"Josh Maxey shines as guitarist, composer, improviser, teacher, and bandleader.... Maxey's brush strokes throughout encompass textures and emotions of a musical masterpiece of many colors that highlight his ability as a prolific musician." – Bob Morello, Boston Post Gazette
"Celebration Of Soul's dreamy soundscapes give way to catchy funky noodling but it's the more reflective moments that give one pause to consider Maxey a potential great.... The wealth of extremes on this Celebration gives it the kind of listenability that bodes well for repeated spins. I swear, I hear new things on it with each listen. That, right there, is the essence of a keeper."– Mike Greenblatt, Classicalite
Josh Maxey is a musician and guitar teacher based in Denver, CO. Josh’s music has been played all around the world on jazz radio and has received dozens of critical reviews. Josh teaches full time online one on one lessons as well as classes with his Guitar Heads School. Maxey Archtops partners with Phred Instruments to design and build a line of hand made, high end, made to order guitars.
Originally from Roanoke, Virginia, Josh Maxey began playing guitar at age 12. Some of his earliest memories are of music and those moments have led to a lifetime of playing, writing and teaching music. Baked into the core of his musical being are the influence of John Coltrane, the blues, Trey Anasasio and The Grateful Dead. Josh’s earliest influences were favorite recording and three guitar teachers: Flip Shoemaker and Tim Martin in Roanoke, VA and Rodney Jones in NYC where he attended The New School Jazz and Contemporary Music Program. The faculty features a list of renowned artists, and Josh was able to study with Chico Hamilton, Reggie Workman, Charles Tolliver, Vic Juris, Ed MacEachen and Jim Hall.
Josh began his playing and teaching career upon graduation with a BFA in Jazz Performance in 2003. His fist students were in his teaching studio in Park Slope, Brooklyn where he taught 25+ private lessons per week and partnered with local music stores. His trio Plan A played at 55 Bar, Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Knitting Factory and had a residency at Brooklyn’s Magnolia Cafe among others. Plan A played weekly featuring original compositions and recorded 2001’s Plan A self titled debut and 2003’s Second Circle for Full On Records. During this time taking part in the nyc scene, as well as working as a studio assistant, gave the opportunity to be around some of his favorite music legends, getting to know the musicians and learning how they work up close. George Benson, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Pat Metheny and others were important influences during this time.
In 2011 Maxey began releasing a series of albums. First was a 6 albums in 12 months recording project with some of the greatest musicians in NYC. This recording series documented 50 original compositions with more than 20 musicians. Recorded in Brooklyn studios, the releases were: Incarnate (2011), Approach (2011), The Language of Sound and Spirit (2012), Argument for the Blues (2012), Light Cycles (2012), Blues in the Kitchen (2012), Cycles of Sound (Live Album and 6 of 6 of the series, 2013), Rhythm Of The Sound Current (2013), Completing the Cycle (2014), and Celebration of Soul (2015) which was released on NYC jazz label Miles High Records. Celebration featured musicians from the series and as the 10th album bookended the style of composition and creative direction of the 10 album work. It was reviewed dozens of times favorably and received world wide jazz radio play and success on the jazz charts. Maxey relocated to Denver CO, where he continued to play and record, playing festivals, Dazzle Jazz Club, Nocturne Jazz Club and other local venues. He performs most often with Maxey Jenkins Hines along with Jeff Jenkins on organ and Dameion Hines on drums. The band focuses on original material exploring a shared journey with the material. He has shared the stage in CO with dozens of fellow musicians in multiple venues.
Josh lives in the Denver, CO area with his young family. Josh teaches and plays music full time, changing over to all online teaching in early 2020. Guitar Heads School offers private one on one lessons and group classes. Current class curriculum is: Modes 1 & 2, Core Changes 1, 2 & 3, Beginners Theory and Jazz Guitar Heads. Maxey created and curates Phish Guitar Heads, an online guitar learning community with 2800+ members. His lessons often focus on Improvisation, Jazz, Phish Guitar Lessons, studies of Theory, Technique, Creative topics, Songs, blues and the music of the Grateful Dead.
Josh partners with Phred Instruments to design and build a line of high end guitars. Maxey Archtops is the collaborative archtop division of Phred, focussing on making hand made one of a kind guitars. Each MA is luthier built featuring construction methods drawn from the very best in the history of jazz guitar. Each guitar is made to order featuring beautiful hand carved tops and backs as well as bent sides. The instruments are meant to inspire with their beauty while offering the rich harmonic and responsive sound one can only get in a hand made guitar.
In The Press
“I am a huge fan of the Phred Instruments Dockstar. It has helped me to get some sounds that I’ve been hearing for decades but never found in the guitars I had before. The best thing about it is that I genuinely enjoy playing it.
"Josh Maxey is a Denver Jazz Guitar player who shares with us his musical background; how hearing John Coltrane changed everything; his relationship with Jazz greats Chico Hamilton and Rodney Jones; and how – in three years – he’s released ten CD’s resulting in over 50 original tunes with twenty musicians! An inspiring and entertaining read."
05-12-2017 - Interview on JazzGuitarLife.com
"I immediately dug Josh’s compositional flavor and found that his guitar voice ran the gamut of contemporary Jazz Guitar while retaining the traditional spirit of those who came before him."
04-11-2016 - Review of Celebration of Soul, JazzGuitarLife by Lyle Robinson
"Josh Maxey is a cerebral guitarist who is willing to challenge jazz conventions, with his own vision of the music, which may not prove to be “everyone’s cup of tea” as the saying goes. Nevertheless Celebration Of Soul will undoubtedly find an audience that is willing to climb on board the train of this venturesome guitarist."
11-26-2015 - Review of Celebration of Soul, Audiophile Audition by Pierre Giroux
"The rhythm section creates a deep pocket on “Cycles of Sound,” with Maxey sounding in control yet exciting throughout. Toe tappers!"
11-12-2015 - Review of Celebration of Soul, JazzWeekly by George W. Harris
"The compositions are by Josh and they have a staying kind of constancy. His solo work is quite good, too. It's music that comes through with excitement and yes, a soulful expressivity."
11-02-2015 - Review of Celebration of Soul, GapplegateGuitar by Grego Applegate Edwards
"Celebration of Soul is an edgy, upbeat piece. It’s like sounds one might expect from a hybrid of the Chick Corea Elektric Band, Fourplay and Tom Scott. Maxey, Charette and Baird take turns out front, with Noller firmly engaged throughout."
10-10-2015 - Review of Celebration of Soul, TheJazzWriter, by Woodrow Wilkins
"Guitarist Maxey brings the listener back to the primal element of soul...."
09-29-2015 - Review of Celebration of Soul, by JazzChill
"As the face of jazz expands, involving a metamorphosis of sorts, I was relieved to hear a recording that celebrates the soul of fusion, funk and straight ahead with organ, guitar and drums standing strong in center stage."
09-20-2015 - Review of Celebration of Soul, DeeDeesJazzDiary by Dee Dee Mcneil
"Maxey makes an impression as both composer and guitarist on the whole program. "Culmination" evokes the spirit of John Coltrane, one of Maxey's stated influences."
09-18-2015 - Review of Celebration of Soul, AllAboutJazz by Mark Sullivan
"The organ trio is the chosen vehicle for his guitar voice. He plays jazz infusing the feeling and power of the blues. His influences include John Coltrane and Jimmy Page and although he plays songs he loves to smear them together into extended suites.
09-14-2015 - Radio Interview for JazzNewEngland by Gordon Forman
"This is leader, kick-ass guitarist, Maxey's 10th release and, like the previous nine, features his original compositions."
09-13-2015 - Review of Celebration of Soul, BebopSpokenHere by Lance Liddle
"Guitarist Maxey’s music always had an ethereal component to its sound, often bolstered by tempos that came with their own set of wings."
09-01-2015 - Review of Celebration of Soul, BirdIsTheWorm by Dave Sumner
"Maxey is a fluid and melodic player whose solos flow with grace and whose fills blend beautifully with the group or current soloist’s lead."
09-01-2015 - WTJU FM, New Jazz by Dave Rogers
"Add Josh Maxey to the long list of guitarists who have changed the music itself. His tenth CD in the last three years is enlarging the vocabulary for six-stringed jazz."
08-21-2015 - Review of Celebration of Soul, Classicalite by Mike Greenblatt
"In the midst of the numerous sounds any jazz listener can be exposed to, it's hard for a performer to distinguish themselves from the crowd. Guitarist Josh Maxey,in an undoubtable effort of seeking original sounds, has taken up that challenge since 2011 and composed ten albums."
08-01-2014 - Review of Completing The Cycle, AllAboutJazz by Medhi El Mouden
"Maxey has offered up a series of remarkable sets, distinguishable from one another, yet clearly springing from the same creative source. Differentiation, yet maintaining cohesion. Modern jazz that’s clearly beholden to the blues, Maxey has carved out a nice little corner of the music world with his identifiable sound."
01-31-2013 - Interview for BirdIsTheWorm by Dave Sumner
"Interestingly, there is more of an emphasis on atmospherics than developing a groove, something that works in the album’s favor. If Maxey played build-a-funky-groove with Charette on organ, his guitar’s voice would get needlessly bogged down. Instead, Maxey lets Charette develop the earth part of the tunes while letting his guitar take to the skies. The result is a jazz-blues mix more akin to the wide open desert landscapes than late night jazz clubs."
07-02-2012 - Review of Approach, BirdIsTheWorm by Dave Sumer
"Sometimes it's all about setting the tone. If done right, if the musician finds a way to indelibly stamp the album's vision in those brief opening moments, no matter what comes after, those notes are imprinted on the listener's ears."
04-28-2012 - Review of The Language of Sound and Spirit, AllAboutJazz by Dave Sumer
"Approach is the second album in an extended suite of six. Maxey falls into the uber-productive category with his plan to release the suite within two years. I have a hard time wrapping my head around this musical feat."
11-16-2011 - Review of Approach, TalesOfARedClayRambler by Ben Carter
"The musicians....draw influence from masters such as Rodney Jones and Grant Green. These grooves are mellow overall, ranging from laid back to intense moments as skills are shown on solo performances led by each creative and original composition. "
11-01-2011 - Review of Approach, CratesOfJr, by JR
"Maxey's brush strokes throughout encompass textures and emotions of a musical masterpiece of many colors that highlight his ability as a prolific musician." – Bob Morello, Boston Post Gazette
"Add Josh Maxey to the long list of guitarists who have changed the music itself. His tenth CD in the last three years is enlarging the vocabulary for six-stringed jazz."– Mike Greenblatt, Classicalite
"Josh Maxey is at the forefront of the evolution of Jazz, particularly the jazz guitar." - Rodney Jones
While in New York and here in Colorado, I have been very grateful to play with world class musicians. Here is a little info on the musicians I've recorded with:
Jessica Martinez Maxey plays Native American flutes on The Language of Sound and Spirit and Light Cycles. I also work with her on her music. She is a two time 2014 Indian Summer Music Award winner and Native American Music Award nominee for our second album, Dance of the Soul. We are featured on Putumayo Presents Native America and her first album All My Blessings received multiple award nominations. She is a lovely lady and beautiful mother to our little girl, Mayu.
Brian Charette plays organ on the upcoming 2016 trio release, Celebration of Soul, Approach and The Language of Sound and Spirit. He plays piano on Rhythm of the Sound Current and keyboards on Light Cycles. Brian was voted number one rising star jazz organ in the 2014 Downbeat Magazine poll. Brian tours the world with his band and has multiple recordings.
McClenty Hunter plays drums on the upcoming 2016 trio release, Incarnate and Approach. He has played with many of the best bandleaders around today and is currently Kenny Garrett's drummer.
Jeff Jenkins plays piano on the new material featured on Completing the Cycle and also organ as keys for performances here in Colorado. Jeff plays often around CO, his group The Organization is featured every week at Dazzle Jazz Club in Denver. He teaches at Colorado State University.
Andy Gabrys has mixed, mastered and co produced the series. A great guitarist, he is very skilled on the production side of music also. He brings the same level of detail and mastery to the sound of the series as the players do to their instruments on each recording.
Chase Baird plays saxophones on Celebration of Soul, The Language of Sound and Spirit and Cycles of Sound. Chase records and performs with his own band in NYC and around the world.
Evan Pazner plays drums on Light Cycles. Evan plays around NYC often and is the drummer for Lee Fields and the Expressions.
Dave Parnell produced Incarnate. He plays acoustic guitar on Celebration of Soul. His bands, Butch Parnell & Runaway Dorothy gains more and more national attention all the time. They are frequently featured on Adam Duritz's Outlaw RoadShow.
Rob Woodcock plays bass on Light Cycles. He lives in California and plays on both coasts. He is a teacher and was a fellow member of Plan A from 2001-2004.
Mike Cioffero plays acoustic guitar on The Language of Sound and Spirit and slide guitar on Celebration of Soul. He is a great musician and teacher. He teaches music at a few of the most prestigious schools in NYC.
Paul Shaw plays drums on the new material featured on Completing the Cycle. He is a great drummer and a lot of fun to play with. He is an Air Force musician and teacher. He keeps a very busy performing schedule in CO and NYC.
Ken Walker plays bass on the new material featured on Completing the Cycle. Ken is a tremendous musician living in CO. His band has a monthly performance at Dazzle Jazz Club and he is the bass instructor at CU Denver.
Jeremy Noller plays drums on Celebration of Soul, The Language of Sound and Spirit, Blues in the Kitchen, and Cycles of Sound. He keeps busy performing and teaching in NYC.
Brett Parnell plays pedal steel guitar on Celebration of Soul's Brooklyn Sunrise and Colorado Sunset. He also plays in 350, an band that's an original blend of classical composition and indy rock.
Aaron James plays bass on Incarnate. Aaron plays often in NYC and is the bassist for Gregory Porter's band.
David Nicholson plays acoustic guitar on The Language of Sound and Spirit, Blues in the Kitchen and guitar and vocals on Argument for the Blues. He is a world class master painter and an expert blues musician. We have played about five thousand hours worth of music together.
Rodney Jones plays on Incarnate, co-produced The Language of Sound and Spirit and plays guitar on 3 Celebration of Soul.
John Tate plays bass on Cycles of Sound and Rhythm of the Sound Current. I met John just as he was finishing up an artist diploma at Juilliard where he toured around the world playing and teaching.
David Lantz plays piano on Cycles of Sound. David is a great musician that added so much to the album. He plays often in the north east and around the US.