Music doesn't lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music.”

Jimi Hendrix

Jamie's Views

What is Jazz?  

What is Jazz?

I just finished an online class last week at Berklee College of Music in Jazz Arranging. One of the questions that the class made me think about is - What is Jazz?

If there are no horns - is it Jazz?
If it is simplistic - can it still be Jazz?
If I use effects on my guitar - can I still be playing Jazz?
Can I love playing Jimi Hendrix songs and still be a Jazz guitarist?
Is Boney James a jazzy instrumentalist or an instrumental jazzist?
If "Stella By Starlight" was a pop tune…Read more

To bebop or to rock? - That is the question!  

To bebop or to rock? - That is the question! As a guitarist, that question is hard to answer. I have spent many years playing both jazz and rock music. I've also spent many years studying other styles such as country and blues guitar. I enjoy playing all those styles but jazz and rock have been the two styles I've enjoyed playing the most.

To a non-musician, the question may seem ridiculous. After all music is music - right? So why not play all the styles of music? The problem is that each genre of music…Read more


I miss records. Those big 10 inch pieces of vinyl that we would put it on turntables and the needle would spin around the groove. I miss the aroma of when you would take the plastic off the cover and open it up and there would be these giant pictures of the artist. Sometimes the pictures were of the recording sessions for the album or of the band playing live. Other times the pictures were just shots of the band that were taken in photography studios to promote the artist.

There was always an inner sleeve…Read more

Playing The Changes  

What does it mean to play the changes? Does it mean playing a series of tones that are within the chords to a song? Does it mean using guide tones between chords to complete the melody? Does it mean using a scale/mode that has a relationship to the chords of a song? Or, does the phrase "playing the changes" have a much deeper meaning?

When I first heard the words "play the changes to the song", I had no idea what they were talking about. At first I thought they meant many of the things I mentioned in the…Read more

My First Guitar 

I remember my first guitar. It was Christmas day 1979. I was 10 years old and I had been begging my Mom & Dad for a guitar since I was 5. I woke up that morning early to go see what Santa Claus had brought me for Christmas that year. There were little packages scattered under the Christmas tree and a red wagon with an odd shaped big package. In my heart I hoped it was a guitar. My Dad passed out the presents starting with the small gifts and finally he got to the big present and handed it to me. I looked at…Read more

The Secret  

As a musician and music teacher, I see a growing trend in music that involves a lessening of actual musical ability & understanding. Music is a craft that has to be developed over time. Consistent practice and study of music is very important in order to obtain the skills that are necessary to be a good musician. Practicing music insures muscle memory and development. Study of music theory and music history develops the mind to be able to utilize the skills obtained in practicing to the fullest.

What I…Read more

The Road Less Traveled  

One of the most difficult things to do in music is to find your original voice. Originality doesn't just mean making up random noises that have no purpose. Originality is being so deep into the music that you find your own voice within to share with the world.

This can be a difficult path to take. It is not always the road to popularity or affluence. It's not the path that music business executives would ever want you to take but, without original artists, there would be no music business for executives to…Read more

Who is the best guitarist?  

My students often asked me who I think is the best guitar player or what kind of music is the best to listen to. My answer to them is that the best guitarist is the one that you think is the best and the best music is the kind of music that you like. I get a number of different reactions to this answer that I give them. Some students think that I am being politically correct and trying not to step on their toes and that I secretly hate their music and that's why I answered that way. Other students genuinely…Read more

Where does the music comes from?  

I have written a lot of songs in my life. I've come to the conclusion that I am a discoverer of melodies and that my knowledge of music is only to provide harmony for those melodies. Those melodies come from God. I'm just the interpreter and it's a gift from Heaven.

The melodies are already there - up in the air - ready for me to reach up and grab onto. The better a musician I am and the more knowledgeable I am of music, the better the interpretation of that melody is and, the better that I can put my…Read more

Interview with James Murrell by Shelley Simone  

Interview with James Murrell by Shelley Simone

1.       What do you “do” in music? You teach, you compose, you play...?

I perform and teach music in the Dayton, Ohio area, I have also taught in the Columbus, Ohio area and I have performed in Dayton, Columbus, and Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have several recordings of my music that I have composed over the years that I have put online through ( and on many other sites including (http:Read more

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