Fred Fried – Jazz Guitar Life Interview

“I love learning tunes and being able to play them as a pianist would.  Then, to be honest, I think that the feeling that I was always playing catch-up, the feeling of not being good enough, kept me from calling other musicians to get together to play so I practiced a lot, worked on tunes. and kept to myself. For me, solo guitar was more satisfying than practicing single lines though I do that also. Heaven knows they’re not mutually exclusive. And I must say that I was inspired by George’s solo recordings. And I practically wore out Joe Pass’ Virtuoso album. “

Fred Fried

I was first introduced to Fred Fried (pronounced Freed) via his YouTube postings in a Facebook Jazz group. I instantly loved his interpretations and skill and figured he would make for an interesting interview…I was not wrong! In this Jazz Guitar Life featured interview, Fred goes into great depth as he discusses his Jazz Guitar beginnings “late” in life, his relationship with the great George Van Eps, his approach to chord/melody and so much more. A definitely informative, insightful and entertaining read!! Enjoy 🙂

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JGL: Thank you Fred for taking the time to talk to Jazz Guitar Life. First off, if we can get into a little background about you that would be great. How old are you?

FF: I’m 72 although I used to be younger.

JGL: Now, for those who are unaware of you, could you give Jazz Guitar Life readers an elevator pitch of who Fred Fried is?

FF: I’m a guitarist who has for the better part of my life explored the harmonic aspects of of my chosen instrument while realizing I have barely scratched the surface. I have always tried to be as musical as I could be, which is admittedly a highly subjective matter. Uh oh…this is my floor…

JGL: LOL…where abouts are you located?

FF: I’m in the town of Orleans, on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

JGL: Your online bio states that you began your guitar journey during your years at College. It doesn’t sound like it, but did you experience any challenges that you might have been able to sidestep had you started at a younger age? Any advice for those starting to learn an instrument later in life?

FF: Yes, I did start guitar in college though I had been playing clarinet from age 13. Because of this I could read music and had a certain degree of finger dexterity. The challenge that I faced once I knew that I wanted to be a jazz guitarist was one of confidence. That is, I assumed that everyone who started at an early age was necessarily better than me. In retrospect I’m sure having started late motivated me to practice more, though practicing was and is always fun. I never had to make myself practice.

Advice for those starting later in life? I would say you’d better love it, you’d better love music and I think it’s a must that you believe in yourself. Find a good teacher. That can save a lot of time. George Van Eps would show me something and I’d say wow and he’d say that’s nothing you wouldn’t have found yourself. Whether that was true or not, and it was so nice of him to say, it enabled me to progress faster than I would have. Plus a good teacher gives you the tools to explore on your own, to figure things out for yourself and to find new things.

JGL: Just out of curiosity, did you get any “flack” from your family and/or friends for shifting gears? At least both ventures – writing and music – were arts based.

FF: No, I can’t really say that my family opposed where I was going. They weren’t necessarily encouraging either. They just accepted whatever it was I wanted to do. Nobody ever told me that I should have something to fall back on.

JGL: Were you interested in jazz from the beginning or were there other musical interests before jazz? How did you find your way to this particular music and instrument?

FF: Great question. As a kid I loved all kinds of music. We had albums of Broadway shows around the house, like South Pacific, Oklahoma and West Side Story and I loved that stuff. We had a Dizzy Gillespie album with Night in Tunisia and Manteca. I loved that too. And of course in the late 50’s and 60’s rock ’n roll was taking over and there were countless songs that I loved. How did I find my way to jazz? I had been playing guitar in college for a few years, learning blues, folk and rock from my hippie friends, when I bought a Wes Montgomery album and that was it. I could play along with all my blues albums but I couldn’t play along with Wes. This was a different language. I think that having listened to such a variety of music as a kid I instinctively knew that jazz was on a more sophisticated level and that this was something I not only loved but could spend a lifetime pursuing.

JGL: Who were your influences on jazz guitar when you were beginning, and have they stayed the same or have they changed over the years? Who are you listening to today (guitarists or non-guitarists)?

FF: Of course, there was Wes. Shortly after hearing him I bought a Kenny Burrell album. Wonderful! Then I was dumbstruck after buying Pat Martino’s El Hombre. What lines, what an attack! And The George Benson Cookbook. I must say I’m still impressed by those guys. And of course there was Ted Greene and Lenny Breau.

Today there are so many guitarists that I admire. Yamandu Costa is a great Brazilian 7-string player. Paul Galbraith is a supremely talented 8-string classical guitarist and a main reason that I play 8-string today. Ben Monder is a fabulous player. Peter Mazza is a guitarist with an amazing and original harmonic vocabulary who I had as a student when he was in high school. Even back then his talent and dedication were obvious.  Among the younger players I’m very impressed with Antoine Boyer. When I listen to Matteo Mancuso I immediately go to work on my right hand articulation. Pasquale Grasso is amazing. And listen to what Tori Slusher is doing with tapping! The list would go on so my apologies to those I haven’t mentioned.

In the non-guitarist category I must say that I have listened to Bill Evans more than I have listened to guitarists. I find his music so compelling that I will listen over and over.  There are many musicians, many guitarists who are technically most impressive but not compelling. Bill’s melodic sense and harmonic depth move me emotionally as well as intellectually.

Then there’s Jacob Collier, probably my favorite contemporary musician. He combines a phenomenal knowledge of harmony and rhythm with supreme musicality. And he’s accessible to any set of ears! My hat is off to him. For any of your readers who have not discovered Jacob-  listen to this guy!!! He’s unbelievable.

JGL: In the same vein, who has been most influential in your life as a Jazz Guitarist and why?

FF: That would have to be George Van Eps. He taught me to hear harmony in terms of individual voices and he gave me the technical wherewithal to achieving the pianistic sound that I always gravitated towards. I could never exhaust extrapolating from what he taught. And this is irrespective of style. What he taught was applicable to any style of music.

JGL: You started out wanting to be a writer but then your career choice shifted to the guitar…if I read that correctly? What kind of formal training do you have (ie: lessons, schooling, that sort of thing) and how did these experiences help you get where you are today?

FF: I  was an English major at  Boston University, wanting to be a writer but it wasn’t long before I came under the sway, as I mentioned, of my guitar playing hippie friends. They would show me chords and some fingerpicking techniques and I soon became hooked You could say my passion for music won out.

Formal training? While I was at B.U. I went over to Berklee (a short walk) and signed up for some private lessons. I took six lessons with Paul Guertin and then six more with Mick Goodrick. After college, I got married and soon after my wife and I moved to Los Angeles, North Hollywood to be exact. Just prior to that I went over to Berklee, met Bill Leavitt, then chairman of the guitar department, and asked him who I might study with once we got to L.A. He mentioned Howard Roberts and George Van Eps. Well, I was a fan of Howard Roberts and though I’d heard of Van Eps I wasn’t all that familiar with his playing. Once settled on the west coast I called Howard who said he wasn’t teaching individually, just giving seminars. I called my second choice, George Van Eps, who told me that what he taught wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea but that I could take a lesson and we’d see after that. It wasn’t long after that that I realized how lucky I was. I studied with George for a period of about six months, interrupted once when I joined a group that played a few months in Washington state. George was a very nice man and very organized as a teacher. Every lesson consisted of a specific exercise he would have me learn. And he was most encouraging,  giving me an “A” if I came the next week and played the exercise correctly. The lessons ended when George’s wife passed away and he moved from Burbank. We never got to talk about specific tunes and I never got to play a tune for him though I imagine that would have happened eventually.

I also took some lessons with John Collins, one of the most musical and tasteful guitarists you’d ever want to hear. And I studied with the great jazz accordionist, Tommy Gumina. Tommy also owned Polytone Amplifiers and I ended up working part-time at Polytone, nothing electronic, just installing speakers and preamps and things like that. Tommy was pals with Ray Brown and Joe Pass and they would just walk in to hang out which was pretty exiting for me.

JGL: What was your first guitar and what are you playing now?

FF: My first guitar was a used Goya G-10 that my stepfather got for me when I was at B.U. My first electric was a Gibson SG that I bought in a pawn shop in Manhattan. Someone had screwed up the wiring but I didn’t know that. It was just very cool looking. After that I got another SG that was much better. After my discovery of Wes I knew I had to have an arch top and I remember drooling over a small Gibson brochure, that included, the Johnny Smith, the Barney Kessel, the L-5 and the ES-175. Pretty soon I found a used ES-175 and I loved it.

Now, I have 2 classical 8-strings made by Steve Connor, a local luthier who is well known among the classical cognoscenti. I also have two very fine electric 8-strings, both made by Wes Lambe of North Carolina.

JGL: What other gear are you using? Do you have a specific stage set-up that works best for you in a variety of musical situations?

FF: I don’t have a lot of gear. I”m currently playing the nylon strings and the electrics through a Henriksen Bud amp which I find remarkable for its clarity and power. I also have a Grace Alix preamp when I need more precise EQ-ing. What I do use, which is unusual, is the “palo” (stick) which is a device that holds the guitar in a near vertical position which for me is ideal and eliminates any weight on the neck or shoulders. It’s designed and made by a friend, Karl Hoyt, who also makes beautiful stringed instruments. I find it a very comfortable way of playing.

JGL: Is there anyone – alive or dead – who you’d love to play and/or record with and why?

That’s a tough one. I think there are just too many musicians I would like or would have liked to play with. Certainly I would love to have played with Bill Evans. I just wonder how nervous I would have gotten.

JGL: Did you know early on that music was something you wanted to do as a career choice and if so, what have you done to make this choice work for you?

FF: I had, when I was about thirteen, what you might call an epiphany. I was sitting in a diner with my father on Long Island, listening to some song on the jukebox when I had the clear and sudden realization that I could write music. At this time I had never even held a guitar though I had started clarinet. It’s a true story though  don’t think anyone will ever make a movie out of it.

I didn’t know that music would be a career till my college years but once I did know I realized that study,  not necessarily at a music school, and hard work were imperative. I also realized the importance of repertoire in getting gigs. In a way I was lucky in that when I was a kid you could still hear so many standards on the radio. When I started getting gigs, like private parties, even if I had never played a lot of the tunes, I had heard them. I knew how they went so I could get by soloing on them using my ears. After the gig I would go home and be sure to learn the tune correctly so I’d be ready the next time. Learning tunes, to my mind is of paramount importance. Each tune teaches you something that you can carry over to the next tune.  And expanding repertoire also expands your ears. When we say that someone has “good ears” very often it simply means that the person is good at recognizing what he has heard before.

JGL: What was your practice routine like when you were beginning and what is it like now? Are there specific areas that you work on or do you just play through tunes?

FF: When I was beginning my practice routine was very much about fundamentals: practicing scales in different places on the fingerboard, learning the intervals that make up a chord and how the scales related to the harmony. And I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t trying to learn a tune. It was a slow process but one that I enjoyed. Later, after moving to L.A. I watched a rehearsal band at the the musician’s union and saw a wonderful guitar player, Billy Fender, reading his tail off. After that reading practice became a daily part of my practice regimen. And owing to the fact that it was my least favorite thing to do, I did it first thing in the morning, mainly to get it over with.

Once I started studying with Van Eps, I practiced his triadic and intervallic material, much of which can be found in his books. I’d come home from each lesson eager to practice and I eagerly looked forward to see what the next lesson had in store.

Much of my practice these days entails what I call “harmonic situations.” That is, I’m on this chord going to that chord. How many ways can I do it? How many ways can I voice the chords, what are the potential moving lines that I might add going from one chord to the next? What harmony can I substitute? Do all the voices have to move at the same time? How can I do it more pianistically as opposed to playing a chord, playing a line, playing a chord etc? This process has taught me to come down with my left hand fingers as they are needed which is the opposite of placing all the fingers down at the same time, something we strive to do when we are first learning. Usually all this will be in the context of working on a tune. This method of going about a tune offers several advantages. First, I never want to be stuck to one way of doing something. I want choices and I want to be able make them on the fly. There is seldom an harmonic situation in one tune that can’t be applied to many others. Secondly, as I said about placing the left hand fingers, one can play more pianistically, which to me is more dimensional. It forces me to think differently. And actually, when I think about it I have to admit that half of my practicing was and still is, just fooling around, maybe picking a tune and blowing on it or trying to come up with something new. That’s my idea of fun.

I will also practice things I need to work on, maybe an arrangement of a tune or maybe practicing tunes that I might have coming up in a gig. Right now I’m rehearsing some very tricky Latin tunes with a very fine pianist, Mike Garvan. It’s a challenge but I’m enjoying it. Also, I have periods where I’m doing more composing than practicing. I go back and forth. A good portion of my CD’s are my compositions. Incidentally, I think it’s a good idea for all musicians to try their hand at composition. It’s very revealing when you have to start with a blank canvas.

JGL: Apart from your studies with Mr. Van Eps, are you basically self-taught or did you study formally at a music school or privately?

FF: Yes, aside from the information I learned George and the others I have mentioned, which is not inconsiderable,  I would say I am basically self-taught. Never attended music school. Ultimately, I think not having gone to music school worked to my benefit in that it made me more musically self-reliant. At least that’s what I tell myself.

JGL: Speaking of studying, do you teach and if so, how can a potential student reach you? Is there a specific student you are looking for?

FF: I do teach and I can be reached at fredfried.com or fredfried@comcast.net or they can message me on Facebook. My favorite students are those with enthusiasm and are willing to put in the time.

JGL: When did you make the switch to the 7 string and what effect did it have on your playing? Was it a struggle at the beginning or did you take to it right away?

FF: I ordered my first 7-string while I was studying with George in L.A. It was from a music store that ordered it from Gretsch and it was about six months before I received it. Unfortunately for me, this was during the time that George packed up and moved away so he never saw it and I never got a 7-string lesson. I don’t remember that I had a hard time adjusting to the low A string. I just gradually incorporated it into what I was doing. And the 7-string, by its very nature made made more aware of bass motion.

I can’t really say I liked the actual guitar. It was kind of clumsy and it had an upside down tuning fork that screwed into the underside of the bridge and was suspended in the body of the guitar. Every time I played an A it would sympathetically resonate which was annoying as hell. Fortunately I found I could remove it.

JGL: Similarly, when did you switch to 8 string and what effect did it have on your playing? Was it a struggle at the beginning or did you take to it right away? What was the attraction to the 8th string?

FF: I switched to 8-string about 15 years ago after a student of mine played for me a Paul Galbraith CD. I think was Bach Partitas and Sonatas. I was astounded, not only by his playing but the sound of that 8-string. It reminded me of a grand piano. The attraction was that, being very harmonically minded I started thinking about the voicings I could achieve without sacrificing the bass. There was a greater range within the span of my hand. For example, with a high A string I could play say, a Dm9th with the 9th (E) on the high A string, 7th fret while still retaining the bass D on my low A string, 5th fret. That’s just one example. But yes, this was more of a struggle then when I first started playing the 7-string. For starters, my high E string was a point of reference. Now things were different and I found myself playing chords on the wrong set of strings. And from the day I received it I never went back to 7. At the time I had a steady gig, a duo with a great sax and flute player, Bruce Abbott. Lucky for me he was very forbearing because my mistakes, coupled with my expletives were not too comforting. Practice-wise, with the high A string I started playing Van Eps exercises such as walking 6ths and 10ths. Gradually things became more natural. 

JGL: From what I can see on your website, you have released twelve albums as a leader or co-leader, and are credited as playing acoustic only. What is it about the acoustic guitar sound – either nylon string or steel string – that makes you choose this particular sound over an electric tone?

FF: I was listening to steel string player and classical players and I just liked the sound. I have nothing against electric guitars. In fact they have a lot going for them as far as projection, lack of feedback etc. I’m actually starting to play my electrics at home and I’m really enjoying them. And in live situations, especially with drums, I have had problems amplifying the nylon string, so I think now that electric is the smarter choice.

JGL: You have been featured in a variety of music settings from solo guitar to large ensembles. Is there a musical situation that you enjoy the most and if so, why?

FF: I enjoy a variety of musical settings though I like the idea of solo, duo (with bass or horn) or trio because for me the small group setting, being more intimate, allows for greater creativity. I also enjoy accompanying singers. There’s a great vocalist, Marcelle Gauvin, who teaches at Berklee, who I have had the pleasure of accompanying many times. In fact, on my latest CD, Core Four and More, Marcelle sings five of my tunes. When she and I perform in a duo situation it can be magical.

JGL: While you are quite skilled in the art of ensemble playing, your “passion” appears to be solo guitar playing which you obviously excel at. What got you into this form of Guitar playing and what are the pros and cons – if any – of such a style?

FF: A few things….I love learning tunes and being able to play them as a pianist would.  Then, to be honest, I think that he feeling that I was always playing catch-up, the feeling of not being good enough, kept me from calling other musicians to get together to play so I practiced a lot, worked on tunes. and kept to myself. For me, solo guitar was more satisfying than practicing single lines though I do that also. Heaven knows they’re not mutually exclusive. And I must say that I was inspired by George’s solo recordings. And I practically wore out Joe Pass’ Virtuoso album. I just found solo jazz guitar an endless source of exploration. I wasn’t a complete hermit however I did have to get out into the real world if I wanted to be a professional musician.

JGL: In a similar vein, how do you approach taking a simple lead sheet of a tune and turning it into a full-blown chord melody?

FF: Great question, and a subject I could go on and on about and one which I could more thoroughly discuss person to person, guitar in hand. But I’ll try.

I first saw the term “chord-melody” in an old Howard Roberts book, Guitar Manual Chord Melody. Now, however,  I’m more comfortable just using the word harmonization. To me, chord-melody implies here’s the melody, here’s the chord.  When I think of the movement of voices under or over a melody, maybe a line under one held melody note, maybe a rhythmic displacement of the chord so it comes before or after the note, maybe harmonizing the melody with an interval in addition whatever chord you’re playing or chord you’re implying- well, the term harmonization just seems more all-encompassing.

Back to the question – first I want to learn the melody and the basic harmony.  A lead sheet is usually more or less accurate though sometimes, if it’s taken from a jazz musician’s recording, as is often the case in the Real Book, the harmony may be altered, sometimes for the better, sometimes not. Also, learning the lyrics, if there are any, is not a bad idea. It helps in getting to the essence of the tune. Hearing different recordings also helps.

After that I have no set way of going about things. If the tune has a pickup measure I might want to harmonize the note so as to musically lead to bar one. I may use a chord or chords or maybe a simple line. Now let’s say the melody at bar one is three or four beats long. I may sound that note and answer it with a chord, a line or maybe an arpeggio without losing that melody note. Even if I play more than one chord in those three or four beats I still want to sustain that note. One of the things I’ve noticed with solo guitar is that often a player will substitute a group of successive chords or arpeggios under what should be a held melody note and because that note is the highest common tone of the progression he will sound that note again with each chord. Now, to the listener this has changed the melody from one note to three or four. It doesn’t even have to be substitute chords. I hear players repeating one chord, just keeping time, and still that melody note recurs because it’s the top note. Think of the tune Misty. It opens with two pickup notes (Bb and G in the key of Eb) and then a held D. The lyrics of the pickup notes are look- at-  and then on bar one the word me, held for three beats. The chord, as written is EbMaj7. The guitarist might play it with the D three times but this would be like a singer singing Look…at….me, me, me. There are various ways around this dilemma. You can play the other notes of the chord, maybe as an arpeggio, while holding the D. Or play a line that implies EbMaj7. Play a bass line that connects to the next chord. It’s very effective in this case to play a D triad over the Eb for two beats and then resolve to the EbMaj7. But how do you do that while the common tone, D, sustains, without hitting the D twice? The simple answer, not just in this instance,  but in general, is to practice lifting the fingers that have to move while keeping down the fingers that don’t. This kind of thing takes practice but it eventually leads to a more pianistic sound.

As I mentioned before, I often won’t bring my fingers down on a chord all at the same time, but as I need them. For the picking hand this can be done with the fingers or with a pick though I have noticed that playing finger style has helped me more in this pianistic approach. I can put one finger down to sound the melody and then I actually have time to musically comment on that note. After time this can be done on the fly. Okay, maybe I should have become a piano player but that’s another lifetime.

As for chord substitution- I will try many different harmonizations. I think one of the reasons I love solo guitar, as well as composition, is the fact that I have many  choices. Sometimes the hard part is deciding which one to go with but being aware of the options allows me to change things up during a performance.  I often leave parts open for improvisation. Once I have a basic framework from which to construct an arrangement many considerations arise: what are the voices that I want on this chord and how are they getting to the next? I’ve got this great harmonization but if I want this melody how do I execute it? With every new arrangement I find that I have to invent some way to achieve what I want to hear.

Esthetically, when it comes to creating a solo arrangement there are a few questions I try to keep in mind: First, does whatever idea I come up with enhance the beauty of the song?  Does it at least not detract from its feeling or essence? Often there are many clever ideas I come up with that might impress other guitarists but don’t do a damn thing for the song so they get thrown out. If I’m being clever and at the same time making a musical contribution to the song, cool.  I don’t want to be clever for clever’s sake. I ask myself if someone has never heard this tune before and heard my rendition would he or she be likely to want to hear it again? Of course, there is a good portion of the listening public that only recognizes vocal music,  but that’s another subject. 

Another thing I strive for, whether I’m playing in or out of time, is the flow. Most good pianists you hear don’t have a problem with the flow or continuity of a tune because they have two independent hands both playing notes, chords, what have you. We, on the other hand, if we’re not tapping, have to use two hands to sound one note or one chord, whatever it is we’re trying to do. I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that in spite of the difficulty I may create for myself or the technical obstacles I have to overcome, it has to sound effortless. I don’t want to have to say, as the joke goes, “Man, you should have heard what I was trying to play.” Whether it’s swing, a ballad, latin or rubato, the time feel should be natural and flowing. It’s got to be musical.

JGL: While developing your art as a solo guitar player, was there one particular artist you listened to more than another and why?

FF: Bill Evans. I find his music compelling, heartfelt and technically brilliant and intriguing. His attention to inner voices and lines, his rhythmic feel and melodic phrasing….well that’s the gold standard for me.

JGL: You have played with a bevy of top-shelf musicians including Perry Como, Jay Leonhart, Art Pepper, Barbara Cook and Helen O’Connell to name just a “few”. What were/are the challenges in garnering a reputation to get to play with such heavy-hitters and are there any take-aways you’d like to share with Jazz Guitar Life readers?

FF: I don’t know. If you’re at something long enough, if enough people get to hear you or hear of you, things eventually come your way.

JGL: Speaking of heavy-hitters, you had the pleasure – I assume – of opening up for Diana Krall, not once but twice, as far as I am aware. How did you get such a most celebrated gig and what was that experience like? Were you playing solo or with a group?

FF: I opened for Diana twice at the Melody Tent on Cape Cod. Both times I played solo and it was quite an experience playing by myself for an audience of about three thousand people through a massive PA system. I got the gig just because one of the execs at the Melody Tent knew me and I guess I had a good reputation.

JGL: You also opened up for Kenny G. who may or may not be a favorite of many Jazz fans. How did that gig come about and what was that experience like? Did you have any expectations – positive or negative – of him before getting the gig and has those expectations changed since?

FF: Whether one likes Kenny G or not, it was just a good gig. I got to play solo in front of another huge crowd. This was at the South Shore Music Circus in Cohasset, Massachusetts. I was called to open for Kenny by one of the execs.

JGL: You were a featured soloist in the Alf Clausen Big Band which sounds to me like a very popular swing band from “back in the day”. Were you also featured on acoustic or did you have to plug in to make yourself heard?

FF: I did that on my Gibson ES-175. This was in L.A. and I hadn’t started played acoustic at the time. It was an honor to be asked by Alf to play in that band which was doing some pretty modern stuff. And for those who don’t know Alf Clausen went on to do the music for The Simpsons for many years.

JGL: I see that you did a duo album with Jazz Guitarist Mitch Seidman. Have you thought about other Guitarists you would like to play duet with and if so, who and why?

FF: It was a lot of fun playing and recording with Mitch. We even got to go to a jazz guitar festival in Germany. He’s terrific. There are too many guitarists I would love to play with so I’ll just leave it at that.

JGL: There seems to be a lot more cats playing 7 and even 8 string Guitar these days. Anyone pop out that we should be also be checking out besides yourself?

FF: On 7-string, there’s the Brazilian guitarist Yamandu Costa whom I have already mentioned. A real virtuoso. Steve Herberman is a friend and great 7-string player as is  Howard Alden. On 8-string, people should check out Tom Lippincott, a wonderful player in Florida. We’ve been in touch though have yet to meet in person. And of course, as I mentioned previously, the great classical guitarist Paul Galbraith.

JGL: You have obviously found your stride in this business and have done quite well and I assume will continue to do so. How difficult did you find it making a living as a jazz guitar player when you were coming up? Any “tips or tricks” you can lay on those interested in doing the same?

FF: I suppose it depends upon where your musical ambitions lie. I’ve had good times and not so good times. All I can say is that persistence is half the battle. Learn all that you can and meet as many people as you can.

JGL: How do you handle the other side of being a working musician – the business side? Do you find the business side of being a Jazz musician something that should be taught in music schools or should the playing be left to the player and the business side of things be left to managers and agents?

FF: It’s not a bad idea, if you’re going to music school to learn about the business side of things. There are a lot of business people who will take advantage of an idealistic musician who feels that all he or she has to do is learn the instrument. It’s best to go in with both eyes open.

JGL: As mentioned, before you found the guitar your original intention was to become a writer. Have you ever had second thoughts about your choice to have music as a career and do you work on writing anymore?

FF: No, I’ve never had second thoughts because as I said, the guitar took over. I’ve never not had a good time playing guitar.

JGL: When you’re not on the band-stand, filming YouTube videos or in the recording studio, what do you like to do to unwind?

FF: I like to cook, getting out on my bike, travelling with my wife Barbara and enjoying our two dogs. And though I don’t write I do enjoy reading. And like I said, I go through phases where I will write songs. Not just the music. I’m pretty good at writing lyrics.

JGL: What does the future hold for Fred Fried?

FF: Who knows? I just hope to keep playing, keep getting better and enjoying the life I’ve been fortunate to live.

JGL: Thank you Fred for taking the time to chat with Jazz Guitar Life. I wish you much success in all your endeavours!

FF: Thank you, Lyle, for the opportunity. And let me wish you congratulations and continued success with Jazz Guitar Life. It’s a great publication and renders quite a service to the jazz  guitar community!

JGL: Thank you Fred 🙂

Please consider spreading the word about Fred and Jazz Guitar Life by sharing this interview amongst your social media pals and please feel free to leave a comment. We would love to hear from you 🙂

2 Comments

    • Soon we’ll all be asking “Would you like Fri’s with that!?” 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and commenting Onam!

      Take care and all the best.

      Lyle – Jazz Guitar Life

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