JIM WITZEL

Post Bop / Hard Bop • United States
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JIM WITZEL picture
Jim grew up in the north-Bay Area town of San Rafael and began learning guitar at age twelve. He explored various styles (folk, pop, rock and blues) and began studying jazz guitar in high-school with well-known Bay Area teacher and performer Dave Smith.

After graduating high school Jim attended San Francisco State University, completing a Creative Arts Interdisciplinary (Music Emphasis) Bachelor of Arts degree. During college he focused on film scoring and composing for jazz combos. While attending SF State he was fortunate to study with Bay Area alto-saxophonist legend John Handy.

After graduation Jim free-lanced extensively around the Bay Area, working clubs and concerts as both a leader and sideman with such players as Mark Isham, Art Lande, Mike Clark, Delbert Bump, Michael Barsimanto, Glenn Cronkite, Mike Formanek, Chris Amberger and Todd Dickow. During this period he joined the “Life is Color” band along with vocalist Jesse Foster
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JIM WITZEL Discography

JIM WITZEL albums / top albums

JIM WITZEL Give And Take album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Give And Take
Post Bop 1992
JIM WITZEL Feelin' It album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Feelin' It
Hard Bop 2022

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JIM WITZEL Feelin' It

Album · 2022 · Hard Bop
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js
Jim Witzel is a veteran jazz guitarist who has worked with artists such as John Patitucci, Ernie Watts, John Abercrombie and many others in LA, San Francisco and elsewhere, but “Feelin It” is only his second album as a leader, and it comes a full twenty years after his first album. Witzel’s style is blues based hard bop, but he plays with a soft tone similar to Jim Hall or Pat Metheny. He counts those two, as well as Kenny Burrell, Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Pat Martino and John Abercrombie as influences. Jim is joined on here by some old friends and jam session cohorts, Jason Lewis on drums and Brian Ho on B-3, making them a classic soul jazz organ trio. On three tracks they are joined by tenor saxophonist Dann Zinn. Dann is probably the most fiery soloist here as he veers from blues based licks to fast flying sheets of sound that recall Coltrane or Johnny Griffin. Brian has an interesting style on the B-3 in that he avoids a lot of the standard B-3 soul jazz figures and instead plays with a more flowing melodic style that can build in intensity.

The two opening tracks and “Beyond Bejing” are fast moving swingin hard bop, while the two closing tracks take on a more medium groove 60s Blue Note feel. In between we have a relaxed, almost spacey take on “Norwegian Wood” and a ballad rendition of “I Loves You, Porgy” that has Jim double tracking his guitars. “If Ever I Would Leave You” starts with a Latin feel, but then goes into an aggressive swing feel for one of Brian’s best B-3 buildups. Three of the tracks are Witzel originals.

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