JazzColumbus.com Interview Series: Tim Cummiskey

Next in our new series of interviews with some of Central Ohio’s finest jazz musicians is guitarist Tim Cummiskey. Cummiskey is active as both a leader and a sideman throughout the region, and serves as a member of the jazz studies faculty of the Ohio State University School of Music as well as an instructor for the Jazz Arts Group’s Jazz Academy. He has published several instructional books, and is also a contributing writer to several publications. Cummiskey took a break from his busy schedule to give us some background on his musical experiences and current projects:

When and why did you start playing music and jazz?

Tim Cummiskey (TC): I started playing saxophone in 4th grade. Guitar in 5th/6th grade. It was just band repertoire and rock at first. I didn’t really start playing jazz with an increasingly informed awareness until high school. I attended Fort Hayes Career Center my junior and senior year. This was pivotal. Lessons with Lee Knoll, John Stomps, Tom Carroll, Stan Smith and Dave Wheeler began during this time.

My pilgrimage to jazz began with rock and roll. I got into Black Sabbath, Van Halen and Ritchie Blackmore/Rainbow. I then became aware of Jeff Beck, Al Di Meola, Steve Morse and Pat Metheny. The mastery of the instrument and improvisational skills these artists exemplified led me to find their influences and roots. Before I knew it, I was listening to bebop and post bop recordings and trying to play straight-ahead jazz.

Who are some of your main influences in your playing/performing?


  • Edward Van Halen
  • Wes Montgomery
  • Joe Pass
  • Pat Martino
  • Jim Hall
  • John McLaughlin
  • Allan Holdsworth
  • Pat Metheny
  • Jerry Bergonzi
  • Bill Evans

What is your fondest musical memory?

TC: Any and all of the Pat Metheny or Allan Holdsworth performances I’ve attended.

What are you listening to today? What’s on your playlist?


  • Ben Monder
  • Stan Getz
  • Allan Holdsworth
  • Jim Hall
  • The Assad Brothers

What inspires you about the Columbus Jazz scene?

TC: There are world class musicians here in Columbus. We have strong players on each instrument. Their drive to move forward, to stay creative and their level of professionalism was and is a constant example and challenge to me. I have learned and will continue to learn so much from all of the fine musicians I’ve had the opportunity to work with.

What are you working on for 2015? Any new projects, exciting shows or

TC: I (we) just released an instructional video produced by and with the one and only Tony Monaco: “Organ And Guitar Playing Together”.

I will be publishing a book “Advanced Harmonic Concepts And Etudes” for jazz guitar soon. Perfect Storm is playing Brothers Drake April 8th from 8-11pm.

I continue to work with my own groups and solo performances. My group with Christopher Brown (keyboards), Jeff Bass (bass), and Reggie Jackson (drums) is playing Rumba Cafe on March 31st, while my group with Andy Woodson and Reggie Jackson is playing Rumba on May 12th and 26th.

For more info on Cummiskey, visit tc7string.com.

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