Category Archives: General

Happy belated New Year! Among my many resolutions will be to update this site more. Wow, it’s been a while! Some recent highlights and really fun gigs:

New Years at the Blue Whale with the LA Jazz Collective


The Saddleback Faculty Concert


Joe-less Shoe in KC

Happy New Year!


Hi there folks, wishing everyone a happy New Year. I had a great little vacation from teaching filled with eating, practicing and hanging out with friends and family. A few gigs coming up that I’m excited about. On Jan. 19th I’ll be at the Blue Whale with Jason Harnell and Joe Bagg. We have a group called Sigmund Fudge with Ryan McGillicuddy on bass but since Ryan is teaching in Korea currently we’re trying it sans bass, hence “Just Fudge”. And then Jan. 29, I’ll be playing at John Pisano’s Guitar Night at Lucy’s 51. All of us jazz guys in LA know what a treasure John is to the scene and it’s always an honor to be asked to play with him. Hope to see some of you guys there!


Break the Mold podcast

A few weeks ago saxophonist/podcaster Alex Sadnik contacted me to do an interview on his “Break the Mold” podcast. Alex has been putting together great shows at the art gallery Exhibit A in Long Beach and it seems his desire to showcase interesting local music has spilled over into podcasting. Alex was kind enough to bring his recording equipment over to the house my lovely girlfriend Chelsea and I share in Altadena and had a thoughtful conversation over some Chemex brewed Jones coffee. You can find the interview right here.

When you finish that one you can find Alex’s other interviews with many of my favorite musicians like Jason Harnell, Joe Bagg, Joey Sellers and Ryan MgGillicuddy right here!

Recommended Jazz Guitar Listening – part 3 – the 70’s

It’s been a little while, but I want to continue with my recommended listening list for my students and anyone new to jazz. Again, this is just my perspective on it and I may have left some guitarists off that aren’t on my favorites list. But I encourage everyone to explore on their own and come up with your own conclusions. If you missed my prior posts, you can find them here.

In the seventies we continued to see the influence of psychedelic rock and the sound innovations of Jimi Hendrix, resulting in jazz fusion. Out of Miles Davis’ bands, guitarists like John McLaughlin and Sonny Sharrock went in vastly different directions. In the straight ahead scene, Joe Pass made strides in solo guitar. And after heavily chops oriented music like Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return to Forever became the norm, the ECM style emerged which emphasized a calmer, more meditative aesthetic. Here’s a sampling:

Joe Pass

John McLaughlin

Sonny Sharrock

Ralph Towner

John Abercrombie

Pat Metheny

A few guys from the 70’s who I think were influential to other guitarists from that era but don’t have YouTube clips of their playing in the 70’s (correct me if I’m wrong):

Sam Brown

Mick Goodrick


Next up; the 80’s.


Interview with the Mission Viejo Patch

Dee Dee McNeil was kind enough to contact me to do an interview for the Mission Viejo Patch. The Saddleback Jazz Faculty had an upcoming concert (Aug 29) and the intention was that this interview would help promote it. Click here to read the published interview at the Patch.

Here’s the unedited interview, which is a bit longer.

Mission Viejo Patch: In 1996 you were selected to be an international jazz ambassador by the United States Information Agency and you toured Asia and the Middle East as part of a duo. Who was the other part of that duo? What countries did you visit? How were you received in those international appearances? How did those performances impact you?

Jamie Rosenn: In 1996, Art Hirahara (a great pianist now living in NY who I went to CalArts with) and I were chosen from a nationwide pool to be part of the Jazz Ambassador program through the United States Information
Agency. We visited Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait in the Middle East and Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal in Southern Asia. Our concerts were attended by a widely varied audience of ambassadors, ex-patriots, students, local music fans, local musicians, etc. For the most part we were received very well. Even in Kuwait, where there was a protest around our appearance on the grounds that American music would corrupt their Islamic values, it turned out to be great advertising and the concert was a huge success. Many of the local music fans were unfamiliar with jazz but very polite and interested. Often we would jam with local musicians, which was always fascinating. Trying to find common ground in each others music was challenging but rewarding. The experience was tremendously eye opening for me. It demonstrated how music can be used to unite cultures that are very different.

Patch:  I know you recorded a cd as part of an organ trio.  What advice can you give interested guitar players about playing as part of an organ ensemble? What’s the meaning of the title of this Organ trio CD, “Points

Rosenn: I’ve been playing with the fantastic organ and piano player Joe Bagg since the late 90’s. We have a trio with the drummer Mark Ferber called Option 3 and recorded a CD a few years ago called “Points Subtracted” ( referring to a hypothetical point system that related to staying in the good graces of our loved ones. Organ and guitar have similar sonorities and blend together very nicely. Generally the organ plays the role that bass and piano would play normally (playing bass-lines and accompanying the soloist). When the organ solos the guitarist accompanies the organ. So it’s a very interactive experience and my advice to guitarists would be the same as in any other instrumentation; use your ears!

Patch: I read that you originally came from the East Coast to California. What do you see as the difference  between East Coast Jazz and West Coast Jazz, if any?

Rosenn: Any style of playing that is found on the East Coast can be found on the West Coast in varying degrees. Having said that though, I have found Boston and New York to be more open to experimentation and individuality.

Patch:  Are you the first in your family to pursue music as a career or are other members of your family musically inclined?

Rosenn: My father is a psychiatrist and my mother is a psychologist and neither were musically inclined. However they were very supportive of me musically and never discouraged me from pursuing it as a career. My younger sister is involved in painting and art education and is a talented singer and my younger brother is a documentary director-editor/ blues-funk guitarist (

Patch: How did you get interested in performing jazz?

Rosenn: I started playing guitar at about age 12 and got a subscription to Guitar Player Magazine. At the time the magazine covered very diverse genres of music and I soaked it up and investigated as much music as I could. I eventually gravitated towards jazz and when I was about 15 started playing in an ensemble at a local musical school in Weston, MA (much like the ensembles I teach at Saddleback now). After experiencing first hand how fun it was I was hooked!

Patch: What inspires you to compose music?  Have other artists recorded
your music?

Rosenn: My compositional process is widely varied. Sometimes I start with a title and see what musical images it conjures. Other times I start with a melodic or harmonic fragment and go from there. Sometimes I think about the players or instrumentation of a group I’m playing will inspire me to compose. Generally, the music I write is performed in groups that I lead or co-lead but Alan Ferber arranged and recorded by tune “Yore” on his album “Playground”(

Patch: I like the nice open sound that you have on the newest Joe Less Shoe album with only you, saxophone and drums.  Why no bass player?

Rosenn: Thank you! “Outsole” is our second album ( and we have a lot of fun in the bass-less environment. We don’t use a bassist in JoE-LeSs shOe because it makes us think and play differently and challenges us to listen and interact in a more unorthodox way. We all love playing with bass players but in this particular group, as my teacher Jimmy Giuffre use to say, “less is more”!

Patch: What are the rewards and/or drawbacks of teaching?

Rosenn: Teaching has changed my lifestyle so that I can pick and choose the gigs that are more rewarding to me musically than before I taught. It’s also great to interact with students who are excited about learning music and exchange ideas with them. Having to explain what has become automatic to me often provides different perspectives that revitalizes my practicing. I can benefit from it as much as them. The drawbacks are that it can tire me out. I teach at Saddleback, Cypress College, Musician’s Institute and Los Angeles Music Academy, so it can
get pretty busy.

Patch: Tell me about the title “joE leSs shOe”.  What’s behind that title and those Caps?

Rosenn: We decided on our name because Jason Harnell, Matt Otto and myself all had separate bands with Joe Bagg so this band was “Joe-less”. The caps just naturally evolved over time and somewhere along the way stabilized.

Patch: What’s in store for you in the future and what projects are you currently working on?

Rosenn: My main projects are with Option 3, JoE-LeSs shOe and a third group called Sigmund Fudge with Joe Bagg on electric piano, Ryan McGillicuddy on bass and Jason Harnell on drums. Sigmund Fudge is due to record very soon. People can keep track of my gigs, CD’s and projects at

Patch:  Any words from the wise for young musicians?

Rosenn: My advice would be to keep and open mind and listen to a lot of music. Pay attention to what really impresses you and see if you can figure out why. Also spend some time imagining what you would sound like if you could play at the level you would like to eventually get to. What does it sound like? Keep whittling away, defining that sound in your head and you’ll have a clearer picture of what you need to do to achieve it.

John Lennon would have been 70 a few days ago

I can never give an absolute answer to that question regarding who your favorite Beatle is but I can say with certainty that it was because of John Lennon that I started playing guitar in 1981. Before John Lennon was killed, my fifth grade class’s musical taste ranged from “Rapper’s Delight” to… well, that was about it. After Lennon’s death my friends and I got slightly obsessed with the Beatles. We wanted to start a band and since I had a guitar in the back of my Mom’s closet I decided I’d play guitar. There were about ten of us in my pack of friends so we were going to have clarinets and xylophones and timpanis and anything else that looked interesting in our school’s band room. Our band never came together but I did stick to guitar and it eventually wound up knocking out my other hobby of cartoon caricatures.

As tragic as it was to lose such an enormous talent so early, this event no doubt gave birth to a generation of artists who grew up measuring themselves against the high level of artistic integrity displayed by Lennon/ the Beatles. Many of my friends’ entries into music were from big brothers who were into Kiss or Van Halen. I often think how lucky I was to have the Beatles be my first meaningful musical influence.

If you haven’t seen this short film about a 14 year old Beatles fan interviewing Lennon in his hotel room…enjoy.


Howdy. Thanks to everyone for coming out to the LAJC Spring Fest at Vitello’s. It turned out to be a lot of fun (despite my last minute pedalboard abandonment due to random effect freak-outage).

I have 3 gigs coming up at Blue Whale and I’m looking forward to each of them. First: the return of JoE-LeSs shOe on Weds, April 28th.  Second: Ryan McGillicuddy’s quartet wit

h Adam Benjamin on keys and Jason Harnell on drums on Sat May 8th and third: singer Sharmila Guha’s trio with Eric Sittner on bass. Hope to see you at some of them!

Hi there folks. A few updates to the site to mention. I added a bunch of clips to the video gallery and put up some new pictures in the picture gallery as well. Knock yourselves out!

Playing trio with bass and drums has always been one of my favorite settings. Friday the 26th of March I’ll be playing at Blue Whale with a really terrific rhythm section consisting of Jeff D’Angelo on bass and David Hocker on drums. These guys are great listeners as well as players so it should be a lot of fun.

I’ve been very fortunate to do a few gigs with the Luckman Jazz Orchestra led by Charlie Owens. Our next concert is Saturday April 10th at the Luckman Auditorium at Cal State LA and is a tribute to Duke Ellington.

Some upcoming stuff

Hi there internet peeps. Thanks for checking in. A few things I want to mention breifly; First of all the passing of the amazing musician Jimmy Wyble. Jimmy was an incredibly unique guitarist and person alike. Everyone who heard him and met him was charmed. Look for an upcoming post about Jimmy. I’ll miss him.

Second, I have some gigs coming up that I’m excited about. Sat. Feb 27 I’ll be at Blue Whale with a variation of Sigmund Fugde. Kneebody’s Adam Benjamin will be filling in for Joe Bagg, along with Ryan McGillicuddy on bass and Jason Harnell on drums. I can’t say enough nice things about Blue Whale. I’ll be there with my trio March 26th as well. More about that later.

Tues, March 2 I’ll be at Vitello’s on John Pisano’s Guitar Night with John, Ryan McGillicuddy and Tim Pleasant. It’s always an honor to play with John.