Tom Gavornik
  • Male
  • Red Bank, NJ
  • United States
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  • Dick Metcalf, aka Rotcod Zzaj
  • Pete Cummings
  • Michael Stokes
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With over forty years of professional experience as a teacher, producer/arranger, jazz guitarist/composer, Tom Gavornik, has gained national attention with strong sales and radio play throughout this country and Europe. His past releases have received the highest critical praise from many music publications and radio personalities. BIOGRAPHY
As we burst into the new Millennium, our musical crusade to find the leaders of a new movement should leave no stone unturned. Many of the 21 st century's future Coltranes, McCartneys, and the like have yet to be born. But there is no question that just as many leaders of the new era are alive and well and have already been productive in the last century. One such trailblazer, Recording artist Tom Gavornik, has been shaping the direction of Jazz guitar since the mid-1960's. With the arrival of his fifth recording, Just Talking , Mr. Gavornik has captured the imagination of jazz aficionados around the world. His most relaxed, confident, and groundbreaking recording to date, Just Talking will elevate Tom Gavornik's reputation to the highest echelon of composers and performers in the modern age of Jazz. So slip in the disc, sit back, relax, and revel in the knowledge that you are listening to the dawning of a new era in American music.
Like so many others, Tom vividly remembers the arrival of The Beatles onto the American music scene in February of 1963. The deceptively simple melodies and harmonies packaged into memorable songs captivated the young man. He vowed to save enough money to buy an electric guitar, and upon acquiring the instrument, work diligently at becoming a proficient player. Tom eventually bought a guitar, and in an effort to quench his insatiable thirst for learning, he used to lug it miles and miles around his hometown to watch other players perform. He drove more than one player crazy by standing directly in front of the stage with his own guitar, watching intently, trying to memorize the movements of accomplished fingers along the fretboard. In addition to his jaunts to local performances, Tom studied rhythm guitar with a local teacher and immediately learned the importance of composition and feel over style and flash.
As Tom's playing progressed, he began to gig locally 3 or 4 nights a week. His

interest in rock guitar was furthered as innovators like Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimi Hendrix brought their hybrid blues styles to the forefront of popular music. When Tom came across a guitarist named Jim Stringer, who in Tom's words was “thirty years ahead of his time,” he was moved to break out of the pentatonic scales that so dominated his playing to that point and cross into uncharted musical territory. In 1969, Tom formed an improvisational trio called TNT. The three members took the styles of the aforementioned guitarists and melded them with jazzier instrumentalists like Miles Davis, Wes Montgomery, and George Benson. Tom continued to hone his chops, and in 1973 he found a teacher and mentor in the incomparable Harry Leahey. The new instructor encouraged Tom to eschew the practice of only learning the standards and instead focus on his own compositions. His first original songs drew comparisons to progressive rock groups like Yes and Deep Purple, and gave a hint of the direction Tom would pursue later in life. He became a firm believer in mastering and incorporating theory without depending on it for his original material. Therefore, he was able to quickly develop his own style and feel, which he continued to hone at the direction of Harry Leahey. In what has become a hallmark of his sound throughout his career, Tom always believed that the music and composition were more important than his desire to show off his chops. While not afraid to compose and execute the most difficult passages, he never lost focus of the ultimate goal, the communication of the song to the audience.
The next logical step in Tom's career was to record and preserve his musical
ideas for posterity. In the early 1980's, he recorded 2 LP's, Songs of The Harvest (1981) and Finally Home (1983). Both records received substantial local and regional college airplay in the Tri-State area, and Tom quickly became a well-known guitarist in and around New York City . He gigged and recorded diligently throughout the 1980's, and from 1985-89 Tom compiled original material for what would ultimately be his first release. With the release of Playgrounds, Tom turned a corner in his personal and professional life. Over the next two years, he spent time producing other artists and reflecting on his own success. He had purged his personal demons and come to a place of comfort in his musical career. But as he worked with other musicians on their material, he began to grow restless with the need to write and record. The first tune from Just Talking to emerge, “Aftermath,” was written in one sitting and captures all of the new energy in Tom's writing. The first single, titled “Children of Promise,” has an almost comical feel, and is a perfect illustration of how the guitar can be an effective vocal instrument in the hands of a supremely
talented, intuitive player. All of the songs on the new double CD represent what Tom has always believed, that the best music is only about communication between the artist and listener. Just Talking may prove to be the most innovative Jazz release of the first part of the new millennium, an eclectic masterpiece, and an example of pure music at the highest level. Tom Gavornik is an incredibly eclectic musician. Gavornik has studied, performed, recorded and collaborated with a host of musical luminaries: Harry Leahey (Grammy Award winner), Phil Woods, Eric Kloss, Gerry Mulligan, and Ira Sullivan, just to name a few.

He maintains the philosophy that Chuck Berry is as relevant as Charles Ives. "Bird" is as important as Bach or Beethoven. Aaron Copland is as cool as Johnny Cash and John and Paul share the same place in popular music as Rodgers and Hammerstein.

The latest recording, “Flip It” was recorded with and Produced by bassist Pete Cummings (Michael Hill's Blues Mob,The Burt Conrad Allstars) also none other than the legend Bernard “Pretty” Purdie, who has also worked with Miles Davis, The Beatles, Steely Dan and Aretha Franklin, King Curtis, and many more, provides the drums.

As we listen to those that laid the groundwork for what we know and love as Jazz, it is only natural to wonder who the next great masters will be and where they will take us. The only certainty is that Tom Gavornik will have his hands firmly on the wheel, and that the journey has just begun

Profile Information

Where are you located?
Red Bank,New Jersey
What is your affiliation to the Jazz World?
Musical Artist, Producer, Educator, Clinician, Music Director, Arranger, Composer
Tell us a little about your background...
Recording artist Tom Gavornik, has been shaping the direction of Jazz guitar since the mid-1960's. With the arrival of his fifth recording, Just Talking , Mr. Gavornik has captured the imagination of jazz aficionados around the world. His most relaxed, confident, and groundbreaking recording to date, Just Talking will elevate Tom Gavornik's reputation to the highest echelon of composers and performers in the modern age of Jazz. History: Flip It - 2009 Along Time Ago - 2007 Acceleration - 2006 Soul Cry - 2005 Perfectly Flawed - 2003 Just Talking - 2002 Playgrounds - 2000 Promise Fulfilled - 1995 Finally Home - 1983 Songs of the Harvest - 1981...With the release of FLIP IT, a 1 CMJ-charting Jazz album, once again announces the genius of Tom Gavornik to the world. The tenth release of Gavornik's illustrious career, FLIP IT is an energetic and extemporaneous hustle down the Main Street of Tom's influences. Sweet and chiming leads and brooding rhythms sing through a hot-rodded Telecaster and Roland guitar synth. Directly meandering and deceptively simple, FLIP IT is washing down your jazz blood pressure meds with coffee. A player of over 40 years experience, Tom Gavornik is established as the leader in imrov jazz guitar and production in the Tri-state area of the United States.
How did you hear about the Jazz Network? Please give full name of contact
Pete Cummings
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Comment Wall (2 comments)

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At 6:06pm on June 29, 2010, Steve Clarke said…
Thanks for writing man, yeah this music biz is tough. I've been riding that same wave but, Love music so much.
You do need a agent, or know someone that books the club. It's pretty tuff because you need Airlines, hotels, transportation ... But all is possible with Faith. I'm not the one that could hook you up but hope I can inspire you to keep on pushing forward.
See your in NJ ? I'm in CT. close by maybe will get a chance to play as well. Holla anytime
Hear my CD here
It was with Mike Stern and others.
Thanks for writing
At 3:16pm on November 19, 2009, D*** Metcalf, aka Rotcod Zzaj said…
Hi, Tom - truly diggin' yer' tuneage... hope you'll consider sending me anything you've got in need of review! You can contact me at if you want to discuss it more, or check out the 'zine (IMPROVIJAZZATION NATION) at WAY cool music you're doing!







Jaijai, what a wonderful mission you've undertaken to create such a place for artistic minds to meet and share their hearts. A place to renew faded determinations, and revive lessened momentums. A place to display our wares and reconfirm to one another that we actually are on the right track.

I commend you, Jaijai, for caring so much that you created this castle of the heart for all of us. I want to share my praise for all of the new friends as well as old friends that I've met and will meet here in our castle. Here we can garnish the where-with-all, the strength, the conviction, and the selflessness through our symbiosis, to share our gift to the world with an unbiased agenda.

My mentor, Daisaku Ikeda says of art: "A beautiful flower delights and refreshes the hearts of all people equally, no matter what soil it grows in. That is the power of beauty. The same is true of great art. It is this spirit that the German poet Heinrich Heine sang of when he wrote that once the peapod bursts open, the sugar peas inside are for everyone to enjoy."

Let's be audacious, my friends!

Buster Williams


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