UnderGround Forums
 

SoundGround >> The Obscure Jazz Guitar Genius of Harry Leahey


9/9/12 1:34 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
hugomma
833 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 4/5/10
Posts: 2276
 
allowfullscreen="true">

Hey guys, Here's a gem of a guitarist you've probably never heard of unless you're from New Jersey: Harry Leahey. Not a lot about Harry other than a few YouTube videos, but I though some of you might appreciate this. I'll post a quick bio on the next thread.
9/9/12 1:44 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
hugomma
833 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 4/5/10
Posts: 2277
Here's a chord melody solo, along witha thesis submitted by one of Harry's students.  The thesis also talks about Harry's chord method:

www.scribd.com/doc/22466228/Thesis-Bio-and-Musical-Analysis-Harry-Leahey



 
9/9/12 1:45 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
hugomma
833 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 4/5/10
Posts: 2278
Here's Harry's Wiki page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_leahey

Guitar studies

Leahey received his first guitar at the age of thirteen. He went on to study with Lou Melia, at Sayer's Studio in Plainfield; Al Volpe, the renowned studio guitarist and teacher of such players as Joe Pass and Sal Salvador; leading jazz and studio guitarist Johnny Smith and Dennis Sandole, teacher of such students as Pat Martino and John Coltrane. He studied music theory and composition at Manhattan School of Music.

Career

Leahey's career began in the early 1960s and continued until his death in 1990. He played and recorded with Phil Woods at Carnegie Hall, Gerry Mulligan, Al Cohn, Jack Six, Warren Vaché, Mark Murphy and other well-known jazz artists. As part of the Newport Jazz Festival, the Maynard Ferguson Orchestra and the Phil Woods Quintet shared the bill at a midnight concert on June 28, 1977.

He was on the Grammy award winning Phil Woods Six - Live from the Showboat (1977) album. His composition "Rain Danse" and his arrangement of Django Reinhardt's "Manoir de mes Rêves (Django's Castle)" were featured on the album. From 1978 to 1990 he performed with his own trio, featuring Roy Cumming on bass and Glenn Davis on drums and in duo settings with various bass players. As leader, he recorded one album with his trio, one duo album with bassist Steve Gilmore and one solo album.


 
9/9/12 1:45 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
hugomma
833 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 4/5/10
Posts: 2279
 (Cont'd)

Tuition

A dedicated and practical family man, he chose to devote himself to teaching the guitar, teaching privately at his home in Plainfield, New Jersey, and from 1974 to 1988 at William Paterson University (then William Paterson College). Over the course of a thirty-year career as a guitar teacher, Leahey taught literally thousands of students, many of whom went on to successful careers. Among his former students are Vic Juris, Bob DeVos, Jon Herington, Warren Vaché, Jack Six, Walt Bibinger, Larry Barbee, Robert Florczak, and Chuck Loeb.

Death

Leahey died at the age of 54. Although he had received little critical acclaim, fellow musicians were unanimous in their praise for Harry Leahey. A few representative quotes: “Harry was a master.” – Glenn Davis. “The most complete guitarist I ever heard.” – Vinnie Corrao. “I was flabbergasted by his playing.” – Warren Vaché. “He was the top of the heap. He was the best guitar player that I had ever played with and I played with every [one].” – Phil Woods. “I don’t think there’ll ever be another Harry Leahey.” – Jack Six. “He was a great guitarist and a very beautiful man.” – Leo Johnson.


9/9/12 1:47 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
hugomma
833 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 4/5/10
Posts: 2280
 
9/9/12 1:48 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
hugomma
833 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 4/5/10
Posts: 2281
 
9/10/12 1:19 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
jman
441 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 13106
Now I see why you're studying

It is so incredibly hard to do those chord melodies (especially how these guys improvise them). I certainly never have been able to, but by learing all of these positions of the the 7th chords, it is probably the key to unlocking and opening that door.

Hopefully some day, I'll get to a place where I will feel comfortable with those things. It's weird, you only have so much time, and SO much of this is just time spent memorizing chords, scales, doing muscle memory/strength-endurance things to develop technique, practicing improvisation, ear training, composition.

Let me know how it goes for you. That guy is a great guitarist and that paper is cool on his ideas and teaching methods. Good luck!
9/10/12 11:45 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
hugomma
833 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 4/5/10
Posts: 2282
Thanks jman, but from what I've seen & heard, you would absolutely be able to learn chord melody with the right teacher.  It would probably take someone like Harry (RIP) or Dale Bruning to guide you thorugh it.  Unless you're the reincarnation of Wes Montgomery or Joe Pass, I think most mere mortals need a teacher to learn this stuff.

Glad you enjoyed Harry's playing & the paper his student wrote about him.

The reason why I decided to hunt Mr. Bruning down (other than being completely moved by Bill Frisell's performance) is exactly what you're talking about: there's an endless amout of things to practice.  I need someone to diagnose where I'm, guide me through the essentails, & put everything together to turn all those scales & chords into actual music.  I'm overwhealmed with the amount of info out there and can barley figure out what to focus on.  

FRAT time:

Dale Bruning is originally from Philly & studied with Dennis Sandole.  Dennis Sandole was a guitarist/composer/educator who taught Harry Leahey, Pat Martino, and even the great John Coletrane.  My original guitar teacher was a Harry Leahey student.  

I actually knew Harry and was friends with his sons, Dennis & Jim.  Jim's an excellent guitarist who plays with Dennis DeYoung of Styx and John Waite (the dude who sang "Missing You").  Jim's like 8-9 years older than me (I'm 41). Dennis (his brother) is a drummer and is my age.  The three of us used to hang out, party, & jam all the time (which was basically me strumming chords while Jim melted our faces off).  Great memories. 

The first time I heard Harry play, I was scared.  Literally freaked out.  I didn't know you could do that with a guitar.  I'd never heard anything like that, & I had never been around that level of excellence before.  I was always intimidated by him, & I would never look him in the eye, which was stupid, because the man was a total sweetheart.  He just seemed so much larger than life.   

One time, when we were 14, Dennis & I sunk out of my house to get drunk & high.  Harry was playing at a hotel lounge in my town.  We sat outside behind a bush for about a 1/2 hour listening to Harry do his thing.  We could actually see him tapping his foot through a small window.  Good times.  

In a way, it feels like I'm coming full circle.  I have my first lesson with Mr. Bruning tomorrow, which is 9/11.  9/11 is why we're in CO.  We had talked about moving out here for years, and 9/11 is what drove us to make the move.  We sold our condo in Jersey & got her 7/02/12.  Lots of odd little connections.

I know, I know: cool story, bro.  But this means a lot to me, & it's bringing up a lot of things from the past.

I'll let you know how it goes . I'm geeked out and nervous all at the same time.

I appreciate your support, jman.  Like I said before, kind words from a working pro go a long way.  


 



9/10/12 12:30 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
jman
441 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Edited: 09/10/12 12:46 PM
Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 13113
Great man, keep it up.

After not playing guitar for the past 2 months (because of tendonitis) I'm going to focus on for the next few weeks on something I "thought" I knew...the 5 modal positions of the Pentatonic Major/Minor.

I have a better feel for the 7 modes than the damn 5 modes of the Pentatonic, and the Pentatonic is so much more useful. I'm realizing that now, as my hands aren't up to par, and the tone I'm using in this pop band isn't the Mesa Boogie sustain, that the Pentatonic is a failsafe. Almost like a Brown Belt BJJ guy goes back to the basics...and realize why they are the "BASICS" I'm going back to the Pentatonic scales. I realized this after watching an Andy James instructional video. The way he flows positionally (improvisationally?) using the pentatonic minor really was inspiring. You can see it quite well in many of these clips:



So for me the next 2 months will be lock these things down solid:
- 5 Pentatonic Minor/Major Modes
- 5 Mixolydian/Locrian Pentatonic Modes (my own stuff I'm experimenting with)
- 5 CAGED arpeggios for: Major 7th, Minor 7th, Dominant 7th, Half Diminished 7th and Fully Diminished 7th

After that, I'm not too sure. I'm not a jazz guy at all. So maybe work on the Diminished scales, Melodic Minor Modes, the 5 CAGED positions for "all" 7th chords (not the same as arpeggio shapes).

Yeah having a good teacher would certainly be a great thing. Embrace it, and give me some advice when you figure it out.
9/10/12 12:56 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
hugomma
833 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 4/5/10
Posts: 2285
It's funny how deep something as "basic" as pentatonic scales get.  You can use them to build arpeggios in different positions.  Check out your Steve Vai clinic thread for the Scott Henderson lesson I posted.  He gives some great ideas on building different harmonies off of pentatonics.

I have a decent working knowledge of the major modes, so my main focus is the melodic minor modes & 7th chord inversions.  I'm also working on 7th arpeggios and connecting them to basic triads.  When you listen to maniacs like Henderson or Frisell, a lot of what they play are triads, so I've been focusing on that.

My classical guitar teacher had severe tendonitis in his left hand from practicing 8 hours a day.  He made me very aware of dangers of tension, particularly in the left hand.  One thing he made me do, which was a godsend, was to let go of the neck after difficult/tense chords, progressions, or single note runs, and shake my hand out.

For example, if I was trying to learn a tough, stretchy chord, I would place my hands on the frets, play the chord, let go, & the gently shake the tension out of my hands and fingers.  Same thing with chord progessions: play one chord, shake out the left hand, play the other, shake, rinse & repeat.  Same thing with single note runs: play the lick, shake, rinse & repeat.  Any time I notice any tension I would play/shake/play/shake, etc.

Although I've never been able to string together more 2-3 of hours of practice a day (I used to work and commute almost two hours a day to school), I've never had any hand issues.  My teacher made a full recovery & practices at least 3 hours a day, as well as teaching, recitals, clinics, etc.   It's a little odd, but worth a shot.   
9/10/12 12:57 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
hugomma
833 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 4/5/10
Posts: 2286
Just saw the Andy James video you posted & will check it out later, as well as VTFU when I get my votes back.  

Thanks again, jman.
9/10/12 1:19 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
jman
441 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 13114
Cool thanks for the tendonitis advice.

I've never had ANY hand problems until I hit 39 or so (after play 25 years) so it's certainly for me just part of getting old. But I still want to adapt and push it, but as soon as I get some "negative feedback" take a short break, and shake it out.

The worst thing for my hand was holding down chords (those weird stretched things, like first inversion major chord). I still look at my big tendons in my wrist on my left hand and think, is it supposed to be this big and popped out, or did I really fuck up my arm.

Ah the joys of getting older.
9/10/12 1:41 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
hugomma
833 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 4/5/10
Posts: 2291
Old age, sickness, & death...nowhere to run, nowhere to hide :-)

It's a weird technique, but it not only helps you avoid hand issues, it helps you relax into weird chords (like that goddamn 1st inversion Major chord).

I found some of the Scott Sonnen/RMAX stuff to be useful as well.  The guy in this video show some of the Sonnen exerciese he uses.


9/10/12 2:02 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
jman
441 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 13116
Wow that's great. I do some of those, but I like the ice cream cone one, very nice.

A weird thing is for the past 2 months I only played guitar with my right hand. I noticed two things.

1). The muscles in my right forearm were quite a bit bigger than my left.

2). When I would rotate and stretch out my wrists, my left (injured) wrist would never get rid of the clicks and pops and stuff. My right (good) wrist would be silent, or very quiet after a bit of stretching.

After playing again the past 2 weeks with both hands, for about one week I was getting some pain in my left wrist (because I handn't used it for 2 months) but slowly the pain and tension has gone away. And now I actually have the flexibility back and lost the clicking and popping and pain. Almost like physical therapy breaking up the "bad" scar tissue or something.

Now I just have to watch it and figure out how hard I can push it...and how much Ibuprofin and heat/ice packs I need to use if I go to far. Damn it wasn't like this back when you're 18, lol.

Great warm up stuff, thanks man!
9/10/12 2:07 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
hugomma
833 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 4/5/10
Posts: 2292
No problem jamn, hope that helps.  Between the warm up & hand shaking as soon as you feel tension, you should be back to normal before you know it.  Let me know if it helps, although it may be a few months before you really see results.

I'll let you know how the lesson with Mr. Bruning goes, & we will definitely keep in touch.


9/11/12 10:05 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
hugomma
833 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 4/5/10
Posts: 2293
 jman, check out this articl on Yoga for Guitarists:  http://fretterverse.com/2010/02/23/yoga-for-guitarists/
9/19/12 10:19 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Ali
670 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 9015
Wow on Leahy. I just got to these -- and just the first two, so far. Thanks, Hugo!

I hope you heal up well, jman! When I was (briefly) trying to figure out how to use a pick, I ran into lots of talk about tendinitis and tension and such particularly for the right hand, not so much left, oddly. Part of why I got so confused with a pick was how various the advise is (Bruce Arnold has it all turning the wrist, like a screwdriver; lots of the most beastly players I saw on video moved more like a mouse on a mousepad, and then you got guys like Jimmy Bruno or Scott McGill who move from elbow with a still wrist... and lots of variants. Nels Cline has some funny and un-helpful advice for someone like me. I had NONE of these issues when learning classical right hand technique. Finger-style is easier, I tell ya!)

Left hand though... yes, it makes sense there would be more problems there, I think, with all the stretching and pulling going on. But Jimmy, you're a role model in way -- working on counterpoint or composing or back to basics on pentatonics or whatever it is you've been focusing on at any given time, away from the mechanics of the instrument, too!
9/19/12 10:24 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
hugomma
833 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 4/5/10
Posts: 2372
Ali - Wow on Leahy. I just got to these -- and just the first two, so far. Thanks, Hugo!

I hope you heal up well, jman! When I was (briefly) trying to figure out how to use a pick, I ran into lots of talk about tendinitis and tension and such particularly for the right hand, not so much left, oddly. Part of why I got so confused with a pick was how various the advise is (Bruce Arnold has it all turning the wrist, like a screwdriver; lots of the most beastly players I saw on video moved more like a mouse on a mousepad, and then you got guys like Jimmy Bruno or Scott McGill who move from elbow with a still wrist... and lots of variants. Nels Cline has some funny and un-helpful advice for someone like me. I had NONE of these issues when learning classical right hand technique. Finger-style is easier, I tell ya!)

Left hand though... yes, it makes sense there would be more problems there, I think, with all the stretching and pulling going on. But Jimmy, you're a role model in way -- working on counterpoint or composing or back to basics on pentatonics or whatever it is you've been focusing on at any given time, away from the mechanics of the instrument, too!

Ali!!!  Where've you been my brother?  Glad to see you here.  Miss you Homey!

I started my lessons with Dale Bruning, which you're partially responsible for.  I need to write up a post about it, but it's been kind of nuts at work.

Hope you're well, & hope jman's hand is better.

9/19/12 11:38 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Ali
670 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 9016
Hugo -- looking forward to reading/hearing about the Bruning lessons! I'm around. Just a lot of work, and sleeping when I get home.
9/19/12 11:50 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
hugomma
833 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 4/5/10
Posts: 2377
Glad to hear you're okay.  Sorry about work (if it's as unfulfuilling as what I do).  Enjoy the naps, Mr. Bruning's got me missing sleep.
9/19/12 11:52 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
jman
441 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 13160
Thanks hands are slowly healing up. I'm still doing those hand exercises above everyday for warmup (love the icecream cone one, works very well).

Now it's a physical therapy point for me. It's healing up, but I need to break up a bit of it, then let it heal, rinse lather, repeat. So far it's working well. Been a bit painful doing some of the pentatonic stuff but not too bad. At the first feeling of pain (like you mentioned) I'm stopping immediately, shaking it out and then seeing how it feels. So far, so good, thanks for the feedback and insights.

Can't wait to hear feedback from you guitar lessons, sounds awesome! You should start a new thread to document it.
9/19/12 4:31 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
hugomma
833 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 4/5/10
Posts: 2378
jman - Thanks hands are slowly healing up. I'm still doing those hand exercises above everyday for warmup (love the icecream cone one, works very well).

Now it's a physical therapy point for me. It's healing up, but I need to break up a bit of it, then let it heal, rinse lather, repeat. So far it's working well. Been a bit painful doing some of the pentatonic stuff but not too bad. At the first feeling of pain (like you mentioned) I'm stopping immediately, shaking it out and then seeing how it feels. So far, so good, thanks for the feedback and insights.

Can't wait to hear feedback from you guitar lessons, sounds awesome! You should start a new thread to document it.

On it's way.  Thanks for the support & encouragement.

Reply Post

You must log in to post a reply. Click here to login.