To begin at the beginning:
It is Spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched, courters’-and-rabbits’ wood limping invisible down to the sloeback, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing sea. […]
Dylan Thomas “Under Milk Wood”
What a long strange trip it is – as it often happens, from one small town towards another place, via that road, no simple highway, between the dawn and the dark of night.
The rich harmonies of Jazz and Bossa Nova, the rhythms and vibe of the 50s and 60s, especially the modal subversions of the second – this time around electric – folk and blues revival of the 90s, often referred to as Grunge, created the continued urge and effort to learn, speak and translate this language and its dialects. The instrument of choice lends itself to this endeavor, sonically as well as practically: Have guitar – will travel.
After years of studying, performing, teaching and sheet music publishing in Europe, Jan found his way to the US to study for a Master’s degree in Jazz and Improvised Music and to work as teaching assistant at the University of Washington, Seattle.
Since, he calls the West Coast home and its cities is where he can be caught live – solo and with small ensembles. Upcoming projects are a first solo recording and a tour.
With Chord Yoga, he works on an online library of transcriptions of seminal music performances and applied music theory concepts by the likes of Charles Mingus, Antônio Carlos Jobim, Jim Hall, Roy Buchanan, Jimmy Wyble, Spanky Alford, Bill Frisell, Arianna Powell, Joe Pass […] :
“Working with these translations made up of dots and lines, aka transcriptions, it becomes easier to make a guitar sing / speak. While there are plenty of specifically tailored guitar methods for all kinds of music styles, working with the original “text” offers an additional, often non-linear, yet more integrated approach of learning about and creating music – a priceless perspective that improves perceiving, feeling, internalizing and knowing the music you love.”
This approach also follows the implications of Walter Benjamin’s “The Task of the Translator”, here, in order to make the ‘pure language’ of music more readily available to learn, read, understand and speak – ideally bridging the gap in between the real life music experience and the theory and schools of thought which are taught in academic contexts.
Since its launch, Jan is also responsible for transcribing and writing sheet music for the thriving online music learning platform PickUp Music : it offers dedicated masterclasses, lessons and transcriptions covering all contemporary styles from jazz to neo soul.
Based on his accomplishments as instrumentalist and his published work, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services granted him permanent residency in the US, addressing extraordinary abilities in the arts.
You who choose to lead must follow
But if you fall, you fall alone
If you should stand, then who’s to guide you?
If I knew the way I would take you home
“A few years ago, we filmed Bill Frisell performing a gorgeous solo version of “Embraceable You.” A young and very promising guitarist decided to transcribe it. Note: This was done with Bill’s permission and through all the correct song licensing channels. This is just a PSA on our part in case you want to channel your inner Frisell. And don’t we all?”
– Jason Verlinde, The Fretboard Journal