Craig Wagner is recognized as one of the most versatile young guitarist on the scene today. He has been a featured performer at the Chet Atkin's Society Guitar Festival in Nashville since 1995, a festival which has showcased such jazz luminaries as Martin Taylor, Fareed Haque, Jack Wilkins and even Max Roach. Craig has also played at The Great American Guitar Show in New York, sharing the stage with guitarist such as Jimmy Bruno, Howard Alden, Jack Wilkins, Paul Bollenback, Ron Affif, Russell Malone, Gene Bertoncini and bassist Michael Moore.
As a member of the Java Men, Craig has played at venues as large as Lollapolooza, as intimate as the Knitting Factory, and as sprawling as the New Orleans Jazz Festival where they shared the bill with acts such as Victor Wooten, the Charlie Hunter Trio, and the Brian Setzer Orchestra. Craig has been featured as a solo performer at the Kentucky Arts Council's Master Musicians Festival and is a regular performer at the Nashville NAMM show. His work has been featured in publications such as Guitar Player, Guitar One, Acoustic Guitar, Just Jazz Guitar, 20th Century Guitar, Vintage Guitar, Keyboard Magazine, The Village Voice, Cadence, Spin, and many others.
Craig graduated from Bellarmine University with a Bachelor's Degree in Music in 1993. He has studied or taken master classes with Christopher Parkening, Jim Hall, Jimmy Raney, Tal Farlow, Attila Zoeller, Jack Wilkins, Howard Roberts, Gene Bertoncini, Cal Collins, Howard Alden and many others. In addition to his duties at the University of Louisville, Craig currently teaches at Steilberg String Instruments and for the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops.
Mel Bay's "Master Anthology of Jazz Guitar Solos" features Craig's solo on Spiders. He has also written articles for their "Guitar Sessions" which included recordings of his solo guitar work. He has recently completed several new finger-style guitar arrangements of jazz standards for a project in conjunction with Warner Bros and Mel Bay. In 1998 he released an instructional/performance video for Stefan Grossman's Guitar Workshop video series whose impressive catalog features rare archival footage Alan Lomax's American Patchwork Series for The Smithsonian Institution, performances by Wes Montgomery and lessons by Joe Pass, Larry Coryell, Martin Taylor and many other jazz greats.
Craig's recording career includes Letter to St Paul (1994), Void (1999) and Orbituary (2000) with the Java Men. Recordings by the Java Men stay in regular rotation on many college and NPR stations around the country. He also has a solo recording, Color of a Mirror (1999). Craig has endorsements with luthier John Buscarino and Thomastik-Infeld String Company of Austria.