Jazz was some of the first music that I was exposed to in school. I actually played saxophone through high school, and played in a jazz ensemble for one semester in middle school. Obviously, saxophone wasn’t really my thing, but I have fond memories of some of the things I learned and saw (Count Basie’s piano stands out). In high school my guitar teacher exposed me to jazz, and I learned a few standards, but I didn’t really become interested until college. I had the opportunity to study with the great Kansas City guitarist Rod Fleeman for 2 years. I primarily studied arranging from him (I was still very much the an avid classical guitarist) but I count myself lucky to have worked with him. It wasn’t until years later when I was in Madrid, that my love for jazz really came to the forefront. In the midst of a flamenco lesson with Enrique Vargas, we took a break and he told me to improvise over Blue Bossa. This one little thing changed my career. We ended up spending quite a bit of time working on improvisation, and it eventually led me to what I am doing now. Enrique showed me a few recordings of Joe Pass & Ella Fitzgerald, and I was fascinated. I had never heard a guitar used to accompany that way, and I became obsessed. Enrique was himself a longtime student of Joe Pass, so he has been able to pass on a lot of that information to me, but with a few alterations to make it fit into the flamenco technique I have spent so much time working on. Today you can hear me doing duets with vocalists Stacey Riley and Humphrey Cobb, sax player Jeff Miguel, and guitarist Neil Haverstick. Occasionally some of these duets meld and become trios, or quartets, but everything is based around the idea of the guitar accompanying a melodic instrument.