In the late 1970s he had medical problems, and he was eventually diagnosed as suffering from a brain aneurysm. An operation saved his life but left him with amnesia: he had no recollection of having been a musician, much less a virtuoso guitarist. It took some time, but with hardly anything more than sheer willpower, he taught himself to play again and regained his place among the top list of modern jazz guitarists. A second medical crisis and family problems sidelined him once again, but in 1994 he returned to music a second time and since then has been making up for lost time, releasing close to ten recordings, doing clinics, teaching and lecturing, and touring the world.
His style has evolved, but certain critical elements have been constant in his playing: powerful and yet clean articulation, a sure-footed sense of melodic and harmonic direction, a singing tone, and strong rhythmic drive. One of his early influences was Wes Montgomery, and he is currently on tour promoting a tribute recording that honors that man's work. He's at the Kerrytown Concert House with his quartet on Friday, June 2.
[Review published June 2006]