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Jeff Golub Transitions from Rock to Jazz with 'Grand Central'

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How does a rock guitarist who played with Rod Stewart and Billy Squier wind up becoming one of today's best-selling "smooth jazz" artists? As VOA's Doug Levine tells us, Jeff Golub's transition from rocker to jazzman was actually quite smooth.

Jeff Golub fans like to say Jeff is a rock musician who happens to play jazz. True, Jeff's musical roots are in rock and blues, dating back to his pre-teen years in Akron, Ohio, listening to guitar greats Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King and Buddy Guy. Jeff later heard the music of jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery, which inspired him to enroll in Boston's Berklee College of Music. Although his stay at Berklee was brief, it opened the door to extensive session work with a variety of rock and R&B stars, as well as a high-profile stint with Billy Squier.

Jeff's two musical worlds came together in 1988, when he became Rod Stewart's guitarist and recorded his first album as a leader.

Jeff Golub performed on four albums and five world tours with Rod Stewart before leaving to continue his rising jazz career. He started the group Avenue Blue and recorded solo albums under his own name.

Fusing rock and blues with contemporary jazz and improvisation, Jeff developed a distinctive sound that separates himself from the rest of the "smooth jazz" pack. He says, "The kind of smooth jazz I like is palatable and accessible but still soulful and bluesy."

Jeff Golub's latest release, Grand Central, features an all-star horn section that lends a funky and casual feel to the album's 11 tracks. Jeff is trying out a few new songs on his current "Guitars and Saxes" tour, featuring guitarist Tim Bowman and saxophonists Kirk Whalum and Gerald Albright.

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