“Ken Hatfield can easily be called the modern day Fernando Sor. His Etudes for Solo Guitar in 24 Keys are really beautiful melodic and harmonic pieces.” – Gene Bertoncini
“Etudes for Solo Guitar in 24 Keys is a very well-written book. Ken Hatfield explores all 24 keys with excellent results. Great for the advanced student and the professional as well.” – Jorge Morel
“It’s a treat to stumble across fresh guitar sounds and novel concepts, and guitarist Ken Hatfield offers both…. Hatfield’s playing is brainy, dynamic, and relentlessly melodic.” – Andy Ellis, Guitar Player
18 Aug 2008 -- Written and performed by the award-winning composer and guitarist KEN HATFIELD, Etudes for Solo Guitar in 24 Keys (Arthur Circle Music) reveals the imagination, creativity, and formidable technique that have become Ken’s trademark and have earned him widespread recognition as a musician and composer of extraordinary talent and originality. In 2006 the ASCAP Foundation honored Ken with its prestigious Vanguard Award in recognition of his “innovative and distinctive music that is charting new directions in jazz,” and Ken’s new book/CD Etudes for Solo Guitar in 24 Keys provides a delightful entrée into his musical world for fans and fellow guitarists alike. While the book and CD are sold together, fans can also purchase the CD separately, exclusively at his website.
The book demonstrates Ken’s musical thoughts in detail and is accompanied by a CD featuring his performances of the compositions, which are designed to take guitarists and listeners on an exploration of the twelve major and twelve minor keys of the harmonic system that forms the basis of all western music. But this is no mere pedagogical exercise, as even a casual listening will attest. Ken’s etudes have been favorably compared to Chopin‘s, which, though written for educational purposes, are imbued with such intriguing musical content that they have become staples of the concert stage. While conceived as a group, each of Hatfield’s etudes stands alone as a fully independent work. They explore a wide variety of forms and moods that run the stylistic gamut, ranging from the elegiac poignancy of Etude 4 (Prayer for June), to the lilting chôro of Etude 17, to Etude 23’s witty dialogue between a reggae groove and a fugue.
In addition to addressing a variety of compositional forms and styles, these etudes facilitate the development of the skills required for a sound modern classical guitar technique. As Gene Bertoncini aptly observed, Ken’s etudes “explore just about every technique involved in performance, from bringing out melodies, to inner voice movement, to bass line movement, while articulating chord voicings. They provide added repertoire while paving the way for personal creativity.”
These etudes are as enjoyable and engaging to listen to as they are to perform. They fit well into Hatfield’s impressive catalogue of compositions, the quality of which has earned him recognition as “one of the most skilled, creative, and original guitarist/composers currently recording” (Ron Forbes- Roberts, Acoustic Guitar). Hatfield’s 24 etudes are destined to be embraced by guitarists wishing to expand their repertoire, and audiences in search of compelling new music.
KEN HATFIELD’s compositional experience covers a wide range of styles and instrumentations. In addition to composing jazz works for his own ensembles, he has written chamber pieces that range from solo classical guitar to string quartet and mixed ensembles of various sizes. He has composed choral works and ballet scores, including commissioned works for Judith Jamison, The Washington Ballet Company, and the Maurice Béjart Ballet Company. And he has written scores for television and film, including Eugene Richards’ award-winning documentary but, the day came. Arthur Circle Music has published five books of Hatfield’s compositions, and in 2005 Mel Bay published his book Jazz and the Classical Guitar: Theory and Application, which is designed to demonstrate Ken’s unique approach to playing jazz on a classical guitar. Ken has released seven CDs as a leader on the Arthur Circle Music label. All feature him performing his original compositions, four in ensemble settings.
In addition to performing as a solo artist and with his ensembles at such prestigious venues as The JVC Jazz Festival, The Knitting Factory, The Classic American Guitar Show, The Smithsonian Jazz Café, The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the Whitney Sculpture Court, and the North Wales International Jazz Guitar Festival, Hatfield has performed and/or recorded with Charlie Byrd, Jack McDuff, Chico Hamilton, Jimmy McGriff, Maurice Hines, Charles Aznavour, Bob Cranshaw, Grady Tate, Harold Maburn, Marcus Miller, Kenny Kirkland, Dom Salvador, João Donato, Claudio Roditi, Lew Tabackin, Kenny Werner, Ben E. King, Eddie Kendricks, Marlena Shaw, Vivian Reed, Z.Z. Hill, and Toni Braxton.