Part 2 of comping video lesson now on sale!


Just a quick note to announce that the second part of my instructional course “A Guide To Practical Comping” is now on sale at Mike’s Masterclasses. There’s a trailer and a detailed description there; in a nutshell, this class moves onto some more contemporary ideas such as modal voicings and symmetrical scales. The idea is basically to connect up our chord shapes to scales, so we can create melodically uninhibited comping passages over any harmonic progression. As always, if you aren’t quite sure whether it’s for you, drop me a line for further clarification.



A fantastic night in memory of Colin Watson


jamie taylor - 2 upl

On July 4th, “Outside Line” were very privileged to be part of a wonderful event to celebrate the life of jazz guitarist and Seven Jazz regular Colin Watson. We played a suite of original pieces that had been commissioned for the evening, by Jean Watson and Steve Crocker, and there were also great sets from the North Leeds Jazz Orchestra and the Matinee Band; ensembles which Colin had been a member of.


We hope to record this music in the studio at some stage; in the meantime, follow the link to some photos and videos of our set, along with a lovely account of the evening written by Colin’s close friend and fellow guitarist Joe Warburton.

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New quartet sessions scheduled for late Feb 2013; new comping tutor video available now.



Just a very quick post, to announce that the new quartet will be heading to Ilkley, Yorkshire for recording sessions at the end of February. We have a lot of new music to record and I’m anticipating it with relish rehearsals start soon. As we work, we will be overlooking the famous Ilkley Moor, bar t’at. If that doesn’t fill us with inspiration, nothing will. Watch this space for updates…


Meanwhile, and for all four of us these days, it’s back to the wonderful temple of rhythm that is Leeds College of Music, for Semester Two. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again very much. By the way, first and second years – I must say I’ve heard some great work from you all over the New Year period, both in terms of playing and composition.


There was good work across the board but especially honourable mention in dispatches to undergraduate guitarists George Fillipopoulos, Jed Cutler, Joel Stedman, and Joe Simmonds, who transcribed and performed, respectively: Coltrane’s tenor solo on “Giant Steps“, Pat Martino’s “Blue In Green“, Jarrett’s most recent “Stella By Starlight“, and Dexter Gordon’s “Cheese Cake“. Tremendous effort guys – mightily impressive stuff!


In other news, I have a new tuition video out now on “Mike’s Masterclasses“, which you can preview here.


The class is called “A Guide To Practical Comping – Part One” and its main focus is on getting started quickly with the basics of jazz comping. That said, the material covered includes things like Joe Pass-style bass-line accompaniment, and creating chord/melody phrases, all with the help of a 13-page PDF that tabs and notates everything I played. The jazz newcomer won’t be left behind, but there should be quite a lot for the more experienced player to get stuck into as well. As the title reflects, the emphasis is entirely on ideas you can take straight out on a gig. Sometimes it’s great to get into the more arcane harmonic possibilities, but that’s not the focus this time. Anyway, hope some of you can check it out!


Cheers for now!




The worst vice is advice…unless it’s brilliant!




Hi everyone! To try and get something a bit more interactive started, I thought I’d post a few examples of sound musical counsel that I’ve had from teachers and mentors over the years, in the hope that others might have a few similar gems to share. There are times when someone just hits the nail right on the head and clarifies things for you in the most amazing way, and I’ve certainly been fortunate to be on the receiving end of things like this:



Strong and wrong!” – Anyone who’s had the great privilege of studying with Pete Churchill in the UK will have heard this saying. I hope I understood Pete right; what I took from it was that it’s much better to make a mistake with conviction, than to play something that’s technically correct, but sounds apologetic. He was probably referring to teaching situations more than anything; of course, there are times in professional music making where it just has to be “strong and right”! I love the idea of being liberated from mistakes, though – fear doesn’t produce good improvisation!


If you can’t work out some chords for “She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain”, then you’re missing the point.” – This was from one of my first guitar teachers, a wonderful player named Chris Walker. Amongst many other things, Chris showed me that theory and technique amount to nothing, if they don’t result in something musical. He taught me all the scales etc. but, at the same time, warned me not to put advanced concepts ahead of basic general musicianship.


Learn all your scales in one place, and sort out triads all over the neck.” – a gem from Pete Sklaroff, who is rightly regarded as a living legend in my part of the world. Pete very quickly spotted that I was trying to play B# Demented with a flattened 14th, before I really knew where C Major was. Without crushing my enthusiasm, he gently pointed me in the right direction…


A groove must be relentless, and it must be irresistable” – I heard a colleague of mine named Peter Fairclough say this to a drummer once; just as applicable to any other instrument of course.


Time is the sh*t!” – this came from the legend that is Mike Stern, at one of two immensely inspiring workshops that I was fortunate to attend. The pithy epithet went down into LCoM legend, but this really opened my eyes and ears to some vital stuff. If you practice chord voicings, you get better at playing chords. If you practice time, you get better at everything…


Work on your sound, the way a sax player would. It’s in your fingers!” – I once had the privilege of playing alongside the great British guitarist Jim Mullen, who came out with this marvellous piece of advice backstage. He’d just put the wisdom into practice by borrowing someone else’s amp at the last minute and then making it sound as if this was the perfect rig he’d been seeking out for years. To this day, I suspect that they could have handed him a ukelele and that same giant, singing tone would have resulted. Incredible. My erstwhile teacher and colleague Jez Franks is another one who can do this. “Why doesn’t my guitar sound that way when I play it?” was a sentiment that crossed my mind more than once during his lessons.


There’s no such thing as the blues scale.” – Sorry? Say that again… My friend and colleague Joel Purnell dropped this into a conversation once, and it was a bit like being told that Santa Claus wasn’t real. But he was absolutely right, in the sense that the language of blues extends so far beyond five or six pitches. Nothing wrong with taking a concept like that to help us get started, but it’s dangerous to take these things too literally and cling on to them.


That’s great – show me what you’re doing there…” – The amazing thing about this one is who said it, and to whom. The question was directed to an understandably nervous teenager (not me, I hasten to add) by none other than Jim Hall, who’d just finished a duet with the youngster at a jazz workshop I attended in about 1996. The master seemed endearingly uncomfortable with the whole idea of being Mr. Guitar Star, there to astonish everyone within earshot; indeed, he began by de-tuning completely, in the hope of getting something creative happening, amidst a forest of dictaphones and flash bulbs. The lesson was the best one he could possibly have given in the circumstances – that one of the all-time greats (who would have been well into his 60s then) was still inquisitive, humble, and totally open-minded in his approach to music. There was a concert later on, during which he generated astonishment by the bucketload, needless to add.



So there are a few that stopped me in my tracks – how about the rest of you? I’d love to hear some more along these lines; even if they contradict the ones I’ve posted. After all, “he who hesitates is lost” and yet “fools rush in where angels fear to tread”!


Finally, I’ve obviously got a few trusty old canards of my own after twelve years of music teaching so, whilst I don’t put myself in the same category as the sages listed above, I’ll leave you with one of mine that’s been used a fair few times in combat:


Guilt is not a motivator.” – If you’re practicing because you feel you ought to, something is seriously wrong. Wes Montgomery did two day jobs, and picked up his guitar at the end of all that because he couldn’t keep away from it. Conscience might have got him into the factory a few times, but I very much doubt he needed it to help him open his guitar case…


Cheers for now,  JT

Good at HEART!

JT Quartet at HEART, Headingley, Leeds 20th October 2012 (L-R: JT, Garry Jackson, Dave Walsh, Matt Anderson)

JT Quartet at HEART, Headingley, Leeds 20th October 2012
(L-R: JT, Garry Jackson, Dave Walsh, Matt Anderson) Photo by Chris Midgley


Since today is the thirty-<some text missing> th anniversary of my premature entrance into the world, I am full of renewed vigour, and it’s about time I did something to demonstrate that Jamie Taylor Online is alive and well, after what can only be described as an ‘inauspicious’ start.


Within days of the site going online, the total failure of my (less than two years old) hard drive left me without a computer for over a month, and this was then followed by a period of further disruption, due to building work chez JT. In fact, as I type, someone is pouring “self-leveller” into my basement and, today being my birthday, it’s ironic that I fully intend to pour some “self-leveller” of a different kind this evening, on licensed premises of course.


In other news, my new quartet had a very nice  – and, happily, very well attended – gig last month at the wonderful HEART centre in Headingley, Leeds. We are so lucky to have places like this; if you’re in the Leeds area and you don’t know about it yet, be sure to find out – they have so much going on, including jazz workshops for all ability levels. The highlight of this trip was the “Wishing Tree” – set up in the foyer to allow Headingley residents to write their wishes for the community on coloured cards, before decorating the branches of the tree with them. After spending a few minutes chatting with the tree’s very friendly creator, I took a completed wish card from the nearest branch, and found this inscription:


I wish people wouldn’t vomit in the street.


Only the most fanatical defender of civil liberties would take issue with that sentiment and therefore let me add, on a personal note, that I would wish the same – not only for Headingley, but for any community afflicted by outbreaks of public expectoration.


Thanks so much to those of you that supported us at the gig, and I’d also like to express my gratitude to the folks that purchased my latest video on Mike’s Masterclasses; I’m very thankful indeed. Please feel free to get in touch – I still have a slight feeling that I’m talking to myself on here at the moment, but I know you’re out there, and hopefully some of you will find a moment to drop by.


That’s it for now – on with the birthday celebrations!

Enjoy your guitar playing, unless you aren’t a guitarist, in which case enjoy something else.




Let’s all live the dream!




A great musician and teacher I know used to tell a true story about once having asked a final year music student what his aspirations for the future were. Apparently, there was a considerable pause, followed by the now immortal reply:


…I’m going to buy a dog.


A few years later, tutor and ex-student meet again in the street and, sure enough, the latter is indeed accompanied by man’s best friend. The moral is…(probably)…


Don’t be afraid to live the dream.


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Hello everyone and welcome to the new site! The plan is to make things a little more interactive this time, so by all means leave a comment if you’re dropping by…


My aim is to eventually create a space, through which I can share music (mine and that of friends) and all sorts of information and discussion, with subscribers, instead of bombarding people with material that they didn’t ask for on a social networking site. Being profoundly Facebook phobic and having no idea how I even came to join LinkedIn, my hope is that folks with an interest in what I do will be able to keep in touch (even if it’s the cyber equivalent of two bearded men in fishing hats). Ideally, it will become a forum through which I can present an honest and up-to-date sample of my work as a performer, composer, and teacher.


I hope to offer to my subscribers, amongst other things: a series of studio and live recordings of solo, duo and trio work, musical scores, educational materials, discussion of equipment, great gigs or recordings anyone’s heard, a general forum for those gems of musical wisdom we occasionally pick up from our idols and peers, and a few good stories along the way!


Also, as and when the various ensembles I play in produce recordings, I hope to be able to offer my subscribers something more than what they would get simply by downloading an MP3 album from i-Tunes, say, by providing extra content, such as documentary video, musical scores, and programme notes etc. Finally, whilst it would be silly to deny the existence of a promotional element to Jamie Taylor Online, I really hope it’s not going to be all about what I’m up to – if we can build a bit of a community, then I’ll be only too happy to feature other people’s material.

Watch this space – we’ll see what happens…