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Gene Santoro

Gene Santoro

Gene Santoro is the author of several books, including Highway 61 Revisited, Myself When I Am Real: The Life and Music of Charles Mingus (finalist for the 2001 Ralph J. Gleason Awards as well as the 2001 Jazz Journalists Association Awards), Dancing in Your Head and Stir It Up.

He co-authored and edited The Guitar: The History, The Music, The Players. His essays have also appeared in numerous collections, such as The Miles Davis Reader, The Show I’ll Never Forget, Best Music Writing of 2004, American Rebels, The Thelonious Monk Reader, The B.B. King Companion, The Jimi Hendrix Companion, Mass Culture and Everyday Life, and The Oxford Companion to Jazz.

He writes about music for the New York Daily News and is a columnist at Chamber Music. He has been a columnist at The Nation, 7 Days, Taxi, and Pulse!, and has written for The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, The Washington Post, New York Post, New Yorker, New York, Time, People, The Village Voice, Spin, Pulse!, Rolling Stone, Down Beat, Musician, Guitar Player, Discover, and Business 2.0, among others.

His first serious gig writing about music was as Senior Editor at Guitar World, where he interviewed legendary pickers like Keith Richards, Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy, Lonnie Mack, Ron Wood, Link Wray, Brian Setzer, and Leslie West; wrote 85% of a hugely successful special issue devoted to Jimi Hendrix; and authored "Wax Museum" columns about the music, techniques, and discographies of stellar historical pickers like Eddie Lang, Charlie Christian, James Burton, and Mickey Baker. As an editor-writer at Pulse!, he interviewed dozens of musical greats like Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins, the Neville Brothers, the Rolling Stones, Keith Jarrett, Dwight Yoakam, the Blasters, Los Lobos, k.d. lang, and Astor Piazzolla.

His work has been translated into German, Japanese, Brazilian, Spanish, Italian, and French. He started playing guitar when he was eight, and his career highlights include the chance to jam with childhood idols like Keith Richards.

List of articles in the library by artist

Carlos Alomar, David Bowie: Carlos Alomar: Hard Driving Anchor Man For The David Bowie Show

Profile and Interview by Gene Santoro, Guitar World, January 1984

IMAGINE THE fairy-tale scene this way, since this is how it actually happened: It is 1973, the setting is RCA's recording studios in New York ...

Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, The Yardbirds: Jimmy Page: Of Yardbirds And The Shapes of Things to Come

Interview by Gene Santoro, Guitar World, July 1986

For a short time in the late sixties, Page and Beck were in one of the most happening bands to ever come out of England. Some say ...

Adrian Belew: Belew's Menagerie

Interview by Gene Santoro, Guitar World, March 1987

Inside the fertile mind of ADRIAN BELEW, master of sound mixology. ...

Bill Frisell Quartet: Look Out For Hope (ECM)

Review by Gene Santoro, Spin, May 1988

BILL FRISELL IS the Clark Kent of the electric guitar. Soft-spoken and self-effacing in conversation, he apparently breathes in lungfuls of raw fire when he ...

Don Byron: Of Romance and History

Essay by Gene Santoro, Chamber Music, February 2000

PUT ON Romance With The Unseen (Blue Note 7243 4 99545 2 6), the latest CD by clarinetist Don Byron, and you're stepping into dialogues ...

Larry Carlton: Mellow Madness

Interview by Gene Santoro, Guitar World, November 1986

LARRY CARLTON could sit on his laurels, coasting on his rep from countless albums and sessions. But he keeps pushing himself — and his guitar — to higher spaces. ...

Clifton Chenier, Lightnin' Hopkins, Mance Lipscomb: Arhoolie Records: Do-It-Yourself Library Of Congress

Interview by Gene Santoro, Pulse!, February 1987

Arhoolie Records' Chris Strachwitz is Still Finding Great Music in Out-of-the-Way Places ...

Chet Baker

Book Excerpt by Gene Santoro, 'Highway 61 Revisited...', 2004

IT'S EASY TO rephrase Tolstoy's opening to Anna Karenina so it describes junkies, who all share an essential plotline: Who and how to hustle in ...

Chic, Nile Rodgers: Nile Rodgers of Chic: '80s Funk with 60s Roots

Interview by Gene Santoro, Guitar Player, November 1984

GUITARISTS SINCE Charlie Christian have spent a lot of time and effort trying to play guitar like a horn. Nile Rodgers does it differently; he ...

Ornette Coleman: This Maverick of Modern Jazz Doesn't Like to Be Pigeonholed

Interview by Gene Santoro, Pulse!, November 1986

MOST OF THE other horn-wielding giants who shook the foundations of jazz a generation ago — Coltrane, Dolphy, Ayler — are gone now. But Ornette ...

Albert Collins Puts The Blues On The Map

Interview by Gene Santoro, Guitar World, November 1987

THE MASTER of the Telecaster. The Ice Man. The Houston Twister. The Razor Blade. Those are just a sampling of the titles that have hung ...

The Dixie Hummingbirds: Jerry Zolten: Great God a'Mighty! The Dixie Hummingbirds – Celebrating the Rise of Soul Gospel Music

Book Review by Gene Santoro, New York Times Book Review, The, February 2003

THE ''GOSPEL HIGHWAY,'' the church-based circuit toured by black preachers and religious entertainers, was paved largely by segregation, but it also meant to bypass the ...

The Firesign Theatre

Book Excerpt by Gene Santoro, 'Highway 61 Revisited...', 2004

IN THE LATE 1960s, millions of us walked around with alternate visions of reality dancing in our heads. No, it wasn't just drugs and the ...

Bill Frisell: Blues Dream (Nonesuch)

Review by Gene Santoro, Chamber Music, June 2001

WITH BLUES DREAM (Nonesuch), an album that interprets the blues as the foundation for jazz, bluegrass, Thelonious Monk, soul, Western Swing, heavy metal, and other ...

Danny Gatton: Picking Danny Gatton's Brain

Interview by Gene Santoro, Musician, February 1991

Some of the tricks that make the world's greatest unknown guitarist great ...

Grateful Dead: The Grateful Dead

Book Excerpt by Gene Santoro, 'Highway 61 Revisited...', 2004

"Frenesi took her hand away from Flash's and they all got back to business, the past, a skip tracer with an obsessional gleam in its ...

Woody Guthrie

Book Excerpt by Gene Santoro, 'Highway 61 Revisited...', 2004

ON APRIL 16, 1944, a slight, wiry-haired man with a guitar and harmonica wandered into Moe Asch's little recording studio on West 46 Street off ...

Charlie Haden, Lee Konitz: Questioning Cool, Chamber, & Third Stream: Lee Konitz, Charlie Haden, and Brad Mehldau

Comment by Gene Santoro, Chamber Music, April 2000

FOR THE LAST TWO columns, we've ridden in the Wayback Machine to peer into how jazz has in practice been a kind of chamber music ...

Richard Hell, Robert Quine, Lou Reed: Robert Quine: New York's Reverent Iconoclast

Interview by Gene Santoro, Guitar Player, January 1986

"YOU'VE GOT to hear this," insists Robert Quine, as he finds what he's looking for on a wall full of shelves sprouting thousands of records. ...

Jimi Hendrix: Alan Douglas Builds A Castle Made of Sand

Interview by Gene Santoro, Guitar World, September 1985

The record producer had Jimi's ear just before the end. Now he's re-packaging it for the masses. As Told To Gene Santoro ...

Dave Holland: Bass Is the Place: Dave Holland and the Jazz Bass

Retrospective by Gene Santoro, Chamber Music, December 2001

NOT FOR NOTHIN' (ECM) is bassist Dave Holland's latest CD, and the laconic title could sum up the man himself, his instrument's history, and the ...

Jerry Jemmott: Session Bassist — The Groovemaster: Jerry Jemmott

Interview by Gene Santoro, Guitar Player, May 1984

WHILE HIS name may not ring any bells, you've heard his bass before, setting the groove for Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, Wilson Pickett, Roberta Flack, ...

Jimi Hendrix: Eddie Kramer: The Wizard Of Woof-Woof

Interview by Gene Santoro, Guitar World, September 1985

If Jimi wanted to hear guitar played underwater, Eddie Kramer would turn on the faucet — and get it all down on tape. As told to Gene ...

Jimi Hendrix: James Marshall Hendrix: Undisputed Master of the Electric Guitar

Interview by Gene Santoro, Guitar World, September 1985

Every guitarist today — from Coryell to Steve Stevens — has been marked by the stamp of Purple Haze genius. Sixteen axmen explain Hendrix' influence in their ...

Grace Jones: Inside Grace Jones

Interview by Gene Santoro, Pulse!, February 1987

A Story About Film, Fashion and Fresh New Sounds ...

Bill Laswell, Material: No Barriers. Tags. Frontiers. Trends. Jean Karakos' Celluloid Label Is Truly Independent

Interview by Gene Santoro, Pulse!, May 1987

SMALL RECORD labels usually concentrate on one particular musical style, or a related set of styles. Not Celluloid Records, which has sought from the beginning ...

Louis Armstrong

Book Excerpt by Gene Santoro, 'Highway 61 Revisited...', 2004

FROM 1925 TO 1928, Louis Armstrong made an astonishing series of recordings, the jazz-creating legacy of his Hot Fives and Hot Sevens, a succession of ...

Marcus Miller, Miles Davis: Marcus Miller: Bass For All Seasons

Interview by Gene Santoro, Guitar World, June 1987

What is it about MARCUS MILLER'S eternal thump that makes him Miles' choice bottom and the Bee Gees' top choice? ...

Pat Metheny Trio: Live

Review by Gene Santoro, Chamber Music, April 2001

THE GUITAR is arguably the most eclectic and democratic of instruments. Some form of it appears in nearly every society. Anyone can learn to play ...

Charles Mingus: Town Hall Train Wreck

Retrospective by Gene Santoro, Village Voice, The, June 2000

IN MID-1962, Charles Mingus made a deal with United Artists. He wanted to lead a big band, but he wanted to record it live, before ...

Willie Nelson At 70

Book Excerpt by Gene Santoro, 'Highway 61 Revisited...', 2004

ON APRIL 30, 2003, Willie Nelson turned 70, and celebrated with the release of his latest Greatest Hits collection. The Essential Willie Nelson (Columbia/Legacy), a ...

Greg Osby: Musical Archaeology: Greg Osby's Performances/Recordings from Duke to Monk and beyond

Review by Gene Santoro, Chamber Music, June 2000

NEW JAZZ FANS often have well-intentioned questions I dread, like, "What records should I listen to?" One of my stock answers: "Thelonious Monk Plays Duke ...

Oscar Peterson: A Jazz Odyssey: The Life of Oscar Peterson

Book Review by Gene Santoro, New York Times Book Review, The, July 2002

SINCE SEPTEMBER 1949, when he made his debut at Carnegie Hall as a member of the all-star troupe called Jazz at the Philharmonic, the pianist ...

Django Reinhardt: Djangologie/USA Vols. 1-7 (DRG/Swing Records)

Review by Gene Santoro, Spin, April 1988

GYPSY GUITARIST Django Reinhardt offers an early modern (read post-phonograph) example of how pop music travels from its native habitat, is heard through alienated ears, ...

Joseph Spence: The King Of Sling

Discography by Gene Santoro, Guitar World, April 1987

THE VERY bedrock of an entire school of folk and rock guitar is the idiosyncratic work of Bahamanian guitar great Joseph Spence.  ...

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