Matt's comments

Smooth Jazz: some love it, some hate it, but what is it? Opinions on this topic are very diverse as I have noticed. I use the term smooth jazz for some of my music, because it is a known term, and because I sometimes play jazz that is quite smooth and contemporary. But what I mean is not exactly what the term is often used for.  In fact, I think a lot of so-called smooth jazz has little to do with jazz. There is a lot of music out there that is made according to a sort of ´smooth recipe´, with little jazz content. For me, improvisation is an essential part of jazz, without that, or without specific originality of the composer, it is not jazz. The kind of smooth jazz that is just a repetition of cliche melodies, is not jazz, and unfortunately, a lot of ´smooth jazz´ is exactly that. I don´t like that kind of smooth jazz. Then again, some supposed jazz lovers make the mistake of classifying everything with a smooth sound or contemporary beat as elevator music, or weather channel music, because they don´t pay attention to what is really being played. When I play my ´smooth jazz´ there is always a lot of space for improvisation. I never hear that in any elevator, or on any weather channel. In fact, I play it with just as much imagination as a straight ahead jazz tune, only the feel is different. So, don´t judge on superficial sound alone, listen to content!

Learning scales: I sometimes hear the argument that you don't need to learn scales, and that you should learn by playing tunes and using your ears. Many great musicians from the early days of jazz learned that way as well, and ''they didn't know scales''. I think that is partly true, learning by ear is definitely very good, but by learning scales:

1) you can speed up your learning process a lot, with some theory and scales and chords.

2) you will discover a lot of possibilities that you will probably not discover playing only by ear. Unless of course you are a musical genius, in which case you don't need my lessons!

Furthermore, early jazz musicians definitely did know  scales, but maybe not their formal names. 

Reading music: do you need to read music? The short answer is no, BUT.....I definitely recommend you learn to read regular notation, because it will literally open up a world of music that will not have access to if you don't.  What about TABS? Well, TABS are helpful, sure, but there is plenty of great guitar music not written in TABS. And what if you want to play parts not written for guitar?  Then you need to read standard music notation. So don't limit yourself and learn standard notation.