Mick Goodrick Interview with Jazz Guitar Life

“The guitar fretboard is vexing terrain, unlike the piano finger board which proceeds with relentless logic from the lowest note on the left, to the highest on the right, the fretboard has a geometry all its own. One of the possibilities of the guitar involves endless stumbling into cul-de-sacs, combinations and series of notes easily realized on the piano, simply can’t be done. But there are special possibilities lurking within the maze of treading options, if you’re willing to contort your left hand in wildly improbable ways.”

Mick Goodrick

The name Mick Goodrick should be one that every aspiring jazz guitarist should know instinctively. In this interview with Jazz Guitar Life, Mick talks about his recent CD with Jazz Guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel, his role as an educator to some of the biggest names in contemporary Jazz Guitar and how he plans on busking during the Summer (last Summer) to bring the music to the people. This is definitely a must-read regardless if you know Mick or not. Enjoy!

This interview was conducted by phone in September, 2010.


As a one-man operation, if you would like to support all the work I do on Jazz Guitar Life, please consider buying me a coffee or two. Your support helps me to focus on Jazz Guitar Life so that I can continue to bring you great interviews, reviews, podcasts and other related Jazz Guitar content. Thank you and your patronage is greatly appreciated regardless if you buy me a coffee or not 🙂 – Lyle Robinson


JGL: Welcome to Jazz Guitar Life and thanks for taking the time to talk with me this afternoon.

MG: A pleasure.

JGL: The main reason for this phone call is to talk about your latest CD project with Wolfgang Muthspiel. So maybe we can talk about that first and then if we have time, talk a little about you?

MG: Sure.

JGL: Cool. Ok…so let’s start off with a little introduction about you and Wolfgang.  From what I’ve read in the past, you have been playing with Wolfgang for at least a few years?

MG: Actually, I think it’s safe to say that the amount of time I have spent playing with Wolfgang has been the most that I have ever played with another guitar player.

JGL: Nice! And actually prior to your “partnering” up with Wolfgang, you had been his teacher at The New England Conservatory and at Berklee?

MG: Just New England. After Wolfgang went through New England, he ended up going to Berklee, which was before I returned to Berklee in 1996.

JGL: Are you still there?

MG: Oh yes…

JGL: Because you did teach there in 70’s before teaching privately?

MG: After I graduated in ’67, I taught there for four years and at that time hooked up with Gary Burton. Then I stopped teaching at Berklee and started teaching at the New England Conservatory part-time.

JGL: Actually, I had first become aware of you through your association with Gary Burton via the “new Quartet” album. I had obviously known Gary prior to that album going back to his work with Hank Garland, and then of course Gary’s wonderful knack for bringing new, young guitarists on board like Larry Coryell, Jerry Hahn…

MG: That’s right! Absolutely. You know, we just had this thing last April at the Performance Center celebrating Gary’s 50th year of being involved with Berklee. We had this big concert with the New Quartet with Gary, and me and Abe (Laboriel – bass) and Harry ( Blazer – drums). In fact I hadn’t seen Harry in 39 years! Sco (John Scofield) came by and played with Joe Lavano, Tiger Okoshi was there. Gary’s new group was there with Julian Lage, who I taught for two years and then Chick (Corea) came out and they played duo. It was just an incredible concert.

I also had the chance to sit down and talk with Scofield for the first time in about twenty years, beyond 15 seconds at an airport. We actually went down the list and tried to name all the guitar players that had played in Gary’s band and we came up with a list of nine.

JGL: Wow…actually I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s even more. Let’s see, there was you and Pat (Metheny)…

MG: The list went something like this: Larry Coryell first, then Sam Brown, Jerry Hahn, I think I was fourth, Pat was fifth, Sco was sixth, then there was Kurt Rosenwinkle, Wolfgang and then Julian. So that makes nine I believe.

JGL: Cool. Let’s get back to you and Wolfgang. So originally there was the teacher/student relationship, and then later on Wolfgang came into his own as a peer with Gary and then eventually as a leader of his own groups. How did you both come to play together as a duo?

MG: Well, Wolfgang set up a bunch of local gigs when he was living here and we found that we had a really good chemistry immediately, and we continued to do it. He booked some gigs in Austria, where he’s from, along with a trio recording with Wolfgang, myself and David Leibman (saxophonist). So it’s basically been on ongoing thing.

JGL: But you hadn’t recorded anything as a duo until this new CD?

MG: We did one tune together, a version of “Falling Grace”, about ten years ago that went on a compilation of Wolfgang’s called Work In Progress. Which was a collection of different things he had done on several albums and there’s that really nice version of “Falling Grace”.

JGL: So what prompted you both to put this new CD out?

MG: Wolfgang felt that it was something he valued highly amongst all his recording situations and he which he wanted to document. And it was something that I was certainly happy to do.

JGL: Very nice! Well Mick, I gotta tell you, the CD is quite different than what I was expecting…

MG: What did you expect…?

JGL: Well, here’s the problem. The only recording I have of you, apart from the stuff you played on with Gary, is your Bio-Rhythm’s CD which is in a different bag altogether. So, not having any other Goodrick recorded references to listen to, I wasn’t sure how you would fit in with another guitar player. Now, I know you played in a duo setting with the great Joe Diorio, and I had heard some things from that album titled Rare Birds, on YouTube but that was a very traditional sounding guitar duo situation of setting up the head, one guy comping while the other blows over the changes and what not. So basically that’s what I was expecting. But with the new CD, there’s much more of an, to use a much-used phrase these days, organic chemistry between you and Wolfgang, where at times, both you and Wolfgang almost sound like one voice.

MG: “Organic chemistry”…I like that phrase…you can use it!

JGL: Cool! Basically what I’m trying to say is that it’s not your typical guitar duo. There seems to be more freedom…

MG: Absolutely!!

JGL: Is that how it’s always been with you both?

MG: No! And in fact, I can remember exactly where it happened. We were doing a clinic in Grass, Austria, which is where Wolfgang is from originally, and we were just talking to about 12 guitarists in their late teens, early twenties. And after answering a bunch of questions, it was time for us to play. So we picked up our guitars and began playing “I Hear A Rhapsody”. I began by playing the melody and he started comping behind me. As I started my solo, four bars into it, Wolfgang stats soloing as well based on the melodic and rhythmic ideas I was playing. And I was like “oh…ok…if he wants to solo I’ll comp a little bit”…but then after he played that phrase, he went back to playing a bass line. And then we just started having a conversation that way, and that was the first time it happened. It was so cool that it became a mode of playing that we did and I’m hoping that it gains momentum in the future. That it becomes kind of a standard procedure, especially in duo settings.

JGL: That would be cool. I think though, that a concept like that would need to be in the hands of those “out of the box” guitar players…

MG: And not just guitar players, but other instrumentalists as well. As an example, are you familiar with Gerry Bergonzi the saxophone player? He’s in the Boston area and I’ve done a lot of recordings with him.

JGL: Yes, of course…

MG: One of the things I used to do when I used to play with him was to encourage him to play a background behind me, to comp for me, even though it was a quartet with bass and drums. Because he’s one of the few people that I know who can really do that kind of thing well. A lot of the younger players never really got to learn how to do that. The kind of specific playing that “Wolfie” and I are doing will hopefully carry over so that other players will say “yeah, if you’re a horn player, you don’t just solo and then go to the bar and have a drink.” You can participate in playing some kind of a background. We kind of look at it as hopefully some kind of contribution, a gesture of how improvisers can get into this kind of organic chemistry sort of thing as you say.

JGL: Let’s hope. Now, just out of curiosity, and I’m only going by what I have read, Wolfgang, back in the day, was coming out of the Metheny school of playing and had yet to find his own voice until your tutelage, which helped him find his own voice.

MG: True!

JGL: And since you taught Pat, and you taught Mike Stern…

MG: I didn’t teach Pat…

JGL: Oh you didn’t? Well, you certainly influenced him perhaps? At least that’s what I have read…

MG: Probably. But he’s also been influenced by Steve Swallow and others too. Mike Stern took maybe three lessons with me and we talked about Psychology mostly. Scofield took maybe two or three lessons and we talked about music and stuff. He would come ask, “these are the things I need to know like modes and stuff like that” and I would say “yeah”, and he would say “ok”. And that was that.

A rumor got started decades ago, someone in France started this thing that I taught Pat Metheny, which is not true. When we first heard Pat, he was like sixteen or seventeen and was already playing his ass off and possibly influenced somewhat by me.

JGL: I can imagine. At that age he was probably a sponge just soaking up everything he could hear and grasp.

MG: Absolutely!

JGL: Speaking of Pat Metheny and yourself, there was an old Guitar Player issue around 1975 or ’76…

MG: Neil kletzer?? That article??

JGL: Yes! Exactly!  Well, it was a great article and I’m going to quote you here, and actually, it’s a funny quote. The interviewer had asked you and Pat both about your individual methods of teaching, and you responded, “Probably the essential idea of my method, if I have one, is to try to get people to quit”. LOL…

MG: LOL…That’s right! I had forgotten about that.

JGL: Now obviously that was said “tongue in cheek”?

MG: Yeah…definitely tongue in cheek.

JGL: That didn’t come out of nowhere though, was there something behind those words, and do you still ascribe to that notion?

MG: It’s kind of still part of the way I teach, although my teaching has changed quite a bit since 1975, but there still is that element. The positive side is this, instead of saying “I’m trying to get my students to quit”, it’s, I’m trying to get my students to a point where they see what they need to do and they don’t need me anymore. So that they see their own vision and have begun proceeding along that path.

The negative side of it is, and I say this to all my students, “do you know that this is a lousy career choice”…LOL…and if you can do something else, like if you have computer skills or whatever, then maybe you could be looking into that. There’s a great saying, “don’t become a musician because you want to become a musician, become a musician because you HAVE to become a musician!” It’s got to be more like a vocation.

JGL: I totally agree with that and they are definitely words to live by! Getting back to the CD for a second, how is it doing review wise? Surprisingly, I actually don’t read reviews that much so I haven’t seen if there’s been any good or bad press.

MG: Wolfie sent me two reviews, both of which were very positive. And that’s all that I got so far. It’s one of those things where he’s not so sure if he can sell a whole lot, but we both have a very good feel about the way the music came out and it’s been something that has been very important for both of us.

JGL: Will there be a follow up?

MG: I don’t know. I’ve been in semi-retirement mode in terms of performing for the past five years. Actually, five years ago I played the Montreal Festival with Pat which produced some nice duo playing some of which you can find on YouTube.

JGL: Yes…unfortunately I had missed that show and had wondered if there would ever be a reunion with you all again from the Burton era?

MG: No. But I did get a chance to see the Quartet Reunion with Gary, Pat, Steve and Antonio Sanchez on drums last year in Boston. I was there teaching so I had a chance to see it and it was incredible…

JGL: I saw that same show in Montreal at the Jazz Festival here and I loved it!

MG: Yeah! And it was all the same tunes that I used to play with them.

JGL: Exactly!

MG: It’s funny, after the concert I went backstage, said hello to them, hugged them and all that, and then jokingly said “Guys…not to put too fine a point on this, but, don’t you think it’s time you moved on with your lives!” LOL..

JGL: LOL…Yeah…stop living in the past…that’s too funny…lol…

MG: Yeah, they all got a kick out of it!

JGL: So no “Ring” reunion I guess?

MG: No. Part of it is that people know that I don’t fly anymore, so that kind of makes that next to impossible. Fortunately, the reunion concert was right here so I was able to see it. But if you want Mick you gotta come to Boston or pick me up in a car or limousine.

So I’ve just not played much. I did the Montreal 2005 Jazz Festival with Pat, and the occasional local gig, but not that much. I also did a couple of things here at Berklee with Pat in duos and then I did one with Wolfgang also, and then we did the recording in New York a couple of years ago. And then just this last April a show at the Performance center. So that’s been my whole thing for the last five years.

JGL: So you just decided to stop gigging? It seems, and correct me if I’m wrong, your whole career has been a nice balance, at least to me anyway, between teaching and performing. Do you feel that this balance has been a detriment to your commercial success as a player?

MG: No. I think I have achieved a balance. I mean it kind of changes between the proportions of playing and teaching from time to time but I’ve never really been concerned about commercial success. I think that both of them help each other.

JGL:  Sure. And I imagine you eke out a decent living none-the-less?

MG: Now I do, but I didn’t for a long time and it was like if you five dollars more then you need you’re wealthy. And that’s what it was like for twenty five or thirty years or so. Now fortunately I am making a nice income.

JGL: Is this the reason you may advise new students to possibly think of other career choices?

MG: I want them to be aware of that sure, but it’s also a humor tactic, it’s part of the style I have developed. Fortunately, most of the students I get are already high level players and already very dedicated, so the chances are good that they might have some success. Still, it’s good for them to realize that this is not going to be a downhill slide. You have to be very dedicated and you have to be very lucky.

JGL: So true. I interviewed a past student of yours who you may or may not remember, Russ DeFillipis?

MG: Actually, I do remember him.

JGL: Cool. Well he had taken lessons from William Leavitt, Mark French and yourself and he said when he came to a lesson one day he had asked you about how to comp using bass notes and chords like a piano player and your response was “guide tones” and then you sent him on his way…lol!

MG: Wow…

JGL: Which made me think, upon looking over your Advancing Guitarist instructional book, that you have the great ability to actually have the student teach themselves rather than you holding their hand so to speak.

MG: Yes!

JGL: Obviously, you apply a guide-line or schematic as it were. Could you expand on this a little?

MG: I guess a simple way to put it, in terms of teaching styles, and I have gone through many different teaching styles. Actually this Summer I will be celebrating my 50th year as a guitar teacher…

JGL: Nice!

MG: So I would say, in terms of describing my style of teaching and my approach, I’m the kind of guitar teacher that can be useful for the kind of student who doesn’t need a teacher. I can be really, really helpful, I can be a really good source of show and tell. Like “here’s something you maybe don’t know, so I’ll show it to you and then you do something with it and tell me what you can do with it so maybe I can learn something from you as well.” So I like to keep it really reciprocal that way which I find works best for both the student and myself.

JGL: And I’m sure that this has been a factor between you and Wolfgang…

MG: Oh yeah! One of the things why we are so comfortable is because we play together so much and he’s really intimate with what I’ve done and I have gotten very used to seeing what he’s done with it. Have you seen the quote that Steve Swallow gave in the liner notes of the album?

JGL: No, unfortunately I don’t have a hard copy of the CD yet…it’s in the mail I believe.

MG: I have it here. Swallow wrote this beautiful quote…he’s so smart! “Mick Goodrick and Wolfgang Muthspiel have given us a map of the world of guitar. The guitar fretboard is vexing terrain, unlike the piano finger board which proceeds with relentless logic from the lowest note on the left, to the highest on the right, the fretboard has a geometry all its own. One of the possibilities of the guitar involves endless stumbling into cul-de-sacs, combinations and series of notes easily realized on the piano, simply can’t be done. But there are special possibilities lurking within the maze of treading options, if you’re willing to contort your left hand in wildly improbable ways. This recording presents us with the most advanced research into unique possibilities hiding in plain sight on the guitar’s neck. Nobody has confronted this instrument as fearlessly and doggedly as Mick, and nobody has run with what Mick has learned and taught, better than Wolfgang. It’s clear that they enjoy each other greatly and this joy radiates from the music they make. They’ve taken what they know with them onto the bandstand and then fortunately just let it rip. What results is music for four hands of the highest order.”

JGL: Nice! That’s something you want to frame!

MG: Yeah!

JGL: Before going into the studio, were the tunes worked out in advance? Did you both have specific arrangements of a particular tune you wanted to bring in to the session either as a duo or something worked on specifically for this project?

MG: We just talked about what tunes we were going to play. Most of the tunes were tunes that we had played before. The Bill Frisell piece was something that we had played, and actually we did a recording of that tune with Liebman on the “Same Breath” album.

JGL: I’ll have to get that album!

MG: Good luck. That album is hard to get. Most of my stuff is hard to get. It seems like every time I do a recording, the company goes under or gets bought out by Walgreens or something like that.

JGL: That’s unfortunate. As mentioned I don’t have the liner notes for the CD so, apart from the Frisell and Swallow tune, I don’t know who wrote what?

MG: We did some on the spot free pieces

JGL: And the standards that you both chose should obviously be in every guitar player’s repertoire…

MG: Yeah, hopefully!

JGL:  How did the three standards – “Stella By Starlight”, “Darn That Dream” and “All The Things You Are” – get thrown in the mix? Did you have a game plan or did you both just call tunes?

MG: Well, first off I have to say that Wolfie plays a beautiful intro to “All The Things” which sounds like Keith (Jarret). As for what we had planned, I can’t remember. We did the recording in two sets and before each set we would talk about what tunes we would do in that set…I think…

JGL: Now, this may seem like a silly question, but since this album was recorded live in front of an audience at The Jazz Standard, why do I not hear any audience applause after each tune? Was this a conscious choice to cut out the audience noise?

MG: I’m not sure. I’d just be guessing but because the way in which it we recorded, we recorded direct so it wouldn’t pick up the audience. That way it makes it so that you have the advantage of a live audience but not the disadvantage of any outside sound and all that.

JGL: Cool. That way the listener is not distracted by people chatting or glasses clinking!

MG: Exactly.

JGL: To go way off topic for a second, and while I am remembering this, the first time I hear you, as I mentioned earlier, was with Gary on the “New Quartet” album, and one of things that mad my ears perk up was the fact that when it came to time for your solo, you used a wah-wah pedal throughout the solo section and it was the warmest tone I ever heard come out of a wah pedal. It fit so nicely with the tune.

MG: Really!? Wow, I completely forgot about that, which is not surprising since I don’t even have the album…actually, I don’t even remember soloing on the tune…

JGL: Well you did…lol!

MG: Lol…I guess so…

JGL: I can get you a copy of the album if you’d like?

MG: Thanks, but I’m sure I can get one.

JGL: Lol…yeah, probably…lol…Do you and Gary still keep in touch?

MG: Not so much. I mean, the last little thing we did here was the most contact we had in a while. But when he was the vice president of whatever it was that he did at school, we would often run into each other in the elevator, and we would talk about his new band and Jules (Julian Lage)  his new guitar player particularly.

JGL: Yeah! I really like Julian!

MG: He’s great!

JGL: Agreed! He such a fresh player and I have no doubt that the Jazz Guitar lineage will be greatly extended because of him.

MG: Absolutely! I’ll pass that on to him because I am having lunch with him tomorrow.

JGL: Please do!

MG: Will do.

JGL: So are you both having lunch as friends or is there a new project in the works?

MG: Just friends. I happen to run into him, actually he just a few blocks away from me and he had just gotten back from playing in Israel with Gary’s band so we figured we should take advantage of the time he will be here and have lunch.

JGL: Cool. I’ve never been to Boston and it must be just an amazing place for musicians and guitar players.

MG: It is.

JGL: I did an interview with Joe Beck before he passed and we talked about the New York scene in the 70’s when he was coming up in the studios and stuff  and I kind of feel that that was the best era for guitar players coming up in the late 60’s and 70’s.

MG: It was pretty damn good, it really was..LOL…

JGL: I can imagine…

MG: It’s a really good time now as well, but that was a wonderful time.

JGL: It seemed like guitar was getting to spread its wings in all genres, but especially in jazz and the fusion thing.

MG: The whole Jazz Rock Fusion kind of thing which was during that time period of the late 60’s into the 70’s.  It was very happening!

JGL: When you were a kid, and I won’t get too much into your background, you used to mimic playing guitar in front of a mirror with a tennis racket as a guitar, but surprisingly, you were mimicking Elvis Presley and not Scotty Moore (Elvis’ Guitar Player)!

MG: LOL…Nope, it was definitely Elvis. You just wanted to play guitar because Elvis had one. Then when I finally got on, I forgot completely about Elvis. Fast forward fifty years or so and, well, you know…lol…

JGL:  You mentioned earlier that it is a good time for guitar players presently. Could you expand on that a little and are there any guitar players out there that you see coming up whom we should all be checking out?

MG: Well… just a couple of people who I really like. I have an incredible amount of respect for Wayne Krantz, even though he’s a little outside of the typical jazz guitar mode, I love what he’s doing! Wolfgang is my main man, particularly coming from the European kind of school although he’s got the American thing down pat!

There’s also a guitarist named Tim Miller who is just a wonderful young player. Jules of course is incredible. There’s also a guy I’ve spent some time with by the name of Lionel Louke, who is such a great player and a warm and humble person, he’s really something. There’s a young guitarist named Brian Baker who is really a hot player. There’s this kid from Brazil by the name of Italo Cunha who is about 18 or 19 and is just amazing.

There’s also a few of the undergrads here at Berklee, the second tier so to speak, who I won’t mention right at the moment. Let’s give them a few years to see what kind of mark they make first.

So there are a few names.

JGL:  Very cool. I’ll be sure to keep a look out for those up and comers. So, I just have one or two more questions before we wrap it up Mick and I really do appreciate you taking the time to be with Jazz Guitar Life.

MG: Not a problem, I’m enjoying this…

JGL: Cool. First off, let me start off by saying that you, the late, great pianist and educator Charlie Banacas, and the also late Denis Sandole from Philadelphia have been some of THE most talked educators on your respective instruments as far back as I can remember and it seems like you all really, really enjoyed, and in your case, enjoy teaching as an art form and not just a way to make some extra cash between gigs. I for one, thank you for your dedication and commitment to past, present and future generations of jazz guitar players. How did this dedication to teaching as an art form come to pass?

MG: That’s a really good question, and in some ways I’m probably the last person to be able to answer that. I do definitely enjoy teaching guitar and have for the last fifty years and it’s been growing in the last ten years where it has even been surprising me and I’ve continued to improve at it which is also wonderful. I think maybe part of it is that I don’t have a family, I don’t have any children or grandchildren at this point, and so to whatever extent there may be emotional issues just in terms of relating to people, this seems to be a way that works really well for me to feed that need. And it’s something that I’m good at, and as I said, I’m getting better at it. Charlie had a thing where he felt like every student was his favorite student and while I’m not there yet, I’m moving in that direction.

JGL: As we are running out of time, let me ask you what’s coming up for you short term, since you are now semi-retired and what’s on the agenda for the next twenty years?

MG: Just to clarify, I’m semi-retired from performing only. I’m teaching full time here at Berklee, and actually for the first time I taught in the summer. Since my return to Berklee about twelve years ago, or thereabouts, I only taught the fall and spring semesters and would take summers off. But, I decided to teach the twelve week course in the summer and I love that as well and I’m planning to do that as long as I can, at least for the next five years and hopefully longer.

I’m now moving more in the direction spending some time doing water colors and learning how to draw. I’ve been doing that for little over a year now, going to meetings where you do life drawings and I’ve bought a whole bunch of stuff like easels, water colors, educational books and so on, so I’m moving in that direction. Tony Bennet has been involved in making art for many years now and so I’m just discovering that myself. So that will probably be a big part of my life.

In terms of performing, you know, it’s like, if you come to Boston, we’ll talk about it…lol…we’re trying to set something up, maybe next April(2011), to get the “Noisy Old Men” band together but we can’t get Swallow. Abercrombie is doing something with his trio in New Hampshire with Adam Nusbaum and that young organ player, and maybe if they can swing by we’ll do a gig in Boston. So there will hopefully be a few little things like that that I will do in terms of performing.

And here’s something kind of weird that I’m thinking about. I was gonna do it this summer but I think I’ll wait until next year. I think I’m gonna maybe play the subway in Boston or play in the streets. I’ve got all the equipment, you know, those little battery operated amplifiers, and loop stations that are run by batteries. Because I had a student this summer (2010) playing the Boston Commons pretty much every day, and a close friend of mine plays the subway. I’m thinking of getting a disguise for myself like some character from the Pirates of the Caribbean…lol…I do already have an eye patch…lol…

So that’s a possible project for me next year (2011).

JGL: That would be pretty incredible!

MG: Yeah! It’ s something I haven’t done which is play by myself totally. The duo thing I’ve done that pretty well I think, with the recordings with Joe (Diroro), Pat and now Wolfgang, so this is sort of the final frontier.

JGL: Kind of whittling down your playing situations from quintet, to quartet, to trio, to duo, and now to just you. And more importantly, you will be bringing the music to the people.

MG: Yeah! That should be interesting to see. I’ve mentioned it to friends, some of them new, some of them old, and they’re like “Oh when are you going to do that. Let me know and I’ll check it out”.  There are some who even want to play along with me…

JGL: Well, Bruce Forman goes on these little jaunts called Cow Bop’in and they’ll just get in the car, drive to a place, set up and play and basically just pass the hat.

MG: Wow! That’s very 70’s.

JGL:  Definitely. So, in this solo context, would you be playing standards, or would you play more esoteric forms of music?

MG: So far I have a loop station and I have programmed eight or ten standard tunes in it. Some of the tunes I’ve played with Gary and others are just traditional standard tunes. I think if I took a whole year to prepare I could do my original pieces which people might not know. So, primarily the standards thing but there could be some other stuff too.

JGL: And, you could probably make some decent cash…

MG: So I’ve heard, but that’s not the reason why I would be doing this though. Actually, when Pat was living in Cambridge, we used to get together for lunch and we did talk about playing duo in Harvard Square to the extent where Pat was thinking about renting miniature Ryder trucks and small amps and all…lol…I doubt we could do that now of course.

JGL: You’d really draw a huge crowd and city officials would most likely shut you down.

MG: True…lol…

JGL: Okay…one last question. The educational materials you have on your website, which unfortunately, is temporarily out of stock, are those materials going to be available any time soon?

MG: I don’t really know at this point. It’s just kind of on a holding pattern right now.

JGL: Is it under your control or under a publisher’s control?

MG: That’s kind of why it’s on a holding pattern right now. Those things are yet to be determined. I’m actually in the process of having Berklee Press do a new book that Tim Miller, the guitar player I mentioned earlier, and I have been working on for the past four years. So that will hopefully be coming out in six months or a year. I also have a new rhythm book that I’m also probably going to have Berklee Press do, and I also have variations on “Falling Grace” which I have been working on. So there is new stuff coming out and more than likely through Berklee Press.

JGL: As a final thought, your series on voice leading is a huge undertaking the likes of which hasn’t really been seen since Ted Greene.

MG: It’s taken about seven or eight years and is still ongoing because I’m always cranking out new stuff.

JGL: Where did you come up with the focus for such a huge effort? There must have been hundreds of hours breaking things down almost mathematically and then resuscitating the results into all kinds of configurations.

MG: That’s part of my relationship to music. It’s not surprising that my father was an accountant, so the mathematical approach is kind of in my genes, and I just love that stuff. Also, when I started generating the material it was so cool, and I started thinking, a lot of people are not able to do this and I am able to do this, so let me have this be my contribution. In other words, at some point you realize, like the Dali Lama states, “people should try and help each other and if you can’t help each other, at least don’t hurt anybody”. So my wanting to contribute, that’s where it came from.

JGL: It’s like the “paying it forward” vibe that became a buzz-word a few years ago.

MG: Wow! It’s amazing that you should say that, because I just picked out that movie to lend to my friend David, and I brought it to my office today that exact movie!

JGL: Very cool! Well thank you so very much Mick for taking your time today to speak with Jazz Guitar Life.

MG: Yeah! I enjoyed it!

JGL: As did I…:) Take care and keep well.

MG: You as well.

Please consider spreading the word about Mick 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 🙂

If you would like to support all the work I do on Jazz Guitar Life, please consider buying me a coffee or visiting the Jazz Guitar Life sponsors. Thank you and your patronage is greatly appreciated regardless if you buy me a coffee or not 🙂

About Lyle Robinson 347 Articles
Lyle Robinson is the owner/creator/publisher and editor of Jazz Guitar Life, an online magazine dedicated to the Jazz Guitar and its community of fine players worldwide.


  1. INCREDIBLE article…I met mick and lived in the same neighborhood as him when I lived near the berklee area on Peterborough…super-nice guy..i even studied with one of his students named randy roos (mick was already overloaded with students at the time at NEC)…thanks SOOO much for posting this, it takes me down memory lane in such a good way!

    • Thank you so much for the kind words Wayne…greatly appreciated! Glad I could help you down memory lane a bit! Take care and all the best 🙂

      Jazz Guitar Life

  2. Hi Charles and thank you so much for your kind words. I’m glad that you enjoyed the interview and it was enjoyable for me as well. Mick is a great thinker and of course, player as well.

    Thanks again and take care.

    Lyle – Jazz Guitar Life

5 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Ben Monder Interview With Jazz Guitar Life – Jazz Guitar Life
  2. Charles Edwards
  3. Mick Goodrick RIP – 1945-2022 – Jazz Guitar Life
  4. Christopher Morrison: 5 Desert Island Picks – Jazz Guitar Life – Jazz Guitar Life
  5. The Bebop Buddha Speaks Out! Chris Morrison Interview with Jazz Guitar Life – Jazz Guitar Life

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.