"The Style, the Sound,
of Guitarist
Freddie Green"

"How many musicians are able to create a unique voice that is instantly identifiable? Furthermore, how many are able to be deeply and almost silently influential? Someone once said, “You can change the world, as long as you’re not concerned with getting credit for it.”
I am sure that this unassuming master of the instrument,
Freddie Green, would agree." — Keith Calmes

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abstract guitar design with rhythm written across it. abstract guitar design with rhythm written across it.

The Freddie Green Style of Playing Rhythm Guitar

Freddie used his ingenuity, his musical acuity, and commitment to creating a method of playing an audible pulse so accurate that when “time” is discussed in jazz and another genre of music, Freddie Green remains the yardstick for measuring it. While laying down an unwavering tempo Green also created simultaneously a counter-point to the “walking bass” line–a rhythm guitar “walking tenor line.” He limited the use of full chords (using them sparingly, mostly on slower tempo tunes) for the flexibility and creativity entrenched in employing only one and occasionally two note “chords.” Did those enthusiasts who bemoaned Freddie never having taught his technique, missed Freddie’s gift to guitarists? ”I don’t try to play those big ‘concert’ chords. I play just a couple of notes, sometimes just one, but it sets the sound of the chord. When you try to play those big chords, it can make the whole band drag.” Freddie used these sparsely gathered “chords” to work linearly, interweaving his own contrapuntal melodic solos layered beneath his driving rhythmic energy. “Those two voices (walking bass and walking tenor) make explicit the entire underlying harmonic foundation. And with propulsion, lightness and a sense of direction that only a linear concept (as opposed to a full chord/vertical) could possibly provide, it gives the band both an unflagging rhythmic drive and, at the same time, all the harmony a soloist needs to hear without cluttering, restricting or weighing down the efforts of either,” asserts guitarist, James Chirillo.

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