Joe DeCara started playing guitar at the age of 4 years old and performed in talent shows and local musical programs at the age of 10. In these formative years, he was attracted to the sounds of 50's and 60's rock & roll, two styles that later re-surfaced when he played the musical production "Grease."
As a young teenager playing rock standards and the top 40 hits of the day, he performed at teen centers, high school dances, outside concerts and private parties, from which he gained a large repertoire, not to mention a wealth of experience. With his total fascination of music it wasn't long before he started playing other instruments such as the banjo, mandolin, bass and harmonica.
At the age of 19, he landed his first teaching job at Music Land in Fallston, Maryland. Although his schedule was hectic, balancing a heavy student load and playing private parties, lounges, hotels and concerts he still managed to spend hours exploring technics on the guitar. Classical music became a focal point at this time and he studied and performed the works of great composers such as Fernando Sor, Carulli, Villa Lobos, Johanne Sebastian Bach, Sate and Debussy to name a few. However, fascinated with the richness of chords and scales and the many possible arrangements and permutations of notes, he was quickly attracted to the art of improvisation and explored the world of jazz.
In the late 70's, Joe moved to Los Angeles, California with the initial intention of studying the guitar at the Guitar institute of technology (G.I.T), but having checked the school out, realized it didn't offer what he was looking for and so he decided to study on his own. While in California, he hooked up and befriended jazz greats, Joe Pass, Lenny Breau, Ted Greene and Dennis Budimir and Joe Diorio. Dennis Budimir introduced him to some of the major recording studios which played a major role in his influence in songwriting, arranging and production; skills he would later develop in the future. Unexpectedly, his father became ill. Joe decided to move back to Baltimore and in a short time his father had passed.
Back in Baltimore, Maryland, he immediately picked up session work performing with groups such as the Four Tops, The Temptations, Little Anthony & the Imperials, Sha Na Na. The Drifters, The Platters and backed up vocalists, Lou Christie, Robert Goulet, James Darren, Bobby Rydell, Leslie Gore and many others. Additionally he played private parties for celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Jay Leno, Maclean Stevenson (M*A*S*H), Ned Beatty (Deliverance), Ted Kennedy, Colin Powell, etals. Having taken a break from teaching for a couple of years, in order to concentrate more on performance, the move to Los Angeles and his playing skills, Joe later returned to teaching at Shubert Music in Pikesville, Maryland and once again began accepting private students in his home.
In the 1980's Joe recorded an all original rock opera in the mid 80's titled "Let me off at the next revolution", which unfortunately is currently unavailable, but plans are being made to put it on the market. He has been writing and arranging songs throughout the years and is presently at work assembling some of the songs for two albums which he is currently forming and rehearsing a group around.
The 1990's found Joe busy playing solo jazz guitar, 5 days a week and then playing at least 3-5 jobs with small ensembles. Several days consisted of two and sometimes three jobs in one day. At this time he was doing more arranging than composing while still teaching.
In the early 2000's Joe joined up with his son Joe DeCara jr. and released an instrumental jazz fusion cd "Kaleidoscope" which is available on iTunes and on this website if you visit the store. "Kaleidoscope" was later performed to a live audience which received a standing ovation. In 2013 he joined up with the great jazz vocalist, Debbie Kirkland and recorded "Back off Santa", a catchy, fun christmas song with influences of his earlier love for 50's music.
Joe has developed many studies, arrangements and videos which he is presently making available to the public. Additionally, he is the author of "The art of sight reading", a comprehensive note reading book for guitarists, covering all 12 major and 12 minor keys, with original melodic etudes for practice and performance.
Presently he teaches at Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland as well as teaching in his private home studio minutes from the campus. He is busy writing songs, arranging, assembling two bands, teaching and promoting concerts. He also books entertainment for local restaurants and hotels in Baltimore and coordinates music for major out of state companies visiting the area.