By Rob Nagy, The Mercury
POSTED: 11/21/13, 11:25 PM EST |
“My musical style is a combination of Wes Montgomery, U2 and Jimi Hendrix,” says New York City based jazz rock guitarist Jake Hertzog. A highly regarded composer, instructor and performer, Hertzog’s unique energetic musical creations have earned him comparisons to guitar greats Bill Frissell and Pat Metheny. Guitar Player Magazine calls him “…the blazing wunderkin” for his unforgettably diverse, often lightening speed guitar licks. Still in his 20’s, Hertzog has laid the foundation for what he hopes will be a long and successful career. Hertzog’s latest album release, “Throwback,” offers a collection of original compositions that are wonderfully reminiscent of the great jazz of the early 1960’s.
Featuring Hertzog on guitar, Victor Jones (drums) Harvie S (bass) and special guest Randy Brecker (trumpet), this foursome pulls off, with ease, some of the most vibrant, uplifting, toe tapping jazz that makes “Throwback” one of this year’s best releases. “I felt like we were ready to make a 1960’s style jazz record where you just go into the studio, lay it down, and that’s it,” says Hertzog. “I also wanted to make something a little bit different than we had done before, which predominantly features the trio and uses the different guitar sounds and effects as textural variations. So we constructed these studio tracks with sound changes and interesting recording techniques.”
“I’ve always loved trumpet,” says Hertzog. “To me it was a no brainer to try and get somebody as gifted as Randy Brecker to do this project. He is one of those rare musicians that really plays both jazz and rock with equal passion. It seemed to me that he would be a natural fit for this group. We tried to create some textures and thoughts for him that didn’t have to be extraordinarily rehearsed. I wanted him to be a little bit free, almost like a rock singer. We got really lucky to have him on this project.” Following his graduation from Boston’s Berklee College of Music in 2007 with a degree in performance, Hertzog officially embarked on his music career. Having won the Grand Prize at Switzerland’s 2006 Montreux Jazz Guitar Competition, he was invited back the following year to open for music icons John Scofield and “Medeski, Martin and Wood.”
Hertzog’s talent earned him a three-year run, ending in 2010, as musical director and lead guitarist for Nickelodeon’s “The Naked Brothers Band,” featuring Nat and Alex Wolf. They performed two national concert tours with appearances on “Good Morning America,” “The View,” “Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Awards” and “The Today Show.”
Hertzog made his recording debut with the independent self-titled album release “Chromatosphere” (2009). Subsuquent album releases, “Patterns” (2010) and “Evolution” (2011), (both on the Buckyball label) followed.
Under the moniker of “Hey Jazz Guy” (www.heyjazzguy.com), Hertzog frequently contributes to Guitar Player magazine’s ‘Lessons’ section, where he has been dubbed “the jazz ambassador to the non-jazz world.” He has authored dozens of articles coinciding with his instructional YouTube videos. His recent master guitar classes and clinics have found him visiting Texas, Washington, Germany and India.
Beyond his burgeoning jazz career, Hertzog is the co-leader and songwriter, together with bassist Mitch Kaneff, in the rock band “The Young Presidents.” Their pending album release, “Coalition,” produced by Grammy Award winner Rob Fraboni, features Corey Glover (Living Colour), Blondie Chaplin (The Rolling Stones, Beach Boys), Ivan Neville and Anton Fig (Drummer from the Letterman Show). A documentary called “Building The Coalition” premiered at New York’s Vision Fest Film Festival in June 2013 and will be packaged with the CD release in February 2014.
This January Hertzog will be performing at the NAMM show in Anaheim California, where he will be endorsing and supporting Norwegian audio tech innovators Aalberg Audio. ”I’m really excited to be endorsing this wonderful guitar effects company,” says Hertzog. ”We’re developing some innovative technology that I’m fortunate to be a part of.”
“My biggest goal in doing all of this is just to be able to perform more,” says Hertzog. “A fan base is built by touring. Hopefully that would be something that happens with this album and open up more doors for us in terms of more performance opportunities moving forward.” “Music is a compulsion,” says Hertzog. “ I have to wake up and play music just like I have to wake up and eat. I imagine that is true for most artists or people that pursue any specific field of human endeavor. It’s something that just flows in your blood. I also think that curiosity more than anything drives me,” added Hertzog. “When I’m playing I want to find new sounds. When I’m teaching I want to find new ways that people learn, and when I’m writing I want to find new textures and ideas. It’s all about curiosity for new things, and I think the more you discover the more you want to keep going. I believe great music of any kind is the overwhelming emotional triumph of experiencing something you’ve never heard. That is what I will always strive to create.”
Jake Hertzog Band performs at Jolly’s Piano Bar, 3801 Chestnut Street Philadelphia PA 19104 Tuesday December 3, 2013 at 9:30 P.M. For more information call (215) 222-1232 or check the website www.jollyspianobar.com. To say up to date with Jake Hertzog www.jakehertzog.com.