Interview with Mark Whitfield, The Man Himself

by | Mar 30, 2017 | General Updates, Interviews, Podcasts, Videos | 4 comments

It’s finally here:

As the final post in the series on jazz blues guitar I’ve featured this month, I’m honored to welcome critically acclaimed jazz guitarist Mark Whitfield, in this exclusive interview.

Simply put, this was one of the best conversations about jazz guitar I’ve ever had, and I was thrilled that Mark had time in his busy schedule for our conversation.

mark-whitfield-graceThis interview also includes the title track off Mark’s brand new album, Grace  his 15th album as a bandleader and first release for 7 years.

A truly family affair, the new album features his two sons, Davis Whitfield on keys and Mark Whitfield Jr. on drums, as part of the Whitfield Family Band. I highly recommend checking it out! Get the album here>>

Interview: Video Version


Interview: Audio Version

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 About Mark Whitfield

Mark Whitfield is one of the most highly regarded jazz guitarists alive today.

Throughout his career, he’s collaborated with legendary artists including Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey, Quincy Jones, Ray Charles, Herbie Hancock, George Benson, and many others.

In 1990 the New York Times dubbed Whitfield “The Best Young Guitarist in the Business”. Later that year, Warner Bros. released his debut album The Marksman.

I reached out to Mark after working on a transcription from one of the tracks from this album: The Blues From Way Back, a jazz guitar blues I’ve been featuring lately on this website.

(Check out the full transcription I did of Mark’s solo from the Blues From Way Back here and a breakdown of essential licks from the solo here.)


In the interview, you’ll learn about…

  • Mark’s special relationship with the blues, and how he’s naturally been drawn to incorporating it into his jazz style.
  • Mark’s journey with jazz guitar, studying at Berklee College of Music, sessions at the Blue Note in New York, and beyond
  • Mark’s thoughts on how to learn jazz guitar to make solid progress, regardless of the time you have for practice.
  • The essential ingredients of an effective and rewarding jazz guitar practice session
  • How Mark met Joe Pass as a young man, leading to one of the most important (and unusual!) jazz guitar masterclasses he ever had.


Album’s and Resources Mentioned By Mark:


Thanks for Checking This Out!

To share your thoughts:

  • Leave a note in the comment section below.
  • Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere else you hang out online.

Special thanks to Mark Whitfield for joining me this week. Find out more about Mark Whitfield via these links:

Until next time!



  1. Shorty Garcia

    thanks Mark and Greg. the solo transcription is tasty indeed, working on that now in the woodshed. the interview didn’t cover Mark’s gear or preferred rig. in one photo Mark is playing a bright red archtop – is that possibly a Martin CF-2 made by Dale Unger?

    • Greg O'Rourke

      Not sure Shorty – might be worth checking out Mark’s website as he might detail his gear there –

  2. Ken Niehoff

    Great interview. Loved the Joe pass story and new album story. A long time ago I was privileged to hear Joe Pass at a small venue. At one point he looked at the audience and ask how many of you are guitar players. Just bout the whole audience raised their hands. Joe said “Iam going play a piece for you and I will just use one cord”. What! He proceeded to play a complex sounding short piece. It was mind blowing.
    Thanks to 2 very generous players.

  3. Paul Harty

    What a wonderful interview. The generosity of Joe Pass, Mark Whitfield and you Greg is apparent. Joe is my favorite jazz guitar player. I once recognized Joe Pass in the airport parking lot in Boston. He was inbound, I was outbound. I told him how much I admired his playing, he was very gracious.



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