Behold, the organized chaos of PAKT in the flesh. Guitarists Alex Skolnick and Tim Motzer hold down the left and right flanks, respectively, with revered bassist Percy Jones and drummer Kenny Growhowski.

Photo by Avraham Bank

The free-playing supergroup returns with a full-length that explores the outer reaches of composition. Guitarists Tim Motzer and Alex Skolnick mull over the mysteries of their music.

While all of their music is produced spontaneously, PAKT—the all-star outfit that takes its name from the first initials of guitarists Alex Skolnick and Tim Motzer, bassist Percy Jones, and drummer Kenny Grohowski—believes in the late saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter’s maxim that “improvisation is just composition sped up.” The foursome’s collective technical ability, open minds, and desire to simply create all combine to make the group an ensemble without boundaries.

Read MoreShow less

Phish’s nimble guitarist navigates changes with ease largely because he takes inspiration from jazz greats.

Chops: Intermediate
Theory: Intermediate
Lesson Overview:
• Develop a better sense of melody by using arpeggios.
• Create tension-filled lines with the diminished scale.
• Improve your understanding of the fretboard by connecting triads.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this lesson's notation.

Trey Anastasio is easily my biggest influence as a guitarist. Throughout a career that has spanned 30-plus years, Trey and his band Phish have touched upon a mind-boggling number of genres and blended them into a unique sound. Not only that, but today I’m a huge fan of many styles of music because I heard Phish explore them when I was a teenager.

Admittedly, before Phish came along I thought jazz was lame. But now, I love it. Phish wore the disguise of a carefree rock band, but they were the ones to introduce me to a lot of the harmonic, melodic, and improvisational characteristics that made jazz one of the great art forms of the last century. It was as if they were shoving spoonfuls of extra-healthy kale down my gullet while convincing me it was actually ice cream.

Read MoreShow less
Photo by Calli Cohen

On his latest solo album, Reasons Why, which features a collaboration with Cory Wong, celebrated Canadian guitarist Ariel Posen continues his evolution as a multi-faceted artist.

For years, Ariel Posen has captivated listeners with his tone. Starting with his first solo album, 2019’s How Long, and on through successive releases such as 2021’s Headway and a sprinkling of EPs, the Canadian guitar virtuoso has distinguished himself for his unique approach to sound. His playing is warm and rippling; it has a way of grabbing you, or at times even jabbing you, but once it does, it changes up and envelopes you like a comfy pillow. His lyrical lines don’t just sing—they swoon. All of this is to say that he doesn’t do just one thing with his sound. There are nuances and levels to his artistry.

Read MoreShow less