Classical Guitarist Doing What He Loves
by Glenda Sanders, Daily Sun
THE VILLAGES- “I didn’t know you could get that much out of a guitar,” Villager Charles Graves told his wife Maxine during intermission at Wednesday’s Gift of Music performance by guitarist Jeff Scott. Until he entered college and discovered the great classic composers, Scott didn’t know he would be able to bring a blend of technical expertise and passion to Bach and Tarrega.
Scott didn’t come from a musical family. Inspired by rock bands, he pantomimed holding and strumming the guitar along with recordings of his favorite groups. At 14, bitten by the bug, he acquired his first real Guitar- electric- and started playing.
“Once I found it, I was completely immersed in it,” he recalled before last night’s concert. At first he was mostly self-taught, playing hours on end after school. He took some lessons, but it was not until after four Years later, when he entered Baldwin Wallace in Berea, Ohio, where he would earn his degree in Classical Guitar Performance, that he became hooked on the classics. Scott credits the college program for introducing him to the classical composers and compositions that opened a whole new world for him.
If limited by mad fates to one form of music, this versatile guitarist, who finished last night’s concert with Spanish classics by Albeniz and Jazz standards by Duke Ellington and Dave Brubeck, said without hesitation that he would stick with the classics. “Classical- it’s the most difficult, but also the most rewarding,” he said. “After Bach, everything is simple.”
Determined to make his living through music, he moved from Ohio to Florida three years ago, in hopes of finding a “better environment for a working musician.”
Taking advantage of the opportunities in this tourist and entertainment-oriented area, he plays with rock bands and jazz groups as well as performing as a classical soloist. He is a member of the LaMotte and Cochran Band, billed as “Central Florida’s premier Wedding/Top40/Dance” group, and has performed in musicals in which he played guitar, sang and acted.
Part of the joy that comes through in his musical performance is spawned by his personal joy over being able to do what he loves. When friends ask how things are going for him, he tells them, “I play the guitar, and I live in Florida!” He plans to continue playing as long as he finds audiences. “My goals are to enjoy what I’m doing and go as far as I can,” he said. “I love what I do.”
But Scott stuck with it, and he brought his amazing guitar skills to the Church on the Square Monday night.
“It was fabulous, especially the Flamenco,” said Village of Rio Ponderosa resident Jean Allen. “He has fabulous dexterity. I was looking at his hands.”
Scott, who performed in The Villages numerous times, played a wide variety of music. He put his spin on the classic Beatles tunes “Let it Be” and “Yesterday”, various Spanish tunes like “Etude: Study No. 1, by Villa Lobos,” Tarrega’s “Capricho Arabe,” Fernando Sor’s “Opus No. 9”, a theme and variations on Mozart’s “The Magic Flute.”
He also played excellent versions of Duke Ellington’s “Satin Doll” and Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five.”