Joe picked up a guitar at his grandmother's house and started teaching himself to play when he was 10 years old. He often imitated his favorite guitarist - B.B. KING. Soon after, Joe experienced the music of JIMI HENDRIX.
He soon sought to get his first Stratocaster and wah-wah pedal. But when his dad gave him a collection of WES MONTGOMERY albums, and his mother gave him GEORGE BENSON'S "Breezin" album, he dedicated himself to jazz guitar. He later studied the styles of jazz guitarists KENNY BURRELL, JOE PASS, and PAT MARTINO. He also learned from watching Houston jazz & blues guitarist CLARENCE HOLLIMON.
By the age of 16, Joe was playing professionally with Bubbha Thomas & The Lightmen, Conrad Johnson, Fifth Ward Express, and Kirk Whalum. Joe's guitar playing would later be influenced by guitarists JOHN TROPEA, PHIL UPCHURCH, ERIC GALE, ED CHERRY (w/Dizzy Gillespie), CARLOS SANTANA, WAH-WAH WATSON, HANK GARLAND, and several country and flamenco players.
Joe's style is an eclectic mix of all of his musical influences. He strives for natural tone with minimal electronic effects. Joe uses different guitars, various picking techniques, and numerous left & right hand tricks to create different tones and effects. He prefers live jazz performances and real instruments. "I'm a firm believer that true jazz & blues can only be performed with live musicians - not machines and computers." Joe strives to give his fans something extra at each performance. It is not unusual for him to give away promo caps, t-shirts, and CDs at his shows! "I play from the heart and for the love of music. The music is actually coming from my mind & body - not from my fingers. I'm blessed to play the guitar."
Guitarist Joe Carmouche represents Houston's finest in smooth jazz. In 1998, Joe released his debut CD "After Hours", which became an immediate hit with local radio stations. In 1999, Joe opened for legendary jazz artists Michael Franks, Kenny Burrell,and Joe Sample. This year, Joe released the CD single "House of Blues-LIVE" featuring the smooth jazz favorite "Foreplay". A new CD entitled "A Touch of Jazz" is due to be released this summer. For booking info & CD orders, call 713-536-0739 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joe Carmouche - After Hours
Joe is one of the ambitious guitarists influenced by B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix, Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Kenny Burrell, Joe Pass, Pat Martino, John Tropea, Phil Upchurch, Eric Gale, Ed Cherry (w/Dizzy Gillespie), Carlos Santana, Wah-wah Watson, Hank Garland and Clarence Hollimon. Joe's style is an eclectic mix of all of this musical influences. So Joe loves to play live. "I'm a firm believer that true jazz & blues can only be performed with live musicians - not machines and computers." His ambivalent album derives from this different guitar styles and is full of musical vigor.
So What is a homage to the Leonardo of Jazz Miles Davis. Miles had played this famous Hard Bop piece very often and the tune is part of many compilations and albums repeating Miles repertoire. Wendell Brooks takes over Miles' part on alto sax with Joe's support playing Wah-Wah-guitar guiding to Joe's skillfull guitar solo. Joe uses different guitars, various picking techniques, and numerous left & right hand tricks to create different tones and effects.
I'll be around is a cover of the great 1972er release of The Spinners bringing the Philly sound back to life. Leon Huff, arranger and producer Thom Bell was among the architects of the seductive Philly soul music and this was their masterpiece.
Anita Baker had an outstanding hit Sweet Love on her 1987er album One Night of Rapture. Joe plays a skillfull guitar interpretation.
Mercy Mercy Me is a previous song of Marvin Gay, which is part of his 1971er album What's Going on. This album should not been released at first, because Berry Gordy, CEO of Motown, thought it wouldn't have commercial potential. But the album had three # 1 hits, among others this title. Smooth Jazz artists love this piece and it was often covered by Grover Washington jr. on his Anthology album (1982), Herb Albert in a Marvin Gay video (1991), Special EFX on their album Catwalk (1994), to name a view. Joe catches the Motown spirit in an excellent rendering.
Feel Like Makin' Love is another of those popular tunes. Rick Braun has elected it for his Best Of Braun, George Benson for his album In Your Eyes, Larry Coryell for his Sketches of Coryell, Lee Ritenour for his Gentle Thoughts. It was a great Roberta Flack hit from 1974 and a good choice for Joe's album.
A Spanish flavoured intro presents Joe on his next cover The Shadow Of Your Smile (Love theme from the Sandpiper).
A total contrasting break to the former smooth pieces is the following tune House of Blues showcasing Joe perfectly playing on distortion and WahWah guitar. Is this his hidden love? Obvious.
So let go down again with a slowtempo based finishing After Hours with some nice guitar rapid scale passages.
- A Touch Of Jazz
What distinguish an excellent guitar album? Catchy melodies, which hook in the memory like Chieli Minucci's Endless Summer or professional performance as Mark Whitfield showcases on numerous albums or just the beautiful sound of a special guitar? All of the above and more is the answer. The music must be emotional, accessible and with the certain groove.
Joe Carmouche 's album has a sensible approach
to this task. One remarks Joe's passion for his guitar and he appreciates to
combine improvisations with melodies. On his first album After Hours
you find the note "This album contains no sampling, drum machines, loops or
sequencing. It was recorded live in the studio. Every effort was made to
authentically produce the true artistry of the musicians.".
It seems, that a lot of musicians of todays Contemporary Jazz scene prefer to cover famous melodies instead of playing in own tunes. I don't know, if this is a special feature of the contemporary instrumental music, but it's a fact. Joe makes no difference. So he starts featuring the mellow soul of "Sweet Thing," a number five million-seller of Rufus & Chaka Khan (1975). The tune freshens up when Joe begins his jazzy improvisations with slick guitar licks.
Selfcomposed is his second tune Foreplay, which he presents on his album in a studio-version and a live-version. On this midtempo tune Joe showcases anew his professionality. The domincance of his attractive solo guitar play is interrupted by Cloris Grimes's smooth soprano sax solo. Nevertheless I would appreciate a little more melody changing than the melodic structure Joe has choosen.
On Caribbean Nights Joe develops a fiery uptempo guitar solo. He is an expert in producing a live atmosphere even in the studio.
Inner City Blues is a cover version of Marvin Gaye's tune he released first time on his legendary album What's Going On (1971). James Reason brilliants on keyboard followed by Joe spectacular guitar solo.
Cloris Grimes starts with a perfect flute solo - reminding at Herbie Mann - the uptempo tune Incognito interluding with Joe's guitar solo. This is the music I love: Vivid, propulsive, prolific and emotional.
Betcha By Golly Wow is a slow contemplative guitar interplay with a sensible intonation. This is a cover version of the brilliant album The Stylistics, the album which was the starting point of the leading Philly Soul group in 1971.
Follow up is Fly Like An Eagle, a catchy melody and the title song from Steve Miller's album, he has released in 1976. Joe plays two woven fantastic guitar solos performing the melody to a higher more jazzy label.
The live version of Foreplay with a duration of 8:02 minutes is a good platform to manifest Joe 's live performance qualities. I strongly recommend Joe's club presentations, which are really unbeatable.
One For The Road, the final tune, is dedicated in memory of Zachary Breaux and Clarence "Grissle" Hollimon. Connoisseurs of this guitarists will get with A Touch Of Jazz an excellent continuation to the former music of these unfortunatedly too early died guitar masters.