top of page

For students that are listening to classical or jazz guitar music for the first time, I've crafted Spotify playlists that I think are helpful if you're getting into these genres for the first time. 

New classical guitar students:

search for the playlist

"Classical Guitar Fundamentals - SCF" 

New jazz guitar students:

search for the playlist

"Jazz Guitar Fundamentals - SCF"

20 Composers to know:

John Dowland

Robert de Visee

J.S. Bach

Domenico Scarlatti

Fernando Sor

Mauro Giuliani

Dionisio Aguado

Matteo Carcassi

Nicolo Paganini

Francisco Tarrega

Miguel Llobet

Federico Moreno-Torroba

Isaac Albeniz

Joaquin Turina

Manuel Maria Ponce

Heitor Villa-Lobos

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco

Alexander Tansman

Joaquin Rodrigo

Leo Brouwer

20 Classical guitarists to know:

Narciso Yepes

Alirio Diaz

Manuel Barrueco

Julian Bream

Jason Vieaux

John Williams

David Russell

Sharon Isbin

Los Angeles Guitar Quartet

Los Romeros

Denis Azabagic

Eliot Fisk

Adam Holzman

Christopher Parkening

Andres Segovia

David Starobin

David Tanenbaum

Lorenzo Micheli

Ana Vidovic

Yang Xuefei

20 Jazz guitarists to know:

Wes Montgomery

Kurt Rosenwinkel

Charlie Christian

Joe Pass

Django Reinhardt

Jim Hall

Pat Metheny

Pat Martino

Grant Green

Kenny Burrell

Barney Kessel

Herb Ellis

John McLaughlin

Julian Lage

Peter Bernstein

John Scofield

John Pizzarelli

Freddie Green

Barry Galbraith

Larry Coryell

Jimmy Raney

20 Guitar albums for getting acquainted with the "standards"

(Check out the "books and music" section of this site for a complete album reference for learning required standards for lessons)

Kenny Burrell

In a Mellow Tone

Laid Back

Herb Ellis

The Jazz Masters

Joao Gilberto


Grant Green

Complete Sonny Clark Quartet Recordings


Jim Hall

Alone Together

Jazz Guitar

Barney Kessel

Autumn Leaves

Joe Pass

Easy Living (with Ella Fitzgerald)



Pat Martino

Comin' and Goin'

Live at Yoshi's

Wes Montgomery

A Dynamic New Sound...

The Incredible Jazz Guitar of...

Smokin' at the Half-Note

Jimmy Raney

Pennies from Heaven

Howard Roberts

The Magic Band II

Johnny Smith

The Sound Of....


Five classical guitar albums for new guitar students to listen to (in no particular order)

1. Play - Jason Vieaux

Why: A brisk-paced program of stand-alone encore repertoire ranging from the toe-tapping to the sublime, all played by a guitarist whose tone, interpretation, and musicality I consider to be the model of how a classical guitar should sound. The perfect place to start. (Plus, this album is one of the few solo guitar albums to ever win a Grammy - can't be all bad, right?).

2. Christopher Parkening celebrates Segovia - Christopher Parkening

Why: Like the album above, this album offers key examples of the classical guitar repertoire played by a truly sensitive and refined musician. Some of the music here is also found in Play, offering a chance to hear how two guitarists can make very different music come from the same piece.

3. Art of Segovia - Andres Segovia

Why: Every guitarist needs to know where they come from. Whether you prefer his playing or not, Segovia's legacy undeniable, and all guitarists continue to be judged be the standard the Spanish maestro set. This double-album is as much a history lesson as anything else.

4. Sergio and Odair Assad - Latin American Music

Why: Because two guitars are twice as nice - especially when they are played at superhuman levels of unity and technicality. An exciting look at some of the most important names in South American guitar composition by arguably the most important guitar duo to have ever graced the stage.

5. Rodrigo: Fantasia para un gentilhombre/Brouwer: Concerto elegiaco

- Julian Bream (Leo Brouwer, conductor)

Why: There will be plenty of time to listen to Aranjuez later. Concerto elegiaco is one of the most exciting guitar concerti out there and the perfect introduction to the language of Brouwer, in itself a wonderful introduction into the world of contemporary music. The Fantasia is sweeping too, yet considerably lighter than that *other* Rodrigo concerto for new listeners. Plus, Bream is a joy. Enjoy.

BONUS: Images of Metheny - Jason Vieaux

Why: (You'd think I were a fan of this guy or something.) I love this album of Pat Metheny cross-over arrangements because it takes away all pretense of what classical guitar should be, allowing the listener to simply enjoy the music for what it is. Here you'll find gut-wrenching melodies, soul-churning harmonies, and an atmosphere oozing with sentimentality. Images of Metheny teaches us that classical guitar doesn't always have to be so... well, classical.

Five jazz albums for new guitar students to listen to

(in no particular order)

1. The Incredible Jazz Guitar of

Wes Montgomery

Why: There's a reason I have students do more transcriptions of Wes solos than of any other guitarist - and that's because his playing is absolutely foundational. I encourage students to check out this album early on because it is as much a work of art as it is a pure definition of what jazz guitar is. And the title doesn't lie. It's incredible.

2. Virtuoso - Joe Pass

Why: I was only impressed by Joe's lightning speed when I picked this up as a teenager who didn't know anything about jazz. Now that I'm an adult who still doesn't feel like he knows anything about jazz, I am equally awed by Joe's seemingly effortless approach to voicing, articulation, and embellishment. Like many solo jazz guitar albums it can be a tiring front-to-back listen, but all-in-all I find this to be the perfect pass (no pun intended) at one of the greatest guitar legends to have ever lived.

3. Djangology - Django Reinhardt

Why: The quintessential introduction to gypsy jazz. Also, guess how many left-hand fingers this guy used? Yeah, you're going to be stunned when you find out the answer and hear how it didn't slow him down a bit. Enjoy your dose of "la pompe." 

4. Kind of Blue - Miles Davis

I don't think there's anything I can say about this album that hasn't been said in great hyperbole, so I won't even attempt to. I understand I'm opening a can of worms here by including a non-guitar album, but come on, this isn't just required listening to be a jazz musician, this is required listening to be a functioning member of society. Why are you still reading this? Go listen now!

5. We Like it Here - Snarky Puppy

My personal favorite Snarky Puppy album (I haven't found one I disliked). I recommend this album to students to hammer the truth that though studying standards is an effective template for learning in academia, jazz is so much bigger (and more alive!) than we can see with a purist mentality. At the end of the day, ya gotta be able to play - and these cats can do just that in boatloads.

BONUS: Still Life (Talking) - Pat Metheny Group

Why: This is NOT the responsible Pat Metheny choice, and if conventionality better suits your tastes, check out Trio -> Live, or Bright Size Life. But if you want to get your 80's fusion on, give it a try and don't miss Minuano (Six Eigth), Third Wind, and Last Train Home (which, for us Floridians, was famously featured in a Publix commercial in the 80s).

bottom of page