Don Latarski grew up in a rural community about 35 miles north of Detroit, Michigan, and has been playing the guitar since 1963. After moving to Oregon at the age of 19 he began studying jazz. As a music student at the University of Oregon, he studied classical guitar and that experience led him to incorporate finger picking. His style incorporates elements of jazz, folk, and Americana. His instrument of choice is a handmade Spohn baritone acoustic guitar, which produces a deep, rich, and all-encompassing sound.
Most of his life has revolved around composing, practicing, teaching, recording, and performing. After graduating with a music degree he was hired to be head of guitar studies at the University of Oregon School of Music and Dance. He has authored and published 21 books on guitar instruction and recorded 17 albums, mostly of original music.
His passions include hiking, photography, forest bathing, and just listening to nature.
Known more for his jazz and blues recordings, Don Latarski creates music as a gift back to nature. Inspired by journies through the eastern part of Oregon, California, and Arizona, Don's music is a free-ranging soundscape of surprising acoustic guitar-based textures, rhythms, and melodies.
Vintage Guitar Magazine has described Don Latarski as " a guitarist of great taste and chops." Latarski's fluid, uniquely American style incorporates genres from jazz and blues to rockabilly and swing.
Five-star review for Don Latarski and his album River in Vintage Guitar Magazine!
"Gorgeous fingerstyle acoustic from the Northwest master, reflecting Latarski’s love of the outdoors. There’s an ethereal, ECM-like vibe to the nine-part “River Suite,” bringing to mind Metheny, Towner, and Abercrombie in its enchanting textures. Mesmerizing looper effects show up in “Serpentine,” while Don creates intricate harmonics patterns on “Full Circle.” Surely one of the most beautiful guitar albums of recent memory."
Pete Brown, Vintage Guitar Magazine, Dec. 2018
Don's releases can be heard on radio stations around the world, including the long-running NPR show Echoes. Several tracks from his three releases on Heart Dance Records can be heard on the SXM Spa Channel.
"Unlike a few very talented guitarists I’ve invested time in over the years who managed to find some beautiful chord changes or fingering that created a song by the mere act of repetition, Don's music feels as if you are breathing in and out of it; nothing is rushed unless you intentionally want that effect, but instead, the spaces between the notes are just as important as the notes themselves." - Andy (fan)