With only a slim body of recorded work to his name, guitar guru Ted Greene remains best known as a teacher and theoretician. His book Chord Chemistry is widely acclaimed as the bible for aspiring jazz guitarists. Born in Los Angeles on September 26, 1946, Greene began his own guitar studies at age 11, and was an accomplished player while still in high school, often collaborating with local R&B groups; he briefly studied accounting at Cal State Northridge, but soon dropped out to devote all of his energies to music. Greene typically worked as an accompanist behind vocalists, despising the limelight himself but finding group settings restrictive. While he was a sought-after session player, he derived much of his income from tutoring, ultimately writing four acclaimed books on the subject: Chord Chemistry, Modern Chord Progressions: Jazz and Classical Voicings for Guitar, and the two-volume Jazz Guitar: Single Note Soloing. In 1977, he also recorded his lone solo LP, titled simply Solo Guitar. While much respected and celebrated by his fellow guitarists across the musical spectrum, Greene was nevertheless little known to the general public, his anonymity even more pronounced by his aversion to live performance. By all accounts painfully shy and humble, his roster of alumni included jazz player John Pisano, but he never charged more than 25 dollars per hourly lesson. Greene died suddenly of a heart attack at his Encino, CA, apartment on July 25, 2005; he was 58.
Share this page