Jack grew up in a musical family in rural Illinois and began
playing guitar at age 5. When Jack was about 12 years old,
he began playing bluegrass banjo (he learned from hearing
his father play) and a little later took up mandolin and then
fiddle. He began teaching full time at Gryphon
in 1979 and has worked very hard on developing a complete
lesson program on banjo, mandolin, fiddle and guitar. He is
also the music editor of Fiddler
Magazine and has written ten instructional books. He has
also developed and taught special seminars in History of
Bluegrass, Critical Listening to Bluegrass and Music
Theory for Bluegrass. In 2007, Jack was presented with the California Bluegrass Association's distinguished Honorary Lifetime Membership Award.
Jack has performed professionally in the U.S., Canada and
Japan and has been a member of numerous bands including the
Tall Timber Boys and Fog City Ramblers (bluegrass), the Gryphon
Quintet and Front Porch Swing Band (swing), and Emerald (Celtic)
and the Mayfield String Band (old-time). He has taught more
than a thousand students over twenty years in both private
and group lessons as well as at the Festival of American Fiddle
Tunes and the California Coast Music Camp. He has been a mainstay
every year at the prestigious CBA Bluegrass Camp in Grass
Valley, the largest bluegrass camp in the country.
Jack's has helped develop students from beginners to the
highest level of professionalism. Many of his former and current
students have become top players in the Bay Area and beyond.
He has been especially successful with children, some of whom
have grown into major talents on the local and national scene.
His current and past students heavily populate the jam scene
in the South Bay and on the Peninsula.
In the Spring of 2007, Jack and his daughter Molly released their CD, The Old Apple Tree, which features Jack on vocals, fiddle, mandolin, guitar and banjo. Molly is featured on vocals, guitar and banjo, recorded when she was just thirteen years-old.
These days Jack does most of his performing on fiddle. Though
not currently playing in a touring band, he performs locally
as a member of Blue
Grass Stomp, usually playing weddings, corporate event,
dances and various events. He also plays bluegrass with his three children as The Tuttles.