Remembering Emily
May 3, 2011 3:55 AM   Subscribe

All Things Emily celebrates the life and work of American jazz guitarist Emily Remler. Influenced by Herb Ellis and Wes Montgomery in her early albums, her music was taking new directions before her untimely death, at just 32, while on tour in Australia in May 1990.

"I’m not into sitting and crying about it, I’m into doing. I never was bitter about the fact that there are so many band leaders who have told me face to face that they couldn’t hire me because I was a woman, or that there have been so many instances where I wasn’t trusted musically and they handled me with kid gloves because they figured my time wasn’t strong. You have to believe in yourself. It never did occur to me to stay in one place and bitch about this, about how I wasn’t given a chance. I think it gives me more merit – to get really good, so good that it doesn’t matter: to get so good that you surpass it."
posted by joannemullen (9 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Here she is playing Sonny Rollin's classic Tenor Madness.
posted by three blind mice at 4:22 AM on May 3, 2011

Emily Remler is also the guitarist featured in the video mashup, Three Piece Band.
posted by jonp72 at 4:56 AM on May 3, 2011

Thanks for this. I was wondering why I'd never heard of her, then got to the part on her bio page about heroin. Search for "drug issues" and then listen to the brief clip from an NPR discussion just below, in which a fellow musician says "everything was about that [heroin]; everything was about dealing with that..."

Anyway, thanks again; I love jazz guitar and am looking forward to hearing some of her work on CD. Appear to be some great ones to choose from.
posted by mediareport at 5:31 AM on May 3, 2011

The website has fine resources too, links to transcriptions, and to the two booklets that went along her videos : bebop and swing guitar, and advanced jazz and latin improvisation. Both videos are highly interesting and enjoyable, the musical concepts that she uses are not eerie, this is stuff that any musician can use. To me, this was an invitation to play more complex things and maybe the first real introduction to the sound of jazz on guitar. Btw, these videos are among the rare instructional ones that I like to have another look at once in a while. Emily remler's style is unusual, very straightforward and she gets to the point without the usual mumbo jumbo. She delivers her general ideas about music though, after the training has been covered, and she's pretty touching.
posted by nicolin at 5:50 AM on May 3, 2011

What a shame she died so young.

There have been so few female guitar players of note. A couple who come to mind:

Memphis Minnie
Sister Rosetta Tharpe

And they, of course, were primarily known as singers. Can't think of any female guitarists in jazz, outside of Remler.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:44 AM on May 3, 2011

Good to see her show up here on the blue, she deserves the attention.

Last year I was playing one of the Concord retrospective CDs and I glanced at the liner notes -- it was very depressing when I realized that she had been gone for twenty years already!
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 10:37 AM on May 3, 2011

Can't think of any female guitarists in jazz, outside of Remler.

I like Mary Halvorson.
posted by box at 11:03 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Female jazz guitarists, from Wikipedia. (I knew Sheryl Bailey because she plays with David Krakauer, and I knew Leni Stern and Monette Sudler too, but Joyce Cooling ? never heard of her). Women in Jazz.
posted by nicolin at 1:11 AM on May 4, 2011

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