats, and utterly modern harmonic and compositional structures that even today we can still only reference as ‘Rosenwinkelian’.
John Scofield’s guitar work has influenced jazz since the late 70’s and is going strong today. Possessor of a very distinctive sound and stylistic diversity, Scofield is a masterful jazz improviser whose music generally falls somewhere between post-bop, funk edged jazz, and R & B.
Born in Ohio and raised in suburban Connecticut, Scofield took up the guitar at age 11, inspired by both rock and blues players. He attended Berklee College of Music in Boston. After a debut recording with Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker, Scofield was a member of the Billy Cobham-George Duke band for two years. In 1977 he recorded with Charles Mingus, and joined the Gary Burton quartet. He began his international career as a bandleader and recording artist in 1978. From 1982–1985, Scofield toured and recorded with Miles Davis. His Davis stint placed him firmly in the foreground of jazz consciousness as a player and composer.
One of the great jazz guitarists of his generation, Mike Stern has the unique ability to play with the finesse and lyricism of Jim Hall, the driving swing of Wes Montgomery and the turbulent, overdriven attack of Jimi Hendrix. Growing up in the Washington, D.C. area, Stern revered all three of those guitar immortals, along with such potent blues guitarists as Albert and B.B. King. Aspects of those seminal influences can be heard in his playing on the 18 recordings he has released as a leader or in his acclaimed sideman work for Miles Davis, Billy Cobham, the Brecker Brothers, Jaco Pastorius, Steps Ahead, David Sanborn, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Joe Henderson and the all-star Four Generations of Miles band.
Stern’s latest Concord Jazz release, Eleven, is an encounter with Grammy-winning keyboardist-composer-producer Jeff Lorber. Co-produced by bassist Jimmy Haslip, who had previously worked with the guitarist on the Yellowjacket’s 2008 album, Lifecycle, this lively collaboration finds Stern at the peak of his powers, following on the heels of 2017’s acclaimed Trip, his triumphant return to recording after a freak accident that threatened to end his career. The multiple Grammy-nominated guitarist was hailing a cab outside his apartment in Manhattan July 3, 2016 when he tripped over some hidden construction debris left in the street, fracturing both of his humerus bones (the long bones that run from the shoulder to the elbow) in the fall. Left with significant nerve damage in his right hand which prevented him from doing the simplest tasks, including holding a pick, Stern faced a series of surgeries and subsequent physical therapy before he could regain control of his nerve-damaged picking hand. And while Trip represented a strong comeback, the intrepid guitarist takes things up a notch on Eleven.
Leni Stern was named one of the “50 Most Sensational Female Guitarists of All Time” in Guitar Player magazine’s 50th anniversary issue in 2017, with the publication aptly dubbing her “a genre-defying adventurer.” Leni’s example shines beyond just prowess on her instrument. The pursuit of her career across more than four decades has been in effect a political act – a practice in strength and defiance to be a woman and a bandleader, a female electric guitarist and a composer, an artist who produces her own albums and manages her own career. Moreover, given our recent political climate, it is now more essential than ever to celebrate the immigrant experience that brought Leni to the U.S. from Germany and her bandmates from Senegal and Argentina. Leni’s inspiration has long been the interconnectedness of music, history and our humanity. She says: “Music is one of the truest, most beautiful expressions of the human spirit, crossing borders, dissolving tribalism, binding us together – if we let it.”
Jerome Harris has had a notable decades-long presence in the music world as an incisive stylist and a valued versatile collaborator on both guitar and bass guitar.
Harris’s first major professional performing experience came as bass guitarist with iconic jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins in 1978; from 1988 to 1994 he was featured on guitar with Rollins. He has performed on six continents, working with Jack DeJohnette, David Krakauer, Bill Frisell, Paul Motian, Leni Stern, Martha Redbone, Ray Anderson, Julius Hemphill, Amina Claudine Myers, Ned Rothenberg, Oliver Lake, Joel Harrison, and many others in jazz and jazz-adjacent contexts.
In sound, motion and beauty….so to lays the groundwork for truth. All that I am becomes a part of my own way of communication. In striving for a lifestyle unfettered by my own limitations, I am eternally grateful to have created honest music with some of the greatest artists of our time. It’s almost like I have to pinch myself sometimes to not forget how fortunate I am to have the love of my family, and the spirit to be open to what may appear to be right in front of me!!
Our one-of-a-kind camp in August offers a rare opportunity to learn from true masters of the guitar. Students will have up-close, personal contact with these folks. Every year we provide support for many of our summer camp attendees who can't afford tuition. To make a tax-deductible donation to our scholarship fund, click the button below.