MY MEMORIES OF TOMMY...

 

I met Tommy Tedesco in Boston during my last year at Berklee College of Music (the mid-80s) when he walked in during my weekly guitar lesson to greet the chairman of the guitar department, William Leavitt - who asked Tommy to sit in while he completed the lesson with yours truly! I can’t fully describe how excited and nervous I was sitting there, taking a guitar lesson while Tommy Tedesco looked on! Of course, I don’t remember any of the material covered that afternoon…

To add to the excitement, I ended up giving Tommy a tour of the school, hanging out, and enjoying a chat about music and guitars. It was amazing, he was truly genuine and generous -before I knew it, he offered his number and encouraged me to call him upon my trek to LA! Amazing!

Needless to say, I kept in touch, sent cassette demos, kept in touch again, and sent more cassettes before finally making the big move! By ‘89 I got signed (another story!) and ended up in the studio recording my first album featuring Tommy’s gracious guitar performances! What a gift!

 

Wait there's more-within a couple of months, Tommy surprised me again by writing about our session in his monthly Guitar Player magazine column, “Studio Log” (a spot usually reserved for features about his session work with iconic film/TV composers like Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams, James Horner, etc.)! Again, surreal!

I later learned my experience, while unique, wasn’t so unusual. Tommy was notorious for helping out aspiring guitar players in so many ways. Throughout the years I've heard stories with a common thread amongst top-tier LA session players (Lee Ritenour, Larry Carlton, Tim May, Dennis Budimir, etc.) who have experienced inspiring TT moments of endless goodwill. Tommy was an amazing talent who took the time to inspire and mentor-his generosity heightens his legacy. As with many, I learned quite a bit from Tommy, and the lessons went beyond the music!

-JC

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