It seems like I’ve been a slashie my entire career. You know, one of those artists whose style is defined as this/that/and-the-other without seeming to commit to something. I suppose that’s to be expected when you’re inspired by so many genres when writing and playing your music, but it makes it awfully difficult to describe what it is that you do. Really, your elevator pitch better take place in a VERY tall building!
So here I sit, working away on my seventh solo release and thinking once again that my music is some kind of hybrid and wondering how best to describe it. There’s the New Age sensibility, there’s Jazz harmonies, Classical melodies, some Pop, some World, a little Folk and a whole lot of acoustic guitar — pretty much the same mix as I’ve done since my self-titled debut album Jamie Bonk came out in ’98. [That is, other than my electronic-based album, Side B, that I put out a year or so ago. Yes, I know Side B was quite a course change, but I loved making that record, and I like to think it’s okay for artists to occasionally dip their toes in other stylistic waters.]
But back to the slashie problem because New Age/Jazz/Classical/Pop/Acoustic, or any other slashie hybrid isn’t cutting it for me anymore. I feel a little like Derek Zoolander right now when he asks: “Who am I”? and then answers himself. But here it goes: I’m a New Age Jazz Guitarist. That’s it. No slashies! Sonya, my wife, came up with that off-the-cuff so maybe the Zoolander analogy doesn’t exactly work, but I think the description is a good fit for what I do. New Age Jazz Guitarist. Not one OR the other, but both, which encompass all the other musical elements. I know there may be all kinds of pluses and minuses to committing to this or any other descriptor and I know occasionally that I’m still going to need a long elevator ride to explain what it is that I do. And it’s also true that I’ve now just traded being a slashie for being a compound phraser, but that’s okay because now I feel like I can finally own a label: New Age Jazz Guitarist.