Jimmy Wyble was a musician’s musician, a true American master and a unique voice in the world of guitar music. I am grateful and honored to have been a friend and collaborator with such a unique talent and special human being. Jimmy passed away in January, 2010 just days shy of his 88th birthday.
Having performed and recorded with Barney Kessel, Red Norvo, Benny Goodman and Frank Sinatra, Jimmy came off the road and began delving deeper into his understanding of the guitar. He explored the use of two-line improvisation creating a fresh sound that combined his various influences of jazz, western swing, cajun and contemporary classical music. This led to a recording of “Études” that was released in the 1970’s. Guitarists such as Joe Pass, Mundell Lowe, Laurindo Almeido, Larry Koonse, Sid Jacobs, Ron Escheté have all sung his praises. He taught and influenced countless guitar players over decades.
In 2008 Jimmy and I began a collaboration focused on exploring our common musical language and interests. As Jimmy and I got to know each other we realized that we shared a musical sensibility and he asked me to expand and add material to his Etudes. He had always wanted to have someone bring them to a wider audience. I, in turn, was blown away with his music, particularly with his gentle use of dissonance, and space, and was thrilled at the opportunity.
Over the course of the last two years of his life we collaborated on a recording that will soon be released. It contains these expanded Etudes for piano, as well as Jimmy’s last recorded guitar solos, and piano and guitar duets featuring both of our compositions. It also includes free improvisations, and actual spoken conversations we recorded. It will be called simply “CONVERSATIONS WITH JIMMY”.