Magazine article Guitar Player

Performance Notes: Rodney, Jones. (Toolbox: Essential Info for Guitarists)

Magazine article Guitar Player

Performance Notes: Rodney, Jones. (Toolbox: Essential Info for Guitarists)

Article excerpt

PERFORMANCE NOTES Rodney Jones

Veteran sideman and session guitarist Rodney Jones has played alongside such notables as Dizzy Gillespie, James Brown, and Michael Jackson. He's currently the house guitarist on NBC's The Rosie O'Donnell Show, and his funky new solo album is Soul Manifesto [Blue Note]. -- SHAWN HAMMOND

What's the biggest lesson you've learned from being a sideman?

That you have to balance the art of creating music from the heart with the craft of earning a living.

What is typically a session player's major challenge?

You have to be able to look at a piece of music or a video image, and know the appropriate thing to play. You may be asked for something general--like a blues solo--or something very specific, like a solo in the style of Hendrix, B.B. King, or Stevie Ray Vaughan. You have to know what people mean when they make those requests.

Is there usually room to interpret?

What I'd play in those situations is totally different from what I'd play at home if I felt like playing the blues. When you're working as a sideman, the task is to help your boss realize his or her vision --which may not be what you think is the best musical choice.

Do you have any session survival tips?

You basically need a lot of common sense--but I've found that common sense is not so common. My biggest tip is what I call the five Ps: "Proper preparation prevents poor performance." Make sure your guitar is in good working order, and that you have new strings and all the tools you need to get through the gig. …

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