I know this is a piano forum so may be not the most appropriate place to bring out a guitar player, but since I first discovered Ted Greene music it amazed me beyond the instrument he played. And as time goes by it amazes me even more. It's really weird to me the lack of recognition he has obtained in a wide sense. Outside a small group of people that has no doubt of his astonishing mastery, it seems a complete forgotten musician. Well this oblivion can only be temporary, because Ted Greene music has such quality that it is just a matter of time that he will be rediscovered and placed among the jazz giants where he belongs. I understand he did choose a music career that placed him away from stage, music industry, and fame. But beyond that his music speaks by itself, and just waits to be mainstream rediscovered just as Bach's music did back in the day.
Growing up in L.A. I first heard of Ted Greene when he was the monster rock guitarist playing in local bars. Then Ted got into teaching at the old Ernie Ball guitar store and built quite a reputation there and that is when he started writing his famous book Chord Chemistry. I worked a music school and we had a number of students that studied privately with Ted. Ted's sister (a piano player) started taking classes at the school and I got to be friends with her, and that led to me taking lessons with Ted. Ted loved to teach, study music, and listen and transcribe all styles of music. Ted did play gigs now and then and I remember seeing him on one of those rare occasions playing a club with singer Cathy Segal-Garcia. Ted did a set of solo guitar then a set with Cathy what an amazing night.
Ted was also one of the kindest most gentle people you could ever want to meet. We got along really well because most his students were only into Jazz, but I was fan of old R&B and Blues something Ted was into too. So many lessons would end with me hanging out with Ted and him playing me CD of R&B albums and on the CD inserts you could see notes he wrote to himself about the songs and album. Ted had a huge collection of records and CDs along with a library of theory books and scores he studied.
Ted was a strange guy from stories his sister told me about him, when I talked about his past, and sometimes just the way he'd answer questions. Think was he was just so into music and just living to teach, study, and play he didn't always related to things the way most people do.
In the guitar world he is a legend even other famous guitarists like Joe Pass. Frank Zappa and more knew Ted and were his friends. So at least in the guitar world the legend of Ted Greene will go on for decades to come.
It's awesome you got classes from him. I've read the waiting list to get lessons from him was several years long. I've seen some of them on YouTube and the musical knowledge he shows is just as amazing as his unassuming attitude.
I first listen about him because i played guitar for many years. Now i swifted to piano. But it doesn't matter. When i read books about harmony and composition one of the key words is "smoothness". The way one chord follows another and the way you go from one key to another must be smooth. It's mostly all about being smooth. And I've never seen any musician playing more smooth than Ted did. It's as if smoothness is his trademark. So that's why i think his legacy will be hugely appreciated outside the guitar world someday. He had such a characteristic sound. Any musician no matter what instrument he plays would grow from studying Ted's style.