Trefor Owen

Trefor Owen – Archtop Guitarist


Trefor Owen is the supervisor of the Wrexham Summer School, probably the world’s largest festival dedicated solely to Jazz Guitar. Since 2000 he has featured the best Archtop Guitarists of the world in North Wales (Mundel Lowe, Bruce Foreman, Sid Jacobs, Jimmy Bruno etc.) year by year. Serving as teachers in several classes these professionals explain the secrets of the Jazz guitar to a large crowd of participants. Additionally there are concerts with the lecturers and further protagonists of the European and the international Jazz guitar scene every evening.

Himself as a Welshman is an inspired fan and a highly regarded representative of the Jazz guitar scene. He never hesitates sharing his knowledge with everybody who is interested. Kudos to him for not getting too tired to serve the Jazz guitar community.  Trefor Owen, who is a native of Anglesey and a Welsh speaker, is one of Britain’s finest guitarists and a familiar figure on the U.S. Jazz guitar scene. His recently released CD ‘Wales Plays Brazil‘ has won widespread critical acclaim and is featured regularly on Jazz FM’s Dinner Jazz

Trefor – I used to listen, on my home made radio, late at night to a programme called Stringalong, which featured Jack Toogood, a very fine guitarist, he had the Django and the Christian thing down, and then there was BBC Guitar Club which featured Ike Isaacs and many others. Unfortunately for me I only got to know about this programme late on, just before it was taken off the air.

Trefor has toured the U.K. extensively and performed in the U.S.A with the legendary guitarist Mundell Lowe and has made appearances at the New York Guitar Show, Long Island and at the NAMM Show. In July 1998 he was invited to the Chet Atkins Convention in Nashville, where he performed a guitar duo with Jim Nichols in the main auditorium, and conducted a workshop. This event was followed by a return visit to California where he played with 2 of Los Angeles’ foremost guitarists Ron Eschete and John Pisano. On the same tour Trefor made appearances in San Francisco at Enrico‘s, and at the famous Pearl’s Jazz Club with guitarist Bruce Foreman.  He also performed at the Acoustic Guitar Show in San Rafael. He recently toured California for the 2nd consecutive year, appearing in San Francisco and at John Pisano’s Guitar Night at Spazios, Sherman Oaks, L. A. During the tour he also performed a clinic for JazzMasters Workshops at Carmel, the 1st non American guitarist to do so.

Teaching Experience


In August , for the sixth consecutive year, he was be senior tutor of a team of international guitarists tutoring and performing at the North Wales International Jazz Guitar Festival and Summer School in Wrexham.

15th North Wales Jazz Guitar weekend is on 8-10 April 2011

Trefor Owen has considerable experience in tutoring clinics and workshops. Among the many he has conducted are celebrity workshops at Cork International Jazz Festival, London’s Guitar Institute, the Zinc Bar New York, New York Guitar Show in Long Island and, as mentioned above, the Chet Atkins Convention in Nashville. Trefor believes that Jazz should be both beautiful and communicative and accomplishes these qualities in his own playing, with his superb sound, fluid melodic lines and punchy rhythm.

Trefor Owen was for 8 years Associate Lecturer in Jazz Guitar at Leeds College of Music. He has been a tutor at Liverpool Community College since 1984, and in 1995 began to teach at Wigan and Leigh College.


Jammin’ with Geoge Benson

Do you think it is important to be able to read?
The guitar is a very difficult instrument to read on. So in my opinion it depends what you mean by reading. I think there‘s a misunderstanding about reading. Whenever reading is mentioned everyone thinks of a player being able to sight read whatever is put in front of him. If you only want to learn the melody of a standard, learn a jazz lick or learn to play a chord melody arrangement, you do not have to be a fluent sight reader. It depends on what your musical direction is. If you work on the commercial side of the business, then you need to be a reader. On the other hand if your interest is jazz, that’s ear music, so reading is not important. I encourage my students to learn melodies by ear.

Internationally Acclaimed Jazz Guitarist and Educator.

Trefor Owen is one of the foremost Jazz guitarists in the UK  A highly respected teacher, he has over 20 years’ experience teaching at the highest level both in Britain and the USA.  For 8 of those years he was an Associate Lecturer at Leeds College of Music and for 24 years was visiting lecturer at Liverpool Community College.

In 2006, for the 3rd consecutive year, he toured California, appearing in San Francisco and at John Pisano’s Guitar Night at Spazios, Sherman Oaks, L. A and in May 2007 he appeared at the prestigious Jazz Cafe, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC. and for the 10th consecutive year performed in the Jazz Bar at the Classic American Guitar Show.

For 9 years, Trefor has led a team of international guitarists tutoring and performing both at the North Wales Jazz Guitar Weekends and at the North Wales International Jazz Guitar Festival and Summer School in Wrexham, the biggest jazz guitar events in the world. He also organises a Jazz Guitar Club in Cheadle.

Trefor Owen teaches privately and has considerable experience in tutoring clinics and workshops.  Also, he has conducted celebrity workshops at Cork International Jazz Festival, London’s Guitar Institute, the Zinc Bar, New York, New York Guitar Show, Long Island, the Chet Atkins Convention in Nashville, Jazzmasters Workshops, Carmel, USA and Frigolet, France.

TREFOR OWEN has jammed, appeared or toured with the following American guitarists:

Jim Hall, Mundell Lowe, Johnny Smith, George Benson, John Pisano, Al Viola, Gene Bertoncini, Sal Salvador, Bucky Pizzarelli, Howard Alden, Jimmy Bruno, Jack Wilkins, Steve Herberman, Vic Juris, Ken Hatfield, Paul Bollenback, Randy Johnson, Corey Christiansen, Ned Boynton, Frank DiBussolo, Rick Stone, Jimmy Gourley, Peter Leitch, Ron Jackson, Ron Eschete, Jim Nichols, Anthony Wilson, Sid Jacobs, Bruce Forman, Bobby Broom, Cheryl Bailey, Tony DeCaprio, Ron Anthony plus others.

Other American instrumentalists:

Harry Allen, Ali  Ryerson, Bill Perkins, Warren Vache, Spike Robinson, George Masso, Jake Hanna, Chuck Berghofer, Kendall Kay, Luther Hughes, The Seleno Clarke Quintet in Harlem, NY.

European Jazz Guitarists:  –  Bireli Lagrene, Louis Stewart, Martin Taylor, Ike Isaacs, John Etheridge, Jim Mullen, Roy Sainsbury, Ulrich Hoffmeier, Tony Marshall, Gary Potter, Ulf Wakenius, Andreas Oberg and Thomas Brendgens-Mönkemeyer.

Other European Instrumentalists:
Alan Skidmore, Dave O’Higgins, Peter King, Bruce Adams, Alan Barnes, Don Weller, Iain Ballamy, Don Rendall, Ian Carr, Roy Williams, John Barnes, Jack Emblow, Bill Coleman, Dave Green, Martin Drew, Martin Creese, Steve Brown, Steven Keogh, Billy Thompson, plus others.

For 12 years Trefor has been a Mapson Guitars (USA) endorser. He also endorses Sonntag Guitars, Thomastik-Infeld Strings, Evans Amps and Redstone Audio Speaker Cabinets.

I haven’t seen such an extensive, in-depth appraisal of British Jazz guitar that comes anywhere near this. I met Trefor when I visited Jack Toogood in Bristol and jammed for some time. He’s a serious guitarist. He invites big name jazz guitarist including gypsy jazz to his Wrexam concerts.  P V Chester