I've known Brooklyn-born guitarist Tom Guarna for maybe twelve years, give or take. He used to literally live around the corner from my apartment in Park Slope, Brooklyn. We worked together in a band that drumming phenomenon Rodney Holmes had put together. I eventually asked Guarna to join an organ trio I was trying to start. This organ trio was called "Mad Science" and eventually, Holmes joined us and we recorded two albums( and then a third with Kenny Grohowski on drums). Guarna and I worked and recorded with fusion legend Lenny White's quartet, and we've actually worked together in a number of other configurations.
Guarna is simply a great guitarist, perhaps one of the most underrated in the jazz world. He's got great ears and chops, but he has what many on that instrument lack: taste! The thing I love about Guarna's playing the most is the care in which he chooses his notes. But don't be fooled: he can burn with the best of them. He's very versatile as well: he knows everything from classical and flamenco guitar techniques to bebop to fusion and beyond. Guarna and I will be performing together at Smalls' in New York on July 22nd and 23rd. I wanted to feature him in jazztruth before then, so here's my interview with him: