For all you rock guitar players out there who have always wanted to get into Jazz, but just frankly didn't get it, there are certain bands who can help you make the transition.
For me, there have been several bands in the Jazz Fusion category that helped me go from distant admirer, to a real jazz fan. "Fusion" as it is most commonly referred, is essentially the fusing of rock rhythms, with the complexities of jazz. It was guitar based bands such as Jeff Beck, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Dixie Dregs (and later Steve Morse's solo albums), Tribal Tech, John Scofield, Mike Stern, & Return to Forever among others that had a significant impact on me. But one particular band I would like to feature here is Uzeb.
UZEB was a Canadian jazz fusion band from Montreal, Quebec, who were active from 1976 to 1992. The members were Alain Caron (bass guitar), Michel Cusson (guitar), and Paul Brochu (drums). UZEB had a blend of skilled playing and modern synthesized timbres, along with an emphasis on original compositions. The band won a number of Canadian awards during the 1980s. By 1989, international sales of UZEB's first eight recordings had exceeded 200,000 units, which the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada calls "an unprecedented figure for a Canadian jazz group."
I have always felt that Michel Cusson is one of the most under appreciated players of all time. Not only does he have immense chops, but his chording knowledge and use of synth technology, make him nothing short of astounding. Dig into this clip then tell me I am wrong!
For those of you who are not familiar, I strongly recommend the albums 'Noisy Nights' and 'Club' as excellent points of entry. While you listen to Uzeb, remember that it is only 3 guys doing EVERYTHING! All synths on those albums are triggered by one of the 3 members and all reproduced dead-on live. Yeah, yeah, I know, some of the sounds (and fashion!) scream of the 80's but listen to the groove! These guys are immense!!
Whatever your tastes, the point of this article is that if jazz hasn't struck you yet, perhaps it is not because you don't like it.... Perhaps it is just that you haven't found the road IN yet!
Check out some of the other bands I mentioned and those related. The jazz and fusion genres are just so huge and there is just so much talent that you can learn from. It is well worth the effort, if effort is what is required - as it was for me!
Thanks boys! Now get me my hollow body guitar damn it! There are min7b5 chords to be had!