What's Hot With Jazz Guitar: Mike Gellar

This week we feature guitarist Mike Gellar, who plays various styles of jazz from swing and bebop to modern.

Mike Gellar's debut CD Perdido is a fine effort. Besides his ensemble group playing, he does several duos with fellow guitarist Steve Abshire. Very refreshing. I wish more guitarists would team up on guitar duos. It is a wonderful combination when handled properly. Mike Gellar's music has a nice easy feel, and he is a solid straight ahead player. I hope we'll hear more from him soon.

Online bio:

Mike Gellar, a jazz guitarist with a distinctive harmonic approach to improvisation, cites Jim Hall, Wes Montgomery, Pat Martino and Emily Remler among his influences, which include horn players and other instrumentalists and vocalists as well. While mostly self-taught, Mike studied music theory at Frostburg State University and privately with guitarists Bill Bittner and Larry Woolridge. Born in Baltimore and residing near Hagerstown, Maryland, Mike performs in duo, trio, quartet and quintet settings in the Frederick, Baltimore, Washington and Harrisburg areas. His repertoire consists of swing, be-bop, cool and modern jazz from a vast variety of composers.

Mike began playing guitar at age 9 and was soon playing Beatles tunes. As a teenager, he began forming and leading bands, influenced by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder and James Taylor. While in college, a friend played a Joe Pass/Oscar Peterson album for him and he has been hooked ever since then, studying and performing with many wonderful musicians.

Mike's CD "Perdido" features Mike along with DC-area musicians Steve Abshire, Chris Bacas, Chris Battistone, Tommy Cecil, Paul Langosch, Mike Smith, Alan Wonneberger and Dave Wundrow. The varied instrumental formats range from a duo with two guitars to a quintet with guitar, sax, trumpet, bass and drums. The 71-1/2 minute CD is comprised of Perdido, Indian Summer, There Is No Greater Love, Israel, Angel Eyes, The Night Has A Thousand Eyes, Alice In Wonderland, On The Trail, I Love You, Wendy, Mohawk and Broadway.

"Mike Gellar is a solid, mainstream player with a good sound and taste to match. For PERDIDO, his first CD, Gellar has surrounded himself with an exceptional group of musicians: guitarist Steve Abshire and tenor saxophonist Chris Bacas are particularly outstanding. Guitarists should check out the two duos by Gellar and fellow guitarist Abshire. Their choice of tunes "No Greater Love" and "Broadway" contrast nicely and contain exemplary playing. Other cuts which leap out in superiority are "The Night Has A Thousand Eyes" and "Mohawk". The ensemble work between trumpet and sax bops and burns in real Jazz Messenger fashion, resulting in 15 minutes of superlative hard-bop. Mike, who incidentally used a Guild Artist Award for the session, should be proud of his debut recording." - Just Jazz Guitar, 11/98

Mike Gellars's website: http://www.mikegellar.com

Sound Clips http://www.mikegellar.com/recordings.htm

Doc Dosco is a jazz guitarist, composer and audio consultant living in Los Angeles, CA. His website is located at http://www.docdosco.com, where you can find more information on the 'What's Hot in Jazz Guitar' columns, audio clips of Doc's playing, and many additional features. Doc plays Heritage guitars and endorses the new Pignose Valve Tube Amps, great for jazz (and anything else!)

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