Student and teacher reunited

Jazz musicians David MacGregor and Stuart O'Brien
Jazz musicians David MacGregor and Stuart O'Brien

For Dunfermline born jazz guitarist, David MacGregor, his music has been the perfect passport to international travels.

He’s only 28, but thanks to the success of his career, he now lives in Mexico City and performs around the globe.

But one thing’s certain, despite all the travels, he’s not forgotten his Scottish roots.

This weekend he returns to his hometown of Dunfermline to play a special one off gig, alongside one of the men who helped nurture his talent, renowned tutor Stuart O’Brien.

Speaking to The Press this week while back in Scotland, David said: “I’m coming back to Dunfermline and I’m very much looking forward to it.

“ I met up with Stuart today and had a rehearsal and went through the songs.

“It was good to play together again.”

The last time David played in front of his home town was last year, and it was from that that this latest appearance was born.

“The concert I played last year I invited Stuart along to play,” explained David.

“ I knew he was doing some jazz concerts and he’d put some tracks online.

“I had a listen and suggested maybe he would like to come along and do some songs for old times’ sake.

“He did and we said we should definitely do a full concert next year, it would be a lot of fun.

“So when my management started looking at venues for the current European tour, I’d contacted Stuart and he was still up for it.

“We thought Dunfermline would be the ideal place to do it.”

David started to study the guitar with tutor Stuart, when he was just 13 years old, and Stuart is a well-respected jazz musician and teacher, who has taught over 1500 pupils during the last two decades and he’s played innumerable concerts in his career.

So after all these years, how does it feel to be back playing guitar with Stuart again?

“It’s been fun,” said David.

“We’re from different generations and we both have different musical tastes.

“It’s been a real experience and learning process for both of us as we’re from such different styles.”

Saturday’s gig at Carnegie Hall will be an intimate jazz show, which will be a fresh and interesting experience that aims to thrill audiences whether you’re an expert or just want to relax and enjoy good music.

David continued: “It’s going to be a mix of old, new and original things.

“We’re doing quite a lot of jazz standards, some really old songs like ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’ and songs that go back to the 30s.

“We’ll be doing ‘Bright Sound Life’ and I’ll also be performing some solo pieces, original stuff and everything in between.

“We realised we can’t just do jazz or ballads, we wanted to do a variety of things so there’s something to appeal to everyone.”

For David to be a virtuoso solo finger style guitarist and composer, what was it that attracted him to jazz guitar when he was younger?

“I always liked the guitar when I was young,” he said.

“ I always liked heavy metal and rock metal, like Guns and Roses, when I was very young. I was obsessed with the likes of Slash .

“I had a couple of uncles who were always playing when I was five or six years old.

“ I always wanted one and I was lucky enough that my family could afford to put me through weekly lessons.”

But heavy metal and rock metal is nothing like what you play today...

“When I started to study music I started playing varied styles, which is very important, as if you only play one style of music it can start to sound quite stale.

“As I started playing all sorts of different stuff and met all sorts of different musicians things developed.

“It’s the harmony, the chords, minors, majors which I liked.

“The endless possibilities of things you can do while altering the music.

“With rock music they are just power chords.

“All that stuff really excited me and I started playing in some bands.”

In 2009, after having a lesson wtih award-winning guitarist Martin Taylor, David decided to concentrate on an international solo jazz guitar career and in April last year he released his first solo album ‘Resonance’.

“I started playing solo gigs and started pushing that and was able to tour over Europe,” he explained.

“Now I’m playing internationally and I’m living in Mexico City.”

David has recently completed 10 months of touring the American continent and is now embarking on his European tour, before returning to Mexico in August and planning a tour of the US and Canada at the end of this year.

However, he’s not just touring, he’s working on new material too.

“I’m writing my second album,” he added.

“The last album I did, only two or three are originals.

“What I’ve been finding in feedback is that as I started writing original music, people like the original music more than the variations I do.

“I’m five or six original songs in, which is maybe a little past half way.

“Songs are a good way to have your own voice.”