Podcast: Interview with Jazz Guitarist Jimmy Bruno

by | Nov 8, 2023 | Interviews, Podcasts | 0 comments

Vin and Ryan had the chance to chat with Jimmy Bruno, one of the USA’s foremost jazz guitar performers and educators.

Listen in as Jimmy gives his unique tips on learning the guitar fretboard, gives a behind-the-scenes look at the making of some of his most popular recordings and his experiences meeting and playing with Frank Sinatra!


Key Takeaways:

  • His professional career started at age 19 when he joined the Buddy Rich Orchestra and toured internationally. He later played with Frank Sinatra, Doc Severinsen, and was an in-demand LA session musician.

  • He returned to focus on jazz guitar and has recorded over 13 acclaimed albums. He’s shared the stage with legends like Tal Farlow and Howard Alden.

  • Concord Records helped launch his solo career by releasing his albums. The label also recorded other iconic jazz guitarists which introduced Jimmy’s playing to more fans.

  • He discussed his approach to teaching improvisation, focusing on developing the ear first rather than scales/modes. He advocates learning melodies by ear rather than from sheet music.

  • His advice for new jazz guitarists is to learn simpler melodies first, like Miles Davis on Kind of Blue and to learn tunes turn to soloists like Frank Sinatra who sing melodies very cleanly.

  • He aims to simplify improvisation on guitar by teaching consistent fingerings across chord changes. This builds associations between finger positions and scale degrees.

  • Now in his 70s, he still performs but is selective, focusing on teaching and composing. He enjoys collaborating with longtime friends like Frank Vignola.


What are your favorite tracks or albums by Jimmy Bruno? Leave your comments below!

Audio Version:

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If you’re keen to have a structured, step-by-step approach to learning jazz guitar, it might be worth checking out my online learning system, the FretDojo Jazz Guitar Academy.

Here’s what you get when you join up:

  • Detailed step-by-step video lessons on new classic jazz tunes and essential jazz guitar skills added to the club website each month. Includes listening recommendations, demonstrations of the melody, analysis of the harmony, and detailed explanations on how to solo over the tune.
  • Key improvisation concepts and techniques for soloing, and classic licks and example solos that relate to each tune, so you can continue to expand your jazz vocabulary and have more options when it comes to soloing.
  • Detailed comping ideas to suit the style of each jazz standard covered
  • Lessons on how to make chord melody and solo jazz guitar versions of tunes featured – play a complete jazz standard completely on your own like Joe Pass!
  • Members only forum – A worldwide community of jazz guitarists from all around the globe.
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