The Left-Handed Guitar Players That Changed Music By John Engel
Jackie King has steered his impressive career on several fronts at once. A masterful jazz guitarist, he has been a studio musician, a touring band member, the leader of several groups, a solo recording artist, a guitar teacher, and the author of books, instructional videos, and articles on guitar playing and jazz history.
Known most recently for his longstanding association with Willie Nelson, King has also played with Chet Baker, Sonny Stitt, Bill Evans, Jimmy Witherspoon, the Boston Pops, Ray Charles, Tony Bennett, Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders, George Jones, Ray Price, Johnny Bush, and others. His phenomenal technique as an improviser draws from a wealth of varied musical styles, most of which were nurtured in the heart of Texas between the 1930s and 1950s.
Not unlike Hank Garland, one of his heroes, Jackie King belongs to that elite of guitarists who bring a stylish and deeply informed performance to whatever music they play. While he definitely remains a jazz guitarist, he transcends boundaries between bebop and straight-ahead jazz, swing, and country. King’s greatest strength is improvisation, but there is nothing improvised about his connection to all music and his refined knowledge of his craft. In Willie Nelson’s own words, “he’s very tasty, very tasty.”
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Read more about Jackie King's life and amazing guitar technique in John Engel's Uncommon Sound book.