Two for Tuesday: Emily Remler

I wrote a list when I started this series of Two for Tuesday posts about great jazz guitar players, and when I looked today I had crossed every name off of it but one. We end today with maybe my favorite of the bunch, Emily Remler.

The first I heard of Emily was in ads for the Berklee College of Music and for her instructional videos in Guitar Player magazine in the late 1980’s. I remember thinking at the time I’d like to hear some of her music, but wasn’t successful in finding any of it until I managed to get hold of her album, Retrospective, Volume One. From the opening notes of Clifford Brown’s “Daahoud” I was absolutely transfixed. She was amazing. She was not only technically excellent, she played with a passion I hadn’t heard from most guitar players. I had to know more about her. That’s when I learned she had died of a heart attack in 1990, at just 32 years old. The light that had burned so brightly had flamed out quickly.

I’ve managed to gather most of her albums, and listening to them, I find myself wondering what amazing directions she would have taken her music in if she were still around. But let’s get to the music. First, the song that introduced me to her, “Daahoud,” track 1 on her 1988 album, East to Wes.

What ended up being her last album, 1990’s This Is Me, saw her include elements of popular music and rock into her playing, much as had Pat Metheny. You can hear those influences on the first track, “Deep in a Trance.”

The website has lots more information. It’s obviously a labor of love and well worth visiting. A lot of her music has been loaded to YouTube, as have a number of her instructional videos. Spend some time visiting these places.

Emily Remler, your Two for Tuesday, December 30, 2014.