Brian Rolland (born April 16, 1954) is an American guitarist, composer and songwriter raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His instrumental sound is characterized by a mix of Latin/Spanish and North American guitar styles.
Starting out on piano and clarinet as a child, switching to folk guitar at age 12, and continuing as a largely self-taught blues and rock player, Rolland moved into formal training in jazz through summer programs and lessons at New England Conservatory and Berklee School of Music while attending Cambridge Rindge and Latin high school. His first live performance was at age 14 with a rock band at the Club Casablanca in Harvard Square. Youthful influences included frequenting the Club 47 and The Boston Tea Party in the later 1960s, and an appearance at the 1976 Montreux Jazz Festival backing Jazz trumpeter Clark Terry in a big band setting.
His father was an amateur piano and cornet player from Hannibal, Missouri who, as a teenager in the early 1940s, moonlighted playing jazz on Mississippi riverboats, before moving East with his mother after World War II to attend Harvard Medical School under the GI Bill.
Rolland studied classical theory and composition with Douglas Leedy at Reed College, then completed a B.A. degree at The University of New Hampshire, where he studied under Mark DeVoto, graduating Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa nominated, in 1977.
An interest in classical guitar led him to studies with a handful of Segovia proteges including Abel Carlevaro in Madrid in 1978, and Oscar Ghiglia at the Aspen Music Festival in 1980.
In the early 1980s he co-led a band fronted by 7 time WC Handy Award nominee, Boston blues singer Toni Lynn Washington, then released his first solo album, Guitar Bazaar, in 1982.
After a long period devoted to composing and an architectural and construction career, Rolland returned to performing in the 1990s with a stint as half of the guitar duo 'String Talk' alongside fellow player Sam Davis.
He resumed recording with the release of a solo guitar album, Long Night's Moon (2000), followed by Dreams of Brazil (2002/2006), and The Tide's In (2007/2008).
The Tide's In was named in Zone Music Reporter's "Top 100 Airplay Chart for 2008" at #3, was nominated for "Best Instrumental Album – Acoustic" at the New Age Reporter Awards in 2006, peaked at #12 on Zone Music Reporter's "New Age / Ambient / World" charts in April 2006 and at #3 in April 2008.
The single "Doliber's Cove" spent 28 weeks on Sirius Satellite's "Top 10 New Age Singles" chart, from early May to mid-October 2008, reaching #1.
Awards include an Honorable Mention in the 2008 International Songwriting Competition for his instrumental single "Catch Me If You Can".
Brian Rolland has resided on the North Shore of Boston since 2000.The Tide's In (2007/2008)
Dreams of Brazil (2002/2006)
Long Night's Moon (2000)
Guitar Bazaar (1982)