The Guitar Artistry of Oscar Alemán pt. 1 (March 31 – April 28, 6:30PM EDT)


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The Guitar Artistry of Oscar Alemán – Part 1

Thursdays, 6:30pm – 7:45pm EDT

March 31 – April 28 (via Zoom)

Cost: $199 (limit 15)

5 classes per session. Register for both Part 1 and 2 and receive a one class discount

Oscar Alemán’s consummate technique and impeccable swing reach back to the earliest days of Hot Club jazz. Before Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grapelli recorded their first notes as the Quintette of the Hot Club of France, Alemán was already an in-demand guitarist on the 1930’s Parisian jazz scene—leading Josephine Baker’s band, accompanying star accordionists and performing with ex-patriot American jazz musicians ­– even Duke Ellington wanted to hire him to join his orchestra. Without question, Ellington was correct when he remarked about Alemán, “this cat has roots.”

This five-week zoom workshop will deepen your understanding of Oscar Alemán’s genius and add new ideas to your guitar playing. Using transcriptions direct from the original recordings, instructor Greg Ruby will lead the class through a selection of Aleman’s repertoire to examine the way he interpreted melodies, accompanied other soloists and used syncopated rhythms in his solos. All written music will be provided in standard notation, tablature and with chord diagrams. Play-Along Mp3s will be provided and all classes will be recorded on Zoom and will remain available for viewing or downloading up to a month after the conclusion of the workshop.

The Guitar Artistry of Oscar Alemán Part 1 is intended for an intermediate to advanced level and will cover the following topics:

“Embellish the Melody”

Oscar Alemán was a great interpreter of the melody. Adding bends, glissandos, arpeggios and fills gave each performance his unique touch. This class will use transcriptions to his classic recordings of “Russian Lullaby” and “Bye Bye Blues” in order to both learn them note for note and to better understand his approach in order to create ideas for your own melodic embellishments.

“Active Accompaniment”

Alemán rarely strummed four chords to the bar to back up a soloist – instead he used counter-melodies, obbligato figures, melodic fills and arpeggios to provide a dynamic and active accompaniment style.   Using the songs “Jeepers Creepers” “Hombre Mio” and others, we will break down his approach to provide you a roadmap to implement these ideas into your playing as an accompanist.

The Art of the Out Chorus

Alemán rarely repeated the melody as the final chorus of a song. Instead, he created his arrangements to feature the lead guitar and violin using either shout chorus, contrafact melody or call and response.  These composed ideas give us insight into his rhythmic and melodic approach to soloing and arrangement style and are just great ways to conclude a song. Using the songs, “I Got Rhythm,” “Sweet Georgia Brown” and “Lady Be Good,” we will examine these three approaches to provide you the tools to create your own “Out Chorus.”

Questions? email Greg Ruby

After registering, you will receive a welcome letter that will include your Zoom link, “getting started” PDFs and listening play list.

“Having seen Greg Ruby teach in person for years now, and then watching him teach online at one of my camps last year, confirmed in my mind and those who studied with him, that he is a wonderful educator. Greg is impressively organized, thorough, accessible… and he connects with enthusiasm, humility and humor.” 
– Joe Craven, director of Wintertunes and Rivertunes
  1. Look Both Ways Greg Ruby Quartet
  2. Scofflaw Greg Ruby and the Rhythm Runners
  3. Inside Out Greg Ruby Quartet
  4. That’s It Greg Ruby & the Rhythm Runners
  5. Someone Told Me Your Secret Greg Ruby and the Rhythm Runners
  6. We Meet Again Greg Ruby Quartet
  7. Suspicion Greg Ruby Quartet
  8. Humdinger Greg Ruby and the Rhythm Runners
  9. Climb Them Walls Greg Ruby & the Rhythm Runners
  10. Low Down Greg Ruby & the Rhythm Runners
  11. Kansas Straight Winds Greg Ruby Quartet
  12. Pretty Doll Greg Ruby & the Rhythm Runners
  13. Go Get It Greg Ruby & the Rhythm Runners
  14. You Should’a Been There Greg Ruby and the Rhythm Runners
  15. Zephyr Greg Ruby Quartet
  16. That’s About Right Greg Ruby and the Rhythm Runners
  17. 14th Avenue Drag Greg Ruby and the Rhythm Runners
  18. Hold On Greg Ruby and the Rhythm Runners