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Josh Workman began playing guitar at age 10 and by the tender age of 13 was already out performing in the smoke-filled bars of San Francisco's infamous North Beach. While still underage, he spent many nights hiding out in the back rooms of these clubs, as the venue owners tried to conceal him from the beat cops patrolling the area. At times, Josh's school teachers would come watch him perform into the wee-hours, always wondering if he would be too tired to make it to class the next morning. Through his high school years, Josh attended the School of the Arts during the day, all the while continuing to perform and record at night and on weekends. Some of his earliest guitar teachers included Ray Scott, Tuck Andress (Tuck & Patti), Dave Creamer and Bruce Foreman.
After a year at Berklee School of Music in Boston, at age 19 Josh left to finish his studies at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City. This is where he fully immersed himself in learning to play jazz guitar. His mentors there included Gene Bertoncini, Jim Hall and Vic Juris. Thanks to pianist Armen Donelian, Josh began transcribing the music of John Abercrombie for German publisher, Advance Music. This led to a 5-year stint as house transcriber for Warner Bros., Hal Leonard and other publishers. Also during this time, he recorded and performed with artists such as world music ensemble D'Vash, The Jazz Passengers (featuring Deborah Harry of Blondie) and offshoots of the Groove Collective.
Soon after his return to the Bay Area in 1995, Josh joined the renowned jump-swing band, Indigo Swing. It was during this period that he honed in on the jump-blues and early guitar styles of T-Bone Walker, Charlie Christian, Django Reinhardt and Tiny Grimes. During the neo-swing craze of the late 1990s, Indigo Swing was regarded as one of the bands leading the pack, touring internationally and performing 200-300 dates per year. Brian Setzer, recognizing their impact on the scene, invited them to tour with him and his orchestra (The Brian Setzer Orchestra) in support of his double platinum release The Dirty Boogie. Indigo Swing headlined many prestigious festivals around the globe such as the Stuttgart Jazz Festival in Germany, where they shared the stage with legends Rosemary Clooney, Lionel Hampton and vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater. The group also enjoyed some crossover success, selling well over 100,000 CDs nationwide.
In September of 2004, while touring as a member of the Hot Club of San Francisco, Josh's anticipated debut CD Jumpin' At The Border hit the shelves, furthering his growing reputation as a bandleader. The CD reflects the many variations of jazz in which Josh is well versed. Among the talented musicians featured on this recording is pianist and arranger Larry Vuckovich, who has performed with a multitude of jazz greats including Dexter Gordon, Philly Joe Jones and Jon Hendricks. Sharing the spotlight on drums are two former members of Sarah Vaughan's band; Harold Jones, who was also a member of the Count Basie Orchestra and Omar Clay, who performed with Charles Mingus and recorded on/produced Elvin Jones' M'Boom recordings. Lending his fiery Latin percussion to the mix is Grammy-nominee and Tito Puente alum John Santos. Dynamic vocalist Kim Nalley also performs on two tracks.
Josh currently leads his Jazz and World Music trio and quartet in the San Francisco Bay Area. Besides his work as a bandleader, Josh continues to be an in-demand sideman; he has performed and/or recorded with saxophonist Houston Person, actress/vocalist Lynda Carter, vocalist Connie Evingson, pianist Larry Vuckovich, vocalist Kim Nalley and many others. In between gigs, Josh has recorded music for software companies, such as Ubi-Soft, Nintendo, and Apple (Jazz guitar parts in GarageBand application) and written music for film and other functions. In addition to his busy performance and music composition/arranging schedule, Josh has written for publications such as Guitar Player and Stringletter Publishing, gives workshops, and does audio/video lessons for Truefire and other music instruction sites.
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