What's Hot With Jazz Guitar: Mark Stefani

by Doc Dosco

This week we once again feature jazz guitarist Mark Stefani and his website Vision Music. This site is a 'must' to check out for aspiring guitarists and pros alike.

Besides being a really marvelous player, Mark Stefani has one of the most comprehensive guitar teaching website on the Internet. VisionMusic.com is the 'jazz guitar central station' of the web for those who are serious guitar students. The guest faculty reads like the who's who of jazz guitar (most of whom I have already done columns on). And, the online lesson material is deep. Enough 'juicy stuff' to keep any enthusiastic disciple of the guitar busy for years to come.

Mark has added a number of new features to his website recently. The Monster Guitar Solo series has been very well-received, even by top pros:

Here's the current ad in Just Jazz Guitar magazine:

Then there's the ongoing Good Vibes Jazz Solo series, done in the spirit of the now late Hank Garland and his historic collaboration with vibist Gary Burton:

There's a lot of great learning resources for aspiring players on that page. Also the Guitar Talk series (six editions to date), blending vocal narratives with appropriate performance tracks:

And finally, the entire site was recently reconstructed and the home page sports a brand new look:

There are free lessons, articles, songs, jam tracks and even a forum on the Vision music website. Check it out!

Mark's Bio:

Mark Stefani, son of noted West Coast jazz trombonist Roy Stefani, has devoted most of his life to music. He began playing guitar in 1969, and was inspired by his father along with Bay Area jazz guitarist Eddie Duran. Mark received his early jazz education while studying with guitarist Dave Smith, and later began his classical training under the guidance of George Sakellariou at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Stefani is a highly eclectic guitarist, though best noted for his skill in the rhythm & blues and jazz idioms. Throughout his career, his influences have been guitarists George Benson, Wes Montgomery, and Kenny Burrell, jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, saxophonists Charlie Parker and John Coltrane, plus numerous other legends of jazz and blues. On the acoustic guitar, Mark has amassed a repertoire of over 700 instrumental classical, popular, jazz, and latin standards. In 1986 he began composing original music in a variety of styles to match his diverse background.

Mark has taught music full-time for over 30 years, and his talent as a music coach has been felt by top professionals the world over. In 1987, his career was spotlighted in Guitar Player Magazine ("versatile style on both electric and acoustic guitars" -- "a master's touch"). In 1996, Mark and saxophonist Dennis Marcellion released a jazz duo CD entitled "An Evening To Remember," which charted well and sold over 40,000 copies that year.

In 1997 Stefani combined his early love of writing and art with his long musical background by designing the highly popular Vision Music educational website (www.visionmusic.com), now over 800 pages deep and serving the needs of almost 4000 different players each day. Just one year after inception, it had already received top magazine reviews and accolades from numerous professional musicians and instructors.

Besides the valuable lessons and inspiring articles, one of the greatest features of interest to jazz improvisers is the innovative "Jam Central Station" page, where players have access to a "virtual" band around the clock, complete with high-quality rhythm charts shown on screen while the music plays. Currently there are well over a hundred selections available.

Shortly after the JCS launch, Stefani began inviting notable guitarists and educators, such as George Benson, Hank Garland, Jimmy Bruno, Robert Conti, Joe Giglio, Liona Boyd, Chris Standring, Steve Laury, David Tanenbaum, Joe Diorio, Henry Johnson, Wolf Marshall, Muriel Anderson, and others, to share their knowledge at Vision Music's "Teacher Feature" page.

Nowadays, besides expanding the website, Mark keeps busy performing, composing, arranging, and teaching in the Portland (OR) area. He also writes regularly for both Just Jazz Guitar and Jazz Improv Magazines.

Mark Stefani and Vision Music can be found at:

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 with Jazz Guitar' columns, audio clips of Doc's playing, and many additional features. Doc now endorses Peerless Guitars and has the website Jazz Guitar Zone to help promote Peerless jazz guitars in the US. He also endorses the new Pignose Valve Tube Amps -- great for jazz (and anything else!)

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