Jim Kanas: Jazz Guitarist - Folk Musician  
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Jim Kanas is an American roots musician, jazz guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, folk musician, independent artist, BMI artist, award winning guitarist, educator, producer with over twenty five years experience as a performer and educator. The Chicago tribune calls Kanas " ...a master..." Pat Donahue, A Prairie Home Companion writes, "In Jim Kanas' playing Doc Watson peacefully coexists with Joe Pass. Creating a distinct personal style from such disparate influences isn't easy to do. Jim pulls it off with aplomb." Corky Siegel writes, "Jim Kanas has become his instrument." Jim Kanas conducts assemblies, educational programming, breakout groups, short-term residencies, long-term residencies, school programming, in-services, workshops, teacher training, hands-on programming, cultural programming, children's programming, music programs, enrichment programming, etc... throughout Illinois including the Chicagoland area and Midwest. Jim is an artist-in-residence and Illinois Arts Council ArtsTour artist with Illinois Arts Council. As a visiting artist he implements American Folk Music and/or American roots programs which trace the development of American music by its ethnical influences. He brings the arts in the schools Mr. Kanas is an American Roots Musician and jazz guitar improvisationalist. He plays multiple styles and is a multi-instrumentalist. His role as a muti-instrumentalist evolved out of being a sideman and studio player in country oriented bands Jim Kanas plays guitar, fiddle, doblro, pedal steel guitar, banjo, harmonic, mandolin, fiddle, violin, dobro, resophonic guitar, Native American flute, harmonica and five string banjo. In educational programs he plays limberjacks, spoons and many percussion and pocket instruments and sings. Jim plays in the styles of jazz, bluegrass, American folk music, swing, blues, mainstream jazz, contemporary jazz, traditional jazz, old-time, hillbilly, rock and roll, western swing, country, country and western, country blues, classical and other. Jim bridges classical to folk music and is eclectic in concert. Kanas went to school in Boston to be acclimated to that environment. Later, he went to Northern Illinois University and played with the lab band and small combos there. He studied fretboard theory with George Christensen, a master student of Dennis Sandoli (Pat Martino studied with Sandoli). At NIU Kanas studied arranging with Frank Mantooth and composition with Oscar Haugland and earned an interdisciplinary music degree with emphasis in contemporary improvisational guitar skills and American music Jim is influenced by, studied and played the music of Joe Pass, McCoy Tyner, Oscar Peterson, Blue Mitchell, Freddy Hubbard, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Chick Corea, George Benson, Rahsaan Rolan Kirk, Stanley Turrentine, Charlie Parker, Tal Farlow, Pat Martino and others. Also, the influences of Bob Wills, Django Reinhardt and Norman Blake filtered in and Muddy Waters who lived several miles from Jim's boyhood home. Jim Kanas was personally encouraged by many. He transcribed Wes Montgomery solos note for note and at age fifteen, and was introduced to eighteen year old guitarist Pat Metheny at the Aebersold Clinics one year later and then later George Benson. Jim was placed in a group with Pat's friend and drummer, Dan Gottlieb and was inspired and motivated by the clinicians at the Aebersold camps, many of whom who were teaching at Berkeley School of Music. Jim performed with young saxophonist Bill Evans locally and "older cats" from Northwestern University and the Chicago area. He heard and played popular music by Jimi Hendrix and the Beatles. Jim Kanas has appeared on WTTW11, Chicago PPS, concerts, festivals, coffee houses, colleges and broadcast media throughout Illinois and the Midwest. Jim has jammed with many including, Allison Krause, Corky Siegel, Steve Goodman, Vassar Clements, Jethro Burns, The Nashville Cats, Eddy Clearwater, Randy Sabien, Harvey Ried, Bill Evans, and The Piper Road Spring Band. He has opened shows for Jim Brown and Cal Smith, and has recorded several film sound tracks and radio shows including broadcasts of W.D.C.B's "Jazz Monday" Jim has worked with legendary singer/song writer, and Grammy nominee Jim Post on his Galena Rose Recording, has been featured on "Arts Across Illinois" WTTW/Chicago BPS. When "1000 Acres" featuring Michelle Fifers, Jason Robars and Jessica Lang came to DeKalb and Ogle County in Northern Illinois, Jim was asked to entertain for the cast. Jim Kanas' professional collaborations have included concerts, recordings and/or performances with other Midwest musicians such as harmonica/pianist, Howard Levy; violinists, Johnny Frigo, Randy Sabien and Peter Ostroushko; mandolinist, Don Stiernberg; bassist, Larry Gray; blues man, Eddy Snow; guitarists, Muriel Anderson and Fareed Haque; percussionist, Rubén P. Alvarez; saxophonist, Ron Dewar and others.

The Chicago tribune calls Kanas
" ...a master..."

"In Jim Kanas' playing Doc Watson peacefully coexists with Joe Pass. Creating a distinct personal style from such disparate influences isn't easy to do. Jim pulls it off with aplomb."
Pat Donahue, A Prairie Home Companion

"Jim is a world class guitarist.... I knew right away he was a world class guitarist.”
Victor Wooten



Funding and Programming opportunities through...

ArtsTour/ Illinois Presenters Network


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