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Jimmy Wyble

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

Jimmy Wyble is esteemed for his contributions to the guitar world, both as a player with “kings” and teacher.


 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, known as “The King of Western Swing,” and he hired both men for his band, 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 album 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 worked with Benny Goodman “The King of Swing” and Red Norvo “Mr. Jazz.” 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. Wyble played guitar on many soundtracks, including The Wild BunchOcean'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), and Concepts for the Classical and Jazz Guitar (Mel Bay 2000). In 1979, Wyble wrote his own book, The Art of Two-Line Improvisation (updated and re-released in 2001). - M.B. 

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