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Memories Of A Guitar Master: Johnny Fourie

Johnny Fourie is one of the greatest guitar players of our epoque- John McLaughlin

Johnny Fourie

Master guitarist Johnny Fourie

I started studying at the Technikon University in Pretoria in 2001. (Now called the Tshwane University of Technology – http://www.tut.ac.za/)

I was passionate to take over the world with my guitar playing and very eager to learn everything that I could learn about the guitar.

I’ve heard amazing things about my guitar instructor Johnny Fourie. I was so excited to learn from him and could not wait for my first lesson.

Of course in my first lesson, Johnny promptly pointed out that everything I was playing sounded like rock or classical music. The first thing I needed to learn was how to swing.

It took a lot of work on my side to get my playing to sound like jazz. For the first year I only listened to old school jazz and nothing else.

I was astonished at the knowledge and skills that Johnny possessed.

I studied for three years with Johnny intensely before moving to the United Kingdom.

During our lessons together, I often spent three hours at a time picking Johnny ‘s brain.

But there was something else that I really liked about Johnny Fourie. He thought way outside of the box.

Most people tend to have a society view of life. A certain idea about how life should be. Johnny went far beyond the standard ideas of life.

He always encouraged me to question everything. He told me not to take anything at face value. He gave me great encouragement and helped me to develop my thinking ability.

When I asked various instructors whether one can make money with jazz, the reply was always there is no money jazz. Johnny Fourie was different, he would always tell me that of course you can make money in jazz. He said that is just a matter of being creative and finding a way…

He told me not to listen to anyone – but do what was in my heart!

He believed in the music he played!

Johnny possessed an amazing quality of optimism and seeing the world from a very high point of view.

He literally knew every jazz standard, could play the standards in any key and play the most gorgeous solo that would drive you to tears.

His understanding of the guitar and jazz was simply beyond belief. Only a handful of guitarists will ever be on that level.

Johnny Fourie never received the recognition that was due to him. He was simply one of the world’s best jazz guitarists ever. The thing about Johnny is that he was never interested in fame, he was always interested in music.

He was always encouraging us to develop our playing. He always helped us when he could. He gave hours of his time to develop our playing!

I will always be thankful for the amazing time that I had with Johnny Fourie. It was simply priceless!