David Tronzo has devoted most of his life to music since he first became mesmerized by it as a youthful rock influenced teenager in the summer of 1970. He has literally and figuratively “traveled far” from his beginnings in rural Rochester, New York, where he was born in 1957, steadily honing his skills as a self-taught student to his modern-day evolution to becoming a world-renowned slide guitar musician and teacher.
Tronzo has received the distinction of being voted one of the “Top 100 Guitarists of the 20th Century” by Musician Magazine (September, 1993 issue). In addition, the pundits in New York City bestowed their long-time resident (1979-2002) with more accolades (“Best Guitarist in N.Y.C.-1993” by the New York Press). Musician Magazine honored him with the distinction of being one of the “Top Ten Jazz Guitarists.”
Tronzo’s unquenchable thirst for mastering his craft has provided him with a diversified taste in music, which can be seen in his unique playing style. Essentially, Tronzo envisions a style ranging widely in emotion and technique, weaving freely through all of the music he plays. The result is a startlingly innovative body of extended techniques for the slide guitar for which he is credited with creating: fluid single lines, finger-behindthe-slide chords, and harmonic slaps, using unconventional slide accoutrements such as plastic cups, rags, pencils and wires. His “inventiveness” as a slide guitarist has been the subject of two doctoral candidates’ ethnomusicology theses in Germany (1995 and 2001). In February 2002, critic Laurence Donahue-Greene credited Tronzo as being “a pioneer of the modern slide guitar.” (Open Ears column, allaboutjazz.com)
Tronzo has toured extensively in Europe and the United States, gracing the stages of the most renowned international music festivals in the world. He has teamed up with acclaimed musicians in various duos and projects under his name (Tronzo Quartet/Tronzo Project), as well as others. He is linked with some of the most famous names in musicianship (e.g., David Bowie guitarist Reeves Gabrels and Michael Blake). Tronzo’s slide guitar can also be heard in the soundtracks to director Robert Altman’s film “Shortcuts” and Marco Brambilla’s “Excess Baggage.” He has also recorded and toured with Wayne Horvitz and The President, John Hiatt, John Lurie and The Lounge Lizards, John Cale, Marshall Crenshaw, Foday Muso Suso, Hassan Hakmoun, Gavin Friday, The Jazz Passengers, Mike Manieri, and David Sanborn. Most recently, Tronzo was nominated as one of thirty musicians worldwide to receive the CalArts/Alpert Award in the Arts for music.
Tronzo is touring and recording in a solo format as well as with The Tronzo Trio (new CD release pending), The Tronzo/Herbert Duo with bassist Peter Herbert, and a new project “V-16” with drummer Jerry Granelli, bassist Anthony Cox and guitarist Christian Kogel (new CD release pending).
In a Guitar World review of Tronzo’s performance, critic Bill Milkowski (July 1988) gushed: “The first time I heard Dave Tronzo, my hair stood on end…. His guitaristic voice was so strong, so developed and self-assured, so different that it grabbed my ears and blew my mind!” New Yorker Magazine (August 1994) blared: “Tronzo is some kind of mad scientist, having spliced together two completely disparate idioms-slide guitar and bebop jazz. On a bad night, he sounds like Duane Allman grafted onto Charlie Parker. On a good night, he’s like nothing you’ve ever heard before.
Tronzo has been teaching private lessons for over 25 years, and has taught hundreds of students. He is also a clinician and performs workshops and master classes wherever he tours. Tronzo is currently an Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston, an Artist in Residence at Haystack Mountain in Deer Isle, Maine, and a Visiting Artist at HDK in Berlin, Germany. As a music teacher, he treats his pupils as he would his listeners, which number into the tens of thousands: he mesmerizes them with an appreciation for the gift of new and unique sounds, inculcating in them his own unquenchable thirst for music that will keep them exploring the sounds of music for the rest of their lives.
The first time I heard Dave Tronzo, my hair stood on end…His guitaristic voice was so strong, so developed and self-assured, so different that it grabbed my ears and blew my mind!
Tronzo is some kind of mad scientist, having spliced together two completely disparate idioms slide guitar and bebop jazz. On a bad night, he sounds like Duane Allman grafted onto Charlie Parker. On a good night, he’s like nothing you’ve ever heard before.
Creating an altogether new and emotional language via the sounds, technique, creativity, and brilliant approach he possesses and plays on his electric bottleneck slide guitar, Tronzo is a pioneer of the ...