Guitar is an outstanding instrument for accompaniment in jazz. Remembering the work I did with Nancy Wilson, Billy Eckstine, Peggy Lee and more, these singers all expressed to me how much they enjoyed singing with an accompanying guitar. There is something about the warmth and intimacy of the guitar that makes it ideally suited for the support role that it plays for singers and instrumentalists.
The first key for an effective accompanist is a great knowledge of chords. On the guitar, the effects of chords can be varied by the use of inversions and string groupings. Each inversion and string grouping creates subtle and effective shadings of sound. Open string chord voicing contrasted with stopped string voicing provides another point of interest. Beyond the variety of chords available, substitutions offer still more opportunities to customize your accompaniments.
From a rhythmic point of view, the guitar has a percussive quality that also increases its versatility. From comping to “Freddy Green” style to Latin Bossas and Sambas, jazz waltzes and ballads, the guitar offers an element to the rhythm section that no other instrument can match.