Jimmy Wyble

Jan. 25, 1922 - Jan. 16, 2010                      Port Arthur, TX

Jimmy Wyble was an exceptional guitarist, noted for his contributions to both jazz and Western swing. A native of Port Arthur, Texas, Wyble worked in his early years for a radio station in Houston. In the early 1940s, Wyble and guitarist Cameron Hill played Western swing in a band led by Burt "Foreman" Phillips on local Houston radio. The sound of two guitars attracted Bob Wills, another fan of Western swing, and he hired both men for The Texas Playboys.
 
Wyble served in the Army from 1942 to 1946 and returned to work with Western swing groups into the 1950s. In 1953, he released his first record as a bandleader of The Jimmy Wyble Quintet. The album featured accordion, clarinet, guitar, bass, and drums. That same year, he recorded with Barney Kessel.
 
Soon after, he played in the bands of Benny Goodman and Red Norvo. He spent eight years touring and recording with Norvo, including a tour of Australia backing Frank Sinatra. In the 1960s and 1970s, Wyble played as a session musician and on TV shows such as The Flip Wilson Show and Kraft Music Hall.
 
He studied classical guitar with Laurindo Almeida and
became a revered and highly sought-out guitar instructor; among his students were Howard Roberts, Steve Lukather, Howard Alden, Larry Koonse, and Smokey Hormel. Jimmy played guitar on many soundtracks, including The Wild Bunch, Ocean's Eleven, Woody Allen's Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex, and Kings Go Forth. In the 1970s, he also developed a unique and personal two-line contrapuntal approach to guitar and composed numerous etudes in this style. Many of these pieces were published in various books, including Classical/Country (Howard Roberts-Playback 1973), The Art of Two-Line Improvisation (PMP 1979), and Concepts for the Classical and Jazz Guitar (Mel Bay 2000).

The Jimmy Wyble Quintet performs "Two Lines for Barney."