Vic Juris, September 26, 1953 – December 30, 2019

VJT

Vic Juris Tribute Week

I was so sad to hear of the passing of Vic Juris this morning. My thoughts are with his wife Kate, as well as his extended family. Vic is easily one of my favorite guitarists of all time and the influence he had on my life was very concrete and measurable. I remember discovering his album, “Songbook #2” sometime in 2008 during a period in which I had come to the conclusion that I did not want to be a professional musician anymore. Regardless, Vic’s playing on tunes like “Long Ago and Far Away” and “Giant Steps” was so powerful that it inspired me to enter into the most focused and transformative period of practice I have experienced to date.

My goal was to find a pocket and swing somewhere in the ballpark of where Vic felt it. I began to work on a more contrasting separation of upper-structure lines against lower voicings. His horn-like pentatonic phrases inspired me to work through the saxophone lexicon in a methodical way. All of this lead to the creation of the small world that I inhabit on the internet and helped breathe life into a player who was numb and listless in the face of jazz guitar’s modern aesthetic.I am grateful that I had the opportunity to interact with Vic on a few occasions and also glad that I got to see him play with the Dave Liebman band several years ago. His legacy will live on in the collective consciousness of the jazz guitar community, as there is no corner within our universe which his influence has not touched. RIP-Tone

The first video I would like to post is actually a performance of “My Favorite Things” from the David Liebman Group. I saw this group at Sculler’s in Boston about 20 years ago. Full disclosure: I had no idea who Vic really was and I actually went to see David Liebman. Regardless, I honestly think that this specific version of the David Liebman Group was one of the best Post-Coltrane incarnations to exist over the last several decades.

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