Solo Jazz Guitar: From Joe Pass to Julian Lage

Thurs. 8:15–9:45 pm 4/4 – 5/30 (9 weeks)

Solo Jazz Guitar: From Joe Pass to Julian Lage
Age Adult
Event Type Class
Department Guitar
Day Thu
Instructor Derek Barber
Status inperson event

This class centers around the many different approaches to the unaccompanied jazz guitar. Beginning by listening to early examples of solo jazz guitar (the solo improvisational recordings of Django Reinhardt, Eddie Lang, and Lonnie Johnson), we’ll also be focusing on the innovations of Joe Pass, Martin Taylor, and eventually the modern stylings of players like Julian Lage.

Topics discussed include a mixture of approaches: playing rubato, in-time, up-tempo, chord melody, and melody with comping fills, among other styles. We’ll discuss and work on developing a solo repertoire of ballads, medium tempo tunes, up-tempo, and bebop tunes. Listening to Joe Pass’ seminal 1973 solo guitar album Virtuoso will be a key element to the class.

Participants should be comfortable playing melodies, basic chord melody playing, and soloing over standard jazz repertoire.

Come ready to learn, experiment, and explore the exciting world of solo jazz guitar!


About Derek Barber

Derek Barber is a guitarist, songwriter, and music educator based in the Bay Area. He shares his expertise in Music Theory, jazz combos, and jazz guitar as a teacher at the Blue Bear Music School in San Francisco. Derek actively contributes to and performs with acclaimed Bay Area bands such as Bells Atlas, Salami Rose Joe Louis, Astronauts, etc., and his solo project, Perhapsy. He is also a sought-after session guitarist, lending his talents to numerous recordings at prestigious studios, including Tiny Telephone Studios, Fantasy, and Decibelle. With a BFA in Jazz Improvisation from the University of Michigan, Derek studied under renowned jazz musicians Geri Allen and Robert Hurst on a full-ride scholarship. His studies in improvisation, transcription, and music theory have greatly influenced his musical pursuits and his over fifteen years of teaching experience. Derek approaches teaching with a cheerful and professional attitude, firmly believing that music and art are exciting and life-long pursuits. His guitar work has been praised for its stellar songwriting and exquisite blend of jagged edges and smooth licks, as noted by Premier Guitar Magazine and AFROPUNK.