According to the impact in jazz guitar history of the unique Charlie Chistian we class the jazz guitar players in four kinds, pre-Christian, Christian, post-Christian (really called post-war) and contemporary (born after 1950) periods, being contemporary a subtype of post-Christian period.
1- Al Casey (1915-2005) (pre-Christian, Christian and post-Christian periods)
A lover with two loves, one possible, the guitar, and another impossible, Billie Holiday. “Master & brains right up to the grave” (genio y figura hasta la sepultura)
Is one of the FOUR great rhythm players. The others three: Benny Goodman´s Allan Reuss, Basie’s Freddie Green, Paul Whiteman´s Art Ryerson. Others good rhythm guitarists were Barry Galbraith, Carl Kress, Tony Gottuso and Dave Barbour.
Albert Aloysius Casey with artistic name Al Casey, should not to be confused with session guitarist and rockabilly artist with the same name (Al Casey), was a color guitarist born in Louisville, Kentucky. According to jazz researcher Eric B. Borgman (son of jazz journalist George A. Borgman), Casey’s birthdate, September 1915, may be incorrect. While double-checking his birthdate with U.S. census records he found Albert Casey listed as being 2 years younger. Recorded on 1920, Borgman says the register shows a 1917 birthdate. He come to born within a non- family with no musician parents, Joseph and Maggie B. Johnson Casey, butone his adoptive cousins played de guitar and ukulele and introduced to Al in both instruments when Al was a very young boy. Caseys moved to New York City around 1930,growing up in this city where he attended DeWitt Clinton High School.
Al’s guitar playing eventually came to the famous Fats Waller pianist’s attention.”Fats was living in Harlem then, and they took me over and had me play for him,” said Al. Waller must have liked what he heard. In 1934 he hired Casey to play rhythm guitar on the record dates he was beginning to do for RCA Victor. Casey composed the well-known tune “Buck Jumpin“, which was recorded by Waller. They worked together until Waller died in 1943 except for a tour with Teddy Wilson in 1939. Was Waller who just got Casey to switch from acoustic guitar to the new electric model of Gibson, guitar brand which he used to his last days. In 1944, Casey briefly recorded with Louis Armstrong.
Award / knowledgment: In 1944 Casey won the Esquire Magazine Gold Award in jazz, and appeared at the year´s Esquire jazz concert at the old Metropolitan Opera House. It is impotant to take into account that Charlie Christian was dead in 1942.
At this time, with Waller also deceased, he did stints (trabajos esporádicos) with Earl Hines, Edmond Hall, Pete Brown, Billie Holiday, Frankie Newton and Chuck Berry. Remembering this time, years later, Casey commented that he was in love with Billie. After this time Al led his own a trio for a short time, in a club in Greenwich Village, replacing to the pianist Clarence Profit. From Greenwich Village passed to Village Vanguard and the up on 52nd Street with changes in his trio (Al Matthews on the bass and Teacho Wilshire on the piano). When leaf the trio Casey worked during decades with King Curtis from 1957 to 1961, where he played the classic rhythm and blues, nothing to do with the present R & B (“ar-and-bi”). In 1959 he contributed to an album called Paul Curry Presents The Friends Of Fats on the Golden Crest label. Afterwards a long period as studio free-lancer, he played every Saturday night, at the Lousiana Club on Broadway, with The Harlem Blues & Jazz Band, which he joined in 1981. He died, four days before his ninetieth birthday, of colon cancer at the Dewitt Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in New York. The recent information about his birthdate, previously cited, would suggest that Casey was actually about 88 years old when he died and not 90 years as firstly was believed.
2-Allan Reuss (1915-is alive) (Christian and post-Christian period)
The guitarist who was crucial in giving the Goodman band its romping swing & rushing excitement. He won reader’s polls in “Metronome” and “Down Beat” in 1945.
Is one of the FOUR great rhythm players. The others three: Basie’s Freddie Green, Fats Waller’s Al Casey, Paul Whiteman´s Art Ryerson. Others good rhythm guitarists were Barry Galbraith, Carl Kress, Tony Gottuso and Dave Barbour.
Allan was born in New York City, 1915. He was a protected of George Van Eps. He began studying the guitar with Van Eps in 1933. Van Eps recommended Reuss as his own replacement with the Benny Goodman Orchestra in 1935.
In the words of James Lincoln Collier: “George Van Eps began grooming a student named Allan Reuss, who was driving a laundry truck, to take the guitar chair. Reuss finally replaced Van Eps on the radio show (the “Let’s Dance” show) near the very end.Goodman’s drummer, Gene Krupa, tended to have a heavy beat, and was no believer in metronomically exact time. Harry Goodman (Benny’s brother), too, was never considered a master bass player. It was Reuss that was crucial in giving the Goodman band its romping swing. Author James T. Maher once said to Benny Goodman that he had not realized how important Reuss had been until he was gone. Goodman’s response was, ‘Neither did we.’
Reuss, who was getting formal training under Van Eps, was harmonically more sophisticated than some of the self-taught guitarists in jazz.
Reuss accented on two and four (exactly as the reggae 50 years after), which not many rhythm guitarists of the time did.
Reuss’ playing with Benny Goodman is hard driving and exciting; Unlike the Basie band where the beat is laid back, giving a very relaxed feeling, the Goodman band tended to push the beat which gave the effect of a rushing excitement. According to a Goodman sideman, “You were always on the edge of falling, like running down a hill.”
Reuss left Goodman in March 1938 to freelance in the recording studios, and he also taught guitar in New York. It is possible that Reuss gave guitar lessons to Barry Galbraith and Freddie Green as both mentioned Reuss as a major influence.
In 1939, Reuss worked with Jack Teagarden and Paul Whiteman. He toured nationally withTed Weems in 1941/42, and with Jimmy Dorsey in 1942. After Dorsey, Reuss worked in theNBC studio orchestra in 1942/43. Reuss rejoined Goodman in 1943/44, then went with Harry James in 1944/45. During this time, he won reader’s polls in “Metronome” and “Down Beat”. It is impotant to take into account that Charlie Christian was dead in 1942.
After Harry James, Reuss led his own trio in Los Angeles. After that, he concentrated on studio work and teaching.
Although Reuss was primarily a rhythm guitarist, he occasionally soloed as well (played solos on If I Could Be With You and Rosetta with Benny Goodman). His solo style was an intense rhythmic chordal type (in the manner of George Van Eps) or an economical single note style.
3-Art Ryerson (1913-2004) (pre-Christian, Christian and post-Christian period)
Is one of the FOUR great rhythm players but also a good soloist (for example in Raymond Scott orchestra). The others three great rhythm players: Basie’sFreddie Green, Fats Waller’s Al Casey and Benny Goodman´s Allan Reuss,
Beside George Van Eps and Allan Reuss (Van Eps´ disciple), he was pioneer in the use of chordal melody technique.
Art was a 13 year old in Columbus Ohio when his parents bought banjo lessonsfor him from a door-to-door salesman. He progressed quickly from the banjo to the guitar and was soon playing and teaching professionally in the Columbus area. In the early 1930’s he moved to Cincinnati where he joined The Rhythm Jesters at Radio Station WLW, the most powerful commercial radio station in the world at that time.
In 1935 Art Ryerson organized a quartet in New York and he began appearing in Manhattan jazz clubs and specially at the famous Nick’s Tavern in Greenwich Village.
His big break came in 1939 when Paul Whiteman (bandleader, composer, orchestral director and violinist) offered him a contract. For two years he held the guitar chair in the Whiteman band and provided the arrangements for Whiteman’s Swinging Strings, Bouncing Brass and Sax Soctette. The first guitaris of Paul Whiteman was the great Eddie Lang, who, in 1929, joined Paul Whiteman‘s Orchestra, 10 years before Art Ryerson.
Ryerson’s arrangements for these small groups were very innovative, especially in the use of the guitar. For the Bouncing Brass, he incorporated two guitars, his own and Tony Gottuso’s. Both guitars provided rhythm for the larger group, but also provided many of the introductions, turnarounds and transitions. For these,Ryerson played the solos and Gottuso provided rhythm. In the Sax Soctette arrangements Ryerson incorporated three guitars — his own, Tony Gottuso’s and Dave Barbour’s. Again, the guitars provided a solid rhythm for the larger group and Barbour and Gottuso provided rhythm and counterpoint for Ryerson’s solos. The short solos on these recordings show the influence of George Van Eps and Allan Reuss.
In the Whiteman Swinging Strings arrangements Reyerson incorporated up to four guitars. A few years later he used multiple guitars on recordings by Peggy Lee and Frankie Laine.
George Barnes, Bucky Pizzarelli and Al Caiola used the multiple guitar concepts extensively a few years later.
The early 1940’s found Ryerson with the Raymond Scott orchestra where he was a featured soloist – a unique distinction for a guitarist at that time. It was probably during this time that Ryerson began using the electric guitar. He left Scott after two years and returned to radio, television and recording work in New York.
During World War II Ryerson was recruited into the US Army, where as Staff Sergeant Art Ryerson. When he returned to the US after the war he moved into the studios in New York where he quickly developed a reputation as a top studio guitarist.
In addition to working with singers (Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald ,Mildred Bailey, Anita O’Day), jazz celebrity (Red Norvo, Fats Waller, Charlie Parker, Errol Garner, Lionel Hampton, Artie Shaw, among others) he also played andrecorded duets with his contemporaries George Van Eps and George Barnes.
Art Ryerson was the first electric guitarist to perform and tour with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra under the direction of James Levine. He performed on operas by Kurt Weill (Mahogany), Anton Berg (Lulu) and Stravinsky (Le Rossignol).
In 1975, he was invited by the US State Department to visit Russia as a part of theLouis Armstrong Commemorative Tour.
Art Ryerson could be called the quiet guitar innovator developing the guitar orchestra. He was an early adopter of the electric and seven string guitars. He was the equal of George Van Eps and Allan Reuss in the use of chordal melody.
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4- Attila Zoller (1927–1998) (post-Christian period)
Jim Hall´ disciple and teacher of Path Metheny.
Attila Cornelius Zoller was born in Visegrád, Hungary. As a child Zoller was taught classical violin by his father, who was a professional violinist. In his teens, he switched to the bass, and finally to the guitar. He began playing professionally in Budapest jazz clubs.He escaped Hungary in 1948 just before the permanent Soviet blockade and he moved to Viennawhere he worked as guitarrrist. Zoller left Austria for Germany in 1954, where he played with pianist Jutta Hipp, saxophonist Hans Koller and trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff. American musicians Lee Konitz (alto saxophone) and Oscar Pettiford (bassist) urged him tomove to the US which he did in 1959, after winning a scholarship to the Lenox School of Jazz, where he studied with Jim Hall and roomed with Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry, whose influence sparked Zoller’s interest in free jazz.
Zoller was the founding president of the Vermont Jazz Center (1985) where he also taught music until 1998.
Attila was teacher of Path Metheny. When Path was 15 years old, he won a Down Beat scholarship to a one-week jazz camp and was taken under the wing of guitarist Attila Zoller. Zoller also invited the young Metheny to New York City to see the likes of Jim Hall and Ron Carter (double bassist).
He patented a kind of bi-directional pickup for guitars in 1971 and helped design his own signature line of guitars with different companies. He died in Townshend, Vermont, a state in the New England region of the northeastern United Statesthe (the 2nd least populous of the 50 United States after Wyoming).
5-Arv Garrison (1922-1960) (Christian & post-Christian period)
Arv was specially famous for Arv Garrison’s Guitar Quintet, that included Ashby, Garrison, Kessel, Sargent and Rizzi. They appeared on Earle Spencer’s “Five Guitars In Flight”.
Arvin Charles “Arv” Garrison was born in Toledo, Ohio.
He led his own band at a hotel in Albany, New York, in 1941.
In a trio format gigged nationally on both the East and West coasts of the United States until 1948; after 1946 the trio was called the Vivien Garry Trio, being Vivien his wife and double-bassist (contrabajista).
Guitarist Arv Garrison was called by participating in recording sessions for Dial, a record label, with the historic jazz icon Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie and was active on the early bebop scene in New York City in the 1940s. Thanks to this factGarrison‘s discography reached a greater projection.
The album Five Guitars in Flight (Arv Garrison’s Guitar Quintet, that included Ashby, Garrison, Kessel, Sargent and Rizzi) originally released on the Tops label in 1946. Garrison himself chose the latter as his favorite masterwork in dialogues with Jazz critic Leonard Feather leading up to the guitarist’s inclusion in The Encyclopedia of Jazz.
6-Barney Kessel (1923-2004) (post-Christian period)
Go up!!. We talk about the amazing guitarrist Barney Kessel, for me, the best guitarist of jazz history. Barney was No. 1 guitarist in Esquire, Down Beat, and Playboy magazine polls for 13 years!!!!! (between 1947 and 1960).
Barney was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma. By age 16, as a high school student, he was emulating Charlie Christian, playing his electric guitar with local blues bands and with the University of Oklahoma Dance Band. Every guitarist who came up during the 1940’s acknowledged the influence of Charlie Christian. But with Barney Kessel, this influence was the driving force that propelled his interest in the guitar. Barney Kessel has said that Charlie Christian was his idol and this enormous influence was most evident in Kessel’s early recorded solos, especially those made with Charlie Ventura and Artie Shaw. It was not hard to imagine the hands of Charlie Christian playing these gems. He quickly established himself as a key post-Charlie Christian jazz guitarist.
In 1942 Barney Kessel made his way to Los Angeles and quickly establishedhimself as a professional musician and a guitarist to be reckoned with. His first important job was with Chico Marx, Charlie Ventura, Roy Eldridge, Ricky Nelsonand Artie Shaw along with a string of radio appearances. It was also during this period that Barney Kessel appeared in the movie Jammin’ The Blues which featured Lester Young.
In the 1950s, he made a series of albums called The Poll Winners with Ray Brown on bass and Shelly Manne on drums. Also from the 1950s, his three Kessel Plays Standards volumes contain some of his most polished work.
In 1952 Barney Kessel joined the Norman Granz Philharmonic tour for one year.
Kessel was also a member of the Oscar Peterson Trio with Brown for a year, leaving in 1953.
He returned to Los Angeles again in 1953. By the time Barney Kessel was making recordings under his own name in 1953 he was having as much influence on other guitarists as Christian had had on him. And, this influence continues today.
Kessel was a “first call” guitarist at Columbia Pictures during the 1960s, and became one of the most in-demand session guitarists in America, and is considered a key member of the group of first-call session musicians in that time, and now yet, known as The Wrecking Crew.
In 1961 The Gibson Guitar Corporation introduced The Barney Kessel model guitar onto the market and continued to make them until 1973.
Kessel’s sons David and Daniel also became session musicians, working with Spector during the 1970s.
Kessel died of a brain tumor in San Diego. He had been in poor health after suffering a stroke in 1992
In the Just Jazz Guitar Barney Kessel Tribute issue (September, 1997), Howard Alden says, “as far as I’m concerned, in the dictionary under Jazz Guitar there should simply be a picture of Barney Kessel”.
7-Barry Galbraith (1919 – 1983) (post-Christian period)
Rhythm guitarist. Like Jimmy Raney, he seemed able to blend his style, technique and sound into almost any venue, while distinguishing himself as an individual artist and soloist in those same songs. He studied classical guitar and Flamenco guitar, and attended the Manhattan School of Music as a piano student.
Barry is one of the most recorded jazz guitarists of all time. Galbraith grew up in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. In 1941, he was staff guitarist at radio station WJAS in Pittsburgh, and also worked with Red Norvo, Teddy Powell, and Babe Russin. Galbraith then joined Claude Thornhill’s band in the latter part of 1941. In 1942, he joined Hal McIntyre.
Galbraith served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1946. He returned to the Thornhill band in 1946. In 1947, Galbraith began worked for NBC and CBS in their studios. He commonly appeared as sideman. His recording “Guitar and the Wind” was his only recording as leader.
During the 1960’s he developed trouble with his left hand movement. It was diagnosed ascalcium deposits on his spinal column. In 1969, Galbraith had surgery that seriously affected his playing ability. After surgery, he played less and concentrated more on teaching. He produced a remarkable series of instructional jazz guitar books that are still in print.
Barry was an exceptional rhythm guitarist as well as a versatile electric player. He was perhaps the best reading guitarist in New York City and consequently was hired for many of the jazz record dates that required sight reading. Barry was also a life-long student of music. He studied classical guitar, Flamenco guitar, and attended the Manhattan School of Music as a piano student.
8- Bill Connors (1949-live on) (post-Christian period)
Connors was born in Los Angeles, California in 1949 and began to play the guitar at the age of fourteen. After three years of extensive self-study of the rock and blues influences that were his first inspiration, he began to play gigs around the Los Angeles area. He soon found his way to jazz, the music that would lead to a lifelong commitment.
He didn’t want to be a blues guitarist anymore. He began listening to people like Jim Hall, Wes Montgomery & specially Django Reinhardt (“just what I wanted to be”) amomg the guitarists but also other players such as Bill Evans (pianist), Scott LaFaro [bassist], Miles Davis (trumpet), John Coltrane (sax)—anyone who had a ‘jazz’ label.
He and Django differed however over the matter of electronics with Bill preferring the sound of the electric instrument. He liked to play jazz with that electric-rock sound.
Connors moved to San Francisco in 1972 to join the Mike Nock Group (formerly known as “The Fourth Way”). By the bay, Connors played with numerous top-flight musicians, including vibraphonist Glenn Cronkhite, bassist Steve Swallow and pianist Art Lande.
He wanted to be Chick Corea on guitar. He heard that Chick was looking for a guitarist. Drummer Steve encouraged him to call Chick. I ended up in New York two weeks later with keyboardist and composer Chick Corea’s pioneering fusion group that featured bassist Stanley Clarke and drummer Lenny White, Connors established himself on the national and international music scenes, touring in Japan and Europe, and recording the now legendary Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy.
In April 1974, after the band’s tour of Europe and Japan, Bill quit the group. The musical direction seemed to him to be changing from what it was when Connors joined. He explains, “Everything started getting less aesthetic, more rock.
Connor’s disenchantment with the group also stemmed from certain objections to Corea’s Scientology-inspired leadership style. “Chick had a lot of ideas that were part of his involvement with Scientology. Moreover, Chick got more demanding, and I wasn’t allowed to control my own solos.
In 1974, Connors left Return to Forever, and began to explore the New York jazz and session scene, performing with guitarist John Abercrombie and keyboardist Jan Hammer, and recording with the same bassist, Stanley Clarke (from Return to Forever).
Around 1975, he decided to become a classical guitar player”, he muses. “I did my first solo album in 1974, and just decided on the spur of the moment to do it all on acoustic, but not hand-picked but with his funny pick-and-finger technique.
Two more recordings on acoustic guitar followed, 1977’s Of Mist and Melting(ECM), with Connors as leader and on guitar, saxophonist Jan Garbarek, bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette and then, in 1979, another solo effort by the guitarist, Swimming with a Hole in My Body (ECM).
During 1976 and 1977, Connors also recorded with Lee Konitz, Paul Bley and Jimmy Giuffre in New York.
He toured Europe, performing with composers Luciano Berio and Cathy Berberian.
Connors then returned to electric guitar, performing and recording with Jan Garbarek on Places (1978) and with Tom Van Der Geld and Richard Jannotta in 1979 (Path, ECM).
In 1985, Connors recorded Step It (Pathfinder/Evidence), featuring Connors and Steve Kahn on guitars, Tom Kennedy on bass and Dave Weckl on drums. Connors’ next album,
1986’s Double Up, again featuring bassist Kennedy but now with drummer Kim Plainfield. The same trio (Connors, Kennedy, Plainfield) recorded Assembler in 1987.
For the past years, Connors has been giving private lessons while continuing his stylistic and technical studies of the works of jazz greats. He’s now playing plectrum style on a classical jazz guitar, an archtop electric.
9-Bill DeArango (1921-2005) (post-Christian period)
A autodidact jazz man that loved the primitive rock music.
Bill was born in Cleveland, Ohio. In the words of Ankeny of Allmusic “Arguably (podría decirse) that Bill was the most innovative and technically accomplished guitarist to emerge during the bebop era”.
DeArango was an autodidact, and played in Dixieland jazz bands while attending Ohio State University. He served in the Army from 1942–44, then moved to New York City. He recorded under his own name for the first time in 1945, and co-led a band with Terry Gibbs shortly thereafter.
By 1950 this player had laid down some of the most inventive and creative jazz guitar solos known at that time. And, all this creative output was accomplished playing in the shadows of the great horn players of that period in New York.
DeArango left New York to return to Cleveland in 1947. He surfaced again in1954 with a recording entitled DeArango and he did an album with pianist John Williams in 1954 for EmArcy, but remained strictly a local musician for more than 20 years, in addition to running a record store and manage the rock band Henry Tree.
In 1978 he recorded with Barry Altschul, and in 1981with Kenny Werner but he won significant renown for his 1993 collaboration with Joe Lovano (tenor sax), Anything Went. This CD also contained some standards that, along with the free jazz forms, demonstrated the amazing musical range of this musician.
He appeared on some rock and free jazz recordings from the 1970’s and 1980’s. He was often billed at places like the Barking Spider Tavern in Cleveland.
10-Bill Frisell (1951, live on) (contemporary)
Bill Frissel, probably the best current jazz guitar player, is fan of John Lennon.
He is one of the leading guitarists in jazz since the late 1980s. Frisell’s eclectic music touches on progressive folk, classical music, country music and more. He is known for using an array of effects to create unique sounds from his instrument.
William Richard “Bill” Frisell was born in Baltimore, Maryland, but spent most of his youth in the Denver, Colorado. He studied clarinet with Richard Joiner of the Denver Symphony Orchestra as a youth, graduated from Denver East High School, and went to the University of Northern Colorado to study music.
His original guitar teacher in the Denver-Aurora metropolitan area was Dale Bruning, with whom Frisell released the 2000 duo album Reunion. After graduating from Northern Colorado, where he studied with Johnny Smith, Frisell went to theBerklee College of Music in Boston, where he studied with Jon Damian and Jim Hall.
Frisell’s major break came when guitarist Pat Metheny was unable to make a recording session, and recommended Frisell to Paul Motian, who was recording Psalm (1982) for ECM Records. Frisell became ECM’s in-house guitarplayer, and worked on several albums, most notably Jan Garbarek‘s 1981 Paths, Prints.
In the 1980s Frisell lived in the New York City area and was an active participant in the city’s music scene. He lived in Hoboken, New Jersey, where the rents were cheaper and the city was accessible via public transportation. He became known for his work in Motian’s trio, along with saxophonist Joe Lovano (who also played with Bill DeArango)
In 1988 Frisell left New York City and moved to Seattle, Washington. In the early 1990s Frisell made two of his best-reviewed albums: first, Have a Little Faith, and second, This Land, a complementary set of originals.
Frisell has united with Matt Chamberlain, Tucker Martine, and Lee Townsend in theFloratone band, and they released an album on Blue Note (2007), featuring guest performance of Viktor Krauss, Ron Miles and Eyvind Kang.
In 2010, Frisell started working with the Savoy Jazz label and released Beautiful Dreamers in August 2010, then a second release of Sign of Life in April 2011.
In September 2011, Frisell released All We Are Saying, a full-length offering of his interpretations of John Lennon‘s music. Frisell’s quintet includes violinist Jenny Scheinman, pedal steel and acoustic guitarist Greg Leisz, bassist Tony Scherr, and drummer Kenny Wollesen.
11- Bill Pitman (1920, live on) (post-Christian period)
William Keith “Bill” Pitman is an American guitarist, session musician and the first rockabilly & rock´n roll guitar player. His mastery of the guitar placed him in high demand for popular music recordings. In television programs, and film scores he used his Danelectro but also in some studio sessions, for example in The Beach Boys album Pet Sounds) but the guitar Pitman’s main studio guitar was the Gibson ES-335 with a Polytone amplifier
As a first-call studio musician (first-call session musicians in that time, and now yet, was known as The Wrecking Crew) (see The Wrecking Crew documentary film) worked in Los Angeles and played on some of the most celebrated and influential records of the rock and roll era.
After serving in World War II, Pitman headed west to California where he attended the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music and Arts. Guitar books geared toward reading music were virtually non-existent at the time!!!!!., so Pitman used books for other instruments to acquire his sight reading skills. Oboe books !!!!!! were especially prized because they described the same range as the guitar.
By 1951, while visiting a nightclub where Peggy Lee & guitar virtuoso Laurindo Almeida were performing, Pitman struck up a conversation with Peggy. Their talk led to an audition, landing Pitman a job with Peggy Lee that launched his professional music career.
After three years with Peggy Lee’s band, Pitman accepted an lucrative studio work that would last for decades.
During the latter part of the 1950s, Pitman sat in on sessions for established recording artists like Buddy Rich. Rockabilly & Rock and roll was gaining popularity, and Phil Spector (executive producer) placed Pitman among the earliest members of an elite group of session players.
When Spector produced the enormously popular record “Be My Baby” in 1963, he named the jam session on the flip side “Tedesco and Pitman,” after two of his favorite guitar players: Tommy Tedesco and Bill Pitman. Tedesco being called King Salt, and Pitman getting the nickname Junior Salt. As Pitman said in a 2002 interview, “if King Salt wouldn’t say something, Junior Salt certainly would.”
Given the popularity of Spector’s records, Pitman and the other musicians who created the Wall of Sound became the first choice of nearly every major record label in Los Angeles. Hal Blaine would later call this group The Wrecking Crew, and their anonymous talents accompanied musical artists from The Beach Boys to Frank Sinatra!!!!!!!.
When Columbia Records decided to take a gamble on a new band called The Byrds, they insisted on seasoned musicians being brought in to record the instrumental tracks for the first single. Consequently, the men who joined Roger McGuinn inCBS Columbia Square on January 20, 1965 were not members of The Byrds, but session players Larry Knechtel, Hal Blaine,Jerry Cole, Leon Russell (piano), and Bill Pitman (guitar). In three hours they recorded two songs, one of which, “Mr. Tambourine Man,” became a sensation.
The frenetic pace of studio work left very little time for live performances or writing. During one year, Pitman logged an astonishing 425 recording sessions!!!!!!, many of which resulted in multiple sides.
He was very popular guitarist and his playing on The Guitars Inc. and Marty Paich’s Dek-Tette albums eclipsed, on a personal level, anything he ever did on a Top 40 record. His enduring legacy is one of an accomplished guitarist(sideman) who played on some of the twentieth century’s most popular recordings.
Pitman’s main studio guitar was the Gibson ES-335 with a Polytone amplifier. On some of the rock and roll records, he used a Fender Telecaster with a Fender Twin Reverb amplifier and a Gibson mandolin.
Pitman lives in La Quinta, California with his wife Jan, to whom he has been married for 29 years. He spends his retirement playing golf.
12-Billy Bauer (1915 – 2005) (post-Christian period)
A solid rhythm player and pioneer of bebop guitar, famous by his great duets with Tristano (pianist) and Konitz (saxophonist). Bauer was not just a good guitarist, but also an outstanding musician who taught at the New York Conservatory of Modern Music and in his own Billy Bauer Guitar School. He also published instructional books. Bauer led the way for student Joe Satriani, the popular hard-rocker-fussion Joe Satriani (a funny hard rock music without voice, only music and music and more music, hard music of course!!!),
Bauer was born in New York City. He played banjo as a child before switching to guitar. He played with the Jerry Wald band and recorded with Carl Hoff and His Orchestra in 1941 before joining Woody Herman in 1944.
Working in small groups, specialy in trio format led by bassist Chubby Jackson and trombonist Bill Harris, Bauer established himself as a soloist in the bebop movement. Billy Bauer’s solo work with this trio has been sited as some of the best examples of early bebop guitar. But, more significantly, his solo work has been cited as some of the most progressive playing for any era.
In 1945 he began working with Lennie Tristano (pianist). Tristano and Bauer enjoyed a natural synergy in their style and approach. His work with Lennie Tristano in the mid 1940’s certainly represented some of the most progressive guitar playing up to that time. His unison playing with Tristano was precise, and his accompaniment to Tristano’s piano represented some of the best and earliest examples of great guitar comping.
In 1946 he played with Benny Goodman but Bauer continued his pioneering guitar work in a partnership with Lee Konitz, whose avant-garde saxophone work was a perfect match for Bauer’s guitar. Billy Bauer continued his pioneering guitar work with Lee Konitz in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Their recordings have been described as “some of the most beautiful duet (Duet For Saxophone and Guitar) recordings in jazz”, redefining the role of jazz guitar. As with Lennie Tristano, Bauer found a kindred musical spirit in Konitz. Konitz’s avant-garde saxophone work was a perfect match for Bauer’s advanced guitar. On the recording Lee Konitz especially, the two musicians demonstrated a unique musical dialogue across a range of styles from bop and cool to the avant-garde. Duet For Saxophone and Guitar, was an unusual instrument paring, that really allowed Bauer’s great musicianship to be heard.
Billy was already an established professional guitarist in New York when players like Johnny Smith and Jimmy Raney arrived on the scene. He helped to Jimmy Raney to set up and work in the City.
Bauer made one album under his own name, “The Plectrist” in 1956. The CD reissue has been described as “demand(ing) the attention of anyone even remotely interested in jazz guitar”.
In later life Bauer taught at the New York Conservatory of Modern Music and his own Billy Bauer Guitar School first in Albertson, New York then in Roslyn Heights, New York. He also published instructional books on studying music and playing the guitar. Bauer led the way for student Joe Satriani.
Early in 1956, Billy Bauer made a recording under his own name. Plectrist put Bauer front and center throughout, playing great jazz guitar.
In the history of jazz guitar there have been many examples of great musicians who are often overlooked (pasados por alto) despite the enormous influence they had. Billy Bauer is one of these. Anyone interested in the early evolution of the guitar in bop and cool jazz should start with Bill Bauer. He led the way for guitarists like Jimmy Raney, amomg many others.
He was dead in 2005.
13- Bucky Pizzarelli (1926-live on) (post-Christian period)
A good rythmic guitar more than a good soloist. His extraordinary skill as a rhythm player places him in the company of the great rhythm players like Freddie Greene and Barry Galbraith.
George van Eps was a strong influence on later seven-string players such asHoward Alden (with whom he recorded four CDs for Concord Records in the early 1990s), Bucky Pizzarelli, and John Pizzarelli (Bucky’s son).
John ‘Bucky’ Pizzarelli began his professional career in 1943 at 17 years old playing in the Vaughn Monroe dance band. He toured and recorded with Monroe through 1951, and in 1952 he joined NBC (National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American commercial broadcast television and radio network) as a staff musician. At NBC, for many years, he played in the Doc Severinson Band on the Tonight Show.
He toured and recorded with Benny Goodman into the 1980’s.
In New York, Pizzarelli worked mainly as a freelance musician in the studios and he appeared on many recordings as part of the rhythm section. One of the era’s most solid rhythm players, Pizzarelli was in high demand to provide propulsion and background for other musicians.
His recordings as leader began to appear in the 1970’s with recordings likeGreen Guitar Blues. On this recording Pizzarelli established a pattern he repeated throughout his career. That is, playing and recording some of the great historic guitar compositions from the 1930’s. On this recording he pays homage /tribute (homenaje /tributo) to Carl Kress, Dick McDonough, George Van Eps and George M. Smith.
Like George Van Eps, Bucky Pizzarelli adopted the seven-string electric guitar(in fact, playing the Gretsch Van Eps model for many years). And, although this guitar is very popular today, for many years, Bucky Pizzarelli, was considered the only guitarist next to George Van Eps, to play the seven-string electric guitar exclusively.
Along with being a dedicated preservationist Bucky has also developed a very personal style. Recordings like Love Songs and NY Swing present a picture of thecomplete jazz musician and guitarist playing solid, swinging rhythm and single string solos in an ensemble setting.
14-Carl Kress (Karl Kress) (1907 – 1965) (pre-Christian, Christian and post-Christian periods)
Carl, a great rhythmic guitar, was a master in duet form with others guitar players though he was not the pioneer. John Cali and Tony Guttoso were probably the pioneer and so they have a pair of tracks on the brilliant Pioneers of the Jazz Guitar compilation released by Yazoo. Many years after Scolfield & Frisell, Whiple & Gallup, and many others also did good guitaristics duet but the most famous was the duet of Eldon Shamblin and Leon McAuliffe, who created Twin Guitar idiom.
Carl was born in Newark, New Jersey and began his music career in the early 1920’s in Newark, while still a teenager. Starting out on the piano, he progressed to the banjo and tenor guitar (four strings). As early as the late 1920’s Carl Kress was an established musician playing in many “dance venues” (dance venues = locales de baile) with the Paul Whiteman Band and with Red Nichols. Some of his earliest recordings with Whiteman and Nichols were made with the tenor guitar. Sometime around 1930 he moved to the six-string guitar, which remained his instrument of choice.
Known for his unorthodox tunings (like Keith Richards in rock!!!) that created rich, full chords, unusual for the time, Kress was considered by his peers to be one of the important guitarists. He introduced a new style of playing rhythm guitarthat clearly set him apart from his contemporaries.
In the 1930’s he recorded extensively with Joe Venuti (violinist), the Boswell Sisters, Paul Whiteman and Adrian Rollini to name just a few. At the same time he was doing extensive radio work and he found time to make some duet recordings(1934-1938) with guitarists as Eddie Lang, Dick McDonough and Tony Mottola. It is these duet recordings along with those he made years later with George Barneswhat established Kress’ place in jazz guitar history.
The guitar duet form was not new when Kress took it up. Others great guitar duets were Eddie Lang and Lonnie Johnson & Carl Kress and Eddie Lang.
After McDonough’s death in 1938 Carl Kress made a couple of duet recordings with Tony Mottola and some solo guitar recordings of original compositions.
In 1961 he teamed up with George Barnes to make a number of recordings including the famous, live Town Hall Concert. His duet with George Barnes had a big popularity.
He was one of the primary exponents of an advanced chordal style and a unique style of rhythm playing that few have mastered. He had a huge influence on jazz guitar world and guitar playing in general.
15- Charlie Byrd (1925 –1999) (post-Christian period)
The “total guitarist”, ageless student of classical guitar, magnificent jazz player and excellent bossa performer. If there is an exceptional guitar player in all kind of music except Flamenco, such as classical, bossa and jazz, that is clearly Charlie Lee Byrd,
Charlie Byrd. Charlie was born in Suffolk, in 1925, and grew up in Chuckatuck, both in Virginia. His father was musician, mandolinist and guitarist, taught him how to play the acoustic guitar at age 10. One of three brothers, Joe, played the bass. Joe Byrd played with his brother from 1962 until Charlie Byrd’s death, in 1999.
In 1942 Charlie entered the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and played in the school orchestra and some years after that he was drafted into the Unated States Army for World War II.
In 1944 he played in an Army Special Services band and possibly meet to Django in Paris whereas he travelled frequently between UK and France. Django influenced to the young Charlie.
After the war, 1945, Byrd returned to the United States and went to New York, where he studied composition and jazz theory at the Harnett National Music School in Manhattan. During this time he began playing the classical.
After 5 years he moved to Washington D.C keeping on the study of classical guitar.
He loved Europe and in 1959 he joined Woody Herman´s Band and toured Europe for 3 weeks as part of a Stae Department-sponsored “goodwill” tour. In 1963 Byrd did another European tour with Les McCann and Zoot Sims, among others.
Moreover to worked in Europe took his music to ASIA and so, in 1968, his quartet was on a state department tour in Asia, which included Katmandu, Nepal.
Influences: His earliest and strongest musical influence was Django Reinhardt, but this one was not the only influence. His teachers in classical guitar, Sophocles Papas in Washington (1950-54) and the spanish guitarist Andrés Segovia from 1954 onwards when this visited New York. In that time Segovia lived in Madrid after getting back from aboard, (Italy, Uruguay, USA) where he lived during a long period. Segovia stayed in Madrid until he died in 1987.
Musical alter ego: In 1957 Byrd met double bassist Ketter Betts in a Washington, D.C., club called the Vineyard. The two began doing gigs (bolos) together, and by October they were frequently performing at a club called the Showboat. In 1959 the pair joined Woody Herman´s Band and toured Europe, as previously refered. Others alter ego or soulmates were: Herb Ellis and Barney Kessel.
In 1973 Byrd joined guitarists Herb and Barney and formed the Great Guitars group, which also included drummer Johnny Rae.
Movements: Byrd was best known for his association with Brazilian music, contributing to the birth of Bossa Nova and specially his entry in USA. So, in 1962, Byrd collaborated with Stan Getz on the album Jazz Samba, a recording which brought bossa nova into the mainstream of North American music. Byrd was first introduced to Brazilian music by his friend radio host (locutor / presentador) Felix Grant who had established contacts in Brazil in the late 1950s and who was well-known there by 1960, due to the efforts of Brazilian radio broadcaster (locutor) Paulo Santos. Following a spring 1961 diplomatic tour of South America (including Brazil) for the State Department, Byrd returned home and met with Stan Getz at the Showboat Lounge. Byrd invited Getz back to his home to listen to some Bossa Nova recordings by Joâo Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim that he had brought back. Getz liked what he heard and the two decided they wanted to make an album of the songs. Getz convinced Creed Taylor at Verve Records to produce the album, and Byrd and he assembled a group of musicians they both knew to create the recordings. These early sessions did not turn out to either man’s liking, so Byrd gathered (reunió) a group of musicians that had been to Brazil with him previously and practiced with them in Washington D.C.until he felt they were ready to record. The group included his brother Gene (Joe) Byrd, as well as Keter Betts, Bill Reichenbach and Buddy Deppenschmidt. Bill and Buddy were both drummers and the combination made it easier to achieve authentic samba rhythms. The recordings were released in April 1962 as the album Jazz Samba, and by September the recording had entered Billboard´s album chart. By March of the following year the album had moved all the way to number one, igniting a Bossa Nova craze craze (manía) in the American jazz community as a result. The album remained on the charts for seventy weeks, and Getz soon beat John Coltrane in a Down Beat poll. One of the album’s most popular tunes was a Jobim hit, titled “Desafinado” the excellent composition that you can listen to in our video collection.
Byrd was also active as a teacher in the late 1950s; he trained several guitar students at his home in D.C., each being required to ‘audition’ for him, before he decided if they had potential enough to warrant his input.
Following the Success of Jazz Samba Byrd was contracted to Riverside Records which rereleased six of his albums recorded for the small Offbeat label, a subsidiary of Washington records. As previously citated, in 1963 Byrd did another European tour with Les McCann and and Zoot Sims among others .Either in 1964 Byrd appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival with Episcopal priest Malcom Boyd, accompanying prayers from his book Are You Running With Me Jesus? with guitar. In 1967 Byrd brought a lawsuit (pleito) against Stan Getz and MGM, contending that he was unfairly paid for his contributions to the 1962 album Jazz Samba.The jury agreed with Byrd and awarded him half of all royalties from the album. In 1973 Byrd moved to Annapolis, Maryland, and in September of that year he recorded an album with Cal Tjader, vibraphonist of Latin Jazz music, tiitled Tambú. Moreover Byrd collaborated with Venezuelan pianist and composer Aldemaro Romero on the album Onda Nueva/The New Wave.
From 1980 through 1996, he released several of his arrangements to the jazz and classical guitar community through Guitarist’s Forum (gfmusic.com)including Charlie Byrd’s Christmas Guitar Solos, Mozart: Seven Waltzes For Classical Guitar, and The Charlie Byrd Library featuring the music of George Gershwin and Irving Berlin.
He also authored the 1973 publication Charlie Byrd’s Melodic Method for Guitar.
In the late 1980s collaborated with the Annapolis Brass Quintet, appearing with them in over 50 concerts across the United States and releasing two albums.
In his last period, from 1973 until his death in 1999, Byrd played at The Showboat II and The King of France Tavern, two jazz club in Maryland.
As a curiosity he loved sailboating (barco de vela), and owned a twenty-six foot boat called “I’m Hip” that he sailed to various parts of the world. He loved cooking also and so in 1992 the book “Jazz Cooks”—by Bob Young and Al Stankus—was published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang, included a few recipes from Byrd.
Award / knowledgment: 1997 – deemed a “Maryland Art Treasure” by the Community Arts Alliance of Maryland; 1999 -Knighted (condecorado) by the government of Brazil as a Knight of the Rio Branco. He died “at home” in The King of France Tavern of the Maryland Inn. Upon his death, a scholarship (beca) was endowed in his name at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University. A jazz supper club in Georgetown, Washington DC, took his name, “Charlie’s”.
He died in 1999 of lung cancer.
16- Charlie Christian (1916 – 1942)
The dancer, trumpeter and baseballer guy that became, for the most of critics, the biggest guitarist all of time in jazz music and for it we class the jazz guitar players in three kinds, pre-Christian, Christian and post-Christian periods . In my opinion was a pioneer but not the better, probably by his short career. Without a doubt he was, without knowing it, the spiritual father of rock music guitar and current music.
Charles Henry “Charlie” Christian was born in Bonham, Texas, but his family moved to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, when he was a small child. His parents were musicians (his father was a guitarist of blues style) and he had two brothers, Edward, and Clarence. All three sons were taught music by their father, Clarence Henry Christian. Clarence Henry was struck blind (se quedó ciego), and in order to support the family he and the boys would work as buskers (músicos callejeros). When Charles grew and was old enough to go along, he first entertained by dancing. His father died when Charlie was 12 years old.
He attended Douglass School in Oklahoma City, and his musical instructor wasZelia Breaux. Charles wanted to play tenor saxophone in the school band, butZelia insisted he try trumpet instead. Later he came upon the thrilling world of the guitar, introduced by his father some years before of his death.
The black & white populations in Oklahoma were separated. At the same time there was two great guitarists, one black (Charlie) and one white (Eldon Shamblin)- Each one played on the ‘other’ side of town. Ironically, some of these artists played in clubs which were across the alley (callejón) from one another, often well within earshot of the back door. Music being a bond between races it’s said that Eldon & Charlie possibly heard one another either on the air or across the alleys. And do not forget to Junior Barnard, also of Oklahoma and a great guitarist, but he worked out of Oklahoma.
Shortly became one of many musicians who jammed along the city’s “Deep Deuce” section on N.E. Second Street but he was not any musician, he was the “great and only one Charlie”. Charles soon was performing locally and on the road throughout the Midwest, as far away as North Dakota and Minnesota.
An aspect unknown of his biography: he loved baseball.
By 1936 he was playing electric guitar and had become a regional attraction. Itwas Mary Lou Williams, future pianist and composer for Duke Ellington, who talked to producer John Hammond about Charlie Christian. In 1939 Christian auditioned for John Hammond, who recommended him to his brother-in-law and bandleader Benny Goodman. The legend says Goodman rejected the idea of hearing Charlie play (may be because the electric guitar was a relatively new instrument) and that he finally heard him only because Lionel Hampton snuck (coló) (past of sneak) Charlie into a the night club where Goodman was playing and set him up on the band stand. Goodman was the fourth white bandleader to feature black musicians in his live band: the first was Jimmy Durante, the second was Arthur Hand (violinist), who led the California Ramblers, the third was Ben Bernie, Goodman became the fourth by bringing Teddy Wilson in on piano in 1935, and Lionel Hampton on vibraphone in 1936. Goodman hired Christian, the third black people in the band, to play with the newly formed Goodman Sextet from August 1939 to June 1941 with the mythical Fletcher Henderson as a member of the band. Were three years full of talent. Although credited for very few, Christian composed many of the original tunes recorded by the Benny Goodman Sextet. It said that Goodman was initially uninterested in hiring Christian because he had had unpleasant experiences with electrical guitarist such as Floyd Smith and Leonard Ware among others, none of whom had the ability of Charlie Christian. There are several versions of the first meeting of Christian and Goodman on August 16, 1939. The most popular version was that displeased at the surprise, Goodman called RoseRoom, a tune he assumed Christian would be unfamiliar with. Unknown to Goodman,Charles had been reared (criado/educado) on the tune, and he left Bennyspeechless (sin palabras / boquiabierto). Anything Goodman had heard before.That version of Rose Room lasted forty minutes. By its end, Christian was in the band.
By February 1940 Christian dominated the jazz and swing guitar polls(encuestas) and was elected to the Metronome All Stars.
In the spring of 1940 Goodman let Charlie go in a All Star Band reorganization withCount Basie or Johnny Guarnieri on the piano, Cootie Williams on the trumpet (longtime Duke Ellington trumpeter) , Georgie Auld on the sax tenor (former Artie Shaw tenor saxophonist) and drummer Dave Tough. This All-Star Band dominated the jazz polls (encuestas) in 1941, including another election to the Metronome for Christian.
Christian’s solos are frequently referred to as horn-like (influenced by horn players such as Lester Young and Herschel Evans) but in my opinion is not true. The Christian´s solos are unique, not influenced in nothing nor nobody. They contributed clearly to the expansion of the guitar’s role from “rhythm section” instrument to a “solo instrument”. Christian was not the first electrical player but he was the more important of this period and forever.
By 1939 there had already been electric guitar players such as: Eddie Durham,Leonard Ware, George Barnes, Floyd Smith (recorded “Floyd’s Guitar Blues” with Andy Kirk in March 1939, using an amplified lap steel guitar) and Eldon Shamblin , who used amplified electric guitar with Bob Wills. None pull the pure sound that Charlie got to his guitar. The Gibson ES-150 was the first electric guitar played by Charlie Christian.
Main contribution / Legato / Disciples: As guitarist left a legacy of jazz guitar that influenced every jazz guitar player and all music that landed after the jazz, we are referring naturally to rock, classic R&B, modern R&B (red it in Spanish language as “ar and bi”) .
The most renowned guitarists of the last half of 20th century acknowledged the influence of Charlie Christian. Guitarists specially influenced by him were Les Paul, Tiny Grimes, Barney Kessel (in my opinion the best guitarist all the times), George Benson, Herb Ellis, Jimmy Raney, Tal Farlow, Kenny Burrell, Grant Green, Wes Montgomery, Jim Hall, Tiny Grimes, T-Bone Walker, Eddie Cochran(rocker), Cliff Gallup, Scotty Moore, Franny Beecher. The great Oscar Moore (Nat King Cole trio) was unique and with own personality.
Memorable /recording sessions: records that foretell bop are Seven Come Eleven (1939) and Air Mail Special (1940 and 1941). An even more striking example is a series of recordings made at Minton’s Playhouse, an after-hours club located in the Hotel Cecil at 210 West 118th Street in Harlem, by Columbia student Jerry Newman on a portable disk recorder in 1941. Newman captured Christian, accompanied by Joe Guy on trumpet, Kenny Kersey on piano and Kenny Clarke on drums. The Minton’s recordings were long rumored to feature “Dizzy” Gillespie and Thelonious Monk, but that has since been proven untrue, although both were regulars at the jam sessions, with Monk a regular in the Minton’s house band. The collection also includes recordings made at Clark Monroe’s Uptown House, another late-night jazz haunt in the Harlem of 1941 that include Oran “Hot Lips” Pageand tenor sax Don Byas.
Movements: Christian was a key figure in the development of bebop and cool jazz. Gene Lees writes that, “Many critics and musicians consider that Christian was one of the founding fathers of bebop, or if not that, at least a precursor of it. In my opinion Christian do not fit totally in Bebop style because he played his instruments in a simple way in contrast to the solos performed by Charlie Parker on the alto sax. He influenced not only guitarists, but other musicians as well. The influence he had on “Dizzy” Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk and Don Byas can be heard on their early “bop” recordings “Blue’n Boogie” and “Salt Peanuts“. Other musicians, such as trumpeter Miles Davis, cite Christian as an early influence. Indeed, Christian’s “new” sound influenced jazz as a whole.
Award / knowledgment: In 2006 Oklahoma City renamed a street in its Bricktown entertainment district Charlie Christian Avenue.
In the late 1930s Christian had contracted tuberculosis and in early 1940 was hospitalized for a short period in which the Goodman group was on hiatus due to Benny’s back trouble. Goodman was newly hospitalized in the summer of 1940. InJune 1941 he was admitted to Seaview, a sanitarium (sanatorio) on Staten Island in New York City. Christian died March 2, 1942. He was 25 years old. He was buried in an unmarked grave in Bonham, Texas, and a Texas State Historical Commission Marker and headstone were placed in Gates Hill Cemetery in 1994
He reigned supreme in the jazz guitar polls up to two years after his death !!!! (like the legendary spanish warrior “Cid Campeador”..
In 1966, 24 years after his death, Christian was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame. In 1989, Christian became one of the first inductees into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. In 1990, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, really Christian’s influence reached beyond jazz and swing, he live with us in each note of music that we listen to currently.
In the words of Ellis: “Listening to Charlie Christian I realized that speed wasn’t everything”.
Charlie was good, very good but he had a short career and died early. Barney Kessel, for me the best, was No. 1 guitarist in Esquire, Down Beat, and Playboy magazine polls for 13 years!!!!! (between 1947 and 1960).
17-Dick McDonough (1904 – 1938) (pre-Christian and Christian periods).
One of pioneers in chordal melody. Like Charlie Christian and Eddie Lang, died at an early age. Unlike them, he was a victim of alcohol, like Jimmy Raney (guitarist), Charlie Parker (sax) and many others. .
Dick McDonough, in a period previous to Charlie Christian, was an influential American jazz guitarist and composer. He was one of the more Lang-influenced guitarists joint to Eldon Shamblin, Carl Kress, George Van Eps and Django Reinhard.
While a student at Georgetown University he ‘discovered’ the six-string guitar and began a serious study of the instrument. After exchanging banjo for guitar, he did extensive work as a session musician in the 1930s and played with Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Red Norvo, Jack Teagarden,Glenn Miller, among others.
In 1933 he made a couple of recordings with Joe Venuti (violinist) that have excellent examples of his guitar.
He and Carl Kress recorded as a guitar duet in the mid-1930s as well. In 1934 McDonough teamed with Carl Kress to write and record three great guitar duets:Chicken A La Swing, Danzon and Stage Fright. These duets influenced guitarists ever since their publication. He and Carl Kress were acknowledged as the most in demand guitarists of their day
Throughout the late 1930’s Dick McDonough led his own orchestra and continued a heavy recording schedule as a studio musician.
In 1937 he made the famous recording A Jam Session At Victor that includedHoneysuckle Rose and The Blues. This recording was considered one of the finest examples of his guitar work. In the company of the best jazz musicians of the time, McDonough demonstrated the very best of his technique in an all out chorus in which he employed chordal melody, single string melody, double stops, bending strings (very unusual in jazz guitar whereas was later very usual in rock music), dissonant harmonies (typical in bebop music) and syncopated rhythms, all of it before that Charlie Christian.
McDonough was an alcoholic and died in 1938 as a result of pneumonia at the age of 34. Although his career was cut very short, he left a legacy of important guitar work that advanced the instrument as both a solo and rhythm instrument.
Dick, like Charlie Christian and Eddie Lang, died at an early age, but left an indelible mark on jazz guitar.
18-“Django” Reinhardt (1910-1953) (pre-Christian, Christian and post-Christian periods).
Great guitar player but his guitarist technique was an exact copy of american guitar player Eddie Lang!!!
The Belgian gypsy Jean Django Reinhard is often regarded as one of the greatest guitar players of all time and is the first important European jazz musician. It said (I don´t believe it) that his solos & chords were performed using only the index and middle fingers of his left hand on (definitively injured after a fire in his youth). Reinhardt is considered the creator of a new style of Jazz Guitar, but in reality is a copy of American guitar player Eddie Lang, a musician largely unknown to the general public. With his violinist Stéphane Grappelli (a copy of american violinist Joe Venuti) his soulmate, founded the Quintette du Hot Club de France, the prototype of named French Gypsy Jazz sound but this music style was performed 20 years before by Lang and Venuti in US. He used a rest-stroke picking technique, typical in new gypsy jazz players such as Django Reinhardt but not observed in Eddie Lang. This rest-stroke technique was imitated (copied very closely or faked) some years later by the popular George Benson.
Django was born in Liberchies, Pont-à-Celles, Belgium. His father’s name was musician and his mother, Laurence Reinhardt, a dancer. Reinhardt was so the family name of her mother. “Django”, in the Gypsy language, means “I awake.”.Reinhardt spent most of his youth in Romani gypsy encampments close to Paris, playing violin, banjo and guitar (in this order) from an early age. His family made cane furniture (muebles de caña) for a living, but included several keen amateur musicians. Reinhardt was attracted to music at an early age, playing the violin at first. He was truly a ‘self-taught’ musician. At the age of 12, he received a banjo as a gift. His first known recordings (in 1928) were of him playing the banjo. During this period he was influenced by two older gypsy musicians, banjoist Gusti Mahla and guitarist Jean “Poulette” Castro. At age 18, in 1928, in Saint-Ouen, Seine-Saint-Denis, is said that he was injured in a fire which ravaged the caravan he shared with Florine “Bella” Mayer, his first wife. He received first- and second-degree burns over half his body. The fourth and fifth fingers of his left hand were badly burned. Unable to play the violin, his brother Joseph Reinhardt, an accomplished (consumado) guitarist, gave Django a new guitar as a gift. With rehabilitation and practice he relearned his craft (oficio) in a completely new way. So he worked out a system for reaching the frets with the remaining fingers on his left hand. It said that he played all of his guitar solos with only two fingers. Whoever that know the jazz guitar could think that it is really impossible !!!!!!!.
He was particularly impressed with Louis Armstrong, whom he called “my brother“. When he heard a Louis Armstrong recording of Dallas Blues he took up jazz and was soon playing with local jazz groups. Though historians do not say it is obvious that in this period was the American guitar player Eddie Lang his major influence. Reinhardt would acquire his first Selmer guitar in the mid-1930s. Reinhardt and the Hot Club of France used the Selmer Maccaferri, the first commercially available guitars with a cutaway and later with an aluminium-reinforced neck. The “Quintette du Hot Club de France“ was one of the few well-known jazz ensembles composed only of stringed instruments. This band was formed by Django, Grappelli, Joseph (Reinhardt’s brother) and Roger Chaput on guitar, and Louis Vola on bass. Occasionally Chaput was replaced by Reinhardt’s best friend and fellow Gypsy Pierre “Baro” Ferret. Curiously in some of its versions they used their guitars for percussive sounds, as they had no true percussion section (see selfie videos in my web with percussion in a simlar way to Django). In 1937, American jazz singer Adelaide Hall opened a nightclub in Montmartre with her husband Bert Hicks, naming it ‘La Grosse Pomme’ and organized many performances featuring Django & Grappelli. Both also performed regularly in the artistic salon R-26 of the same neighborhood. When World War II broke out, the original quintet was on tour in the United Kingdom. Reinhardt returned to Paris at once, leaving his wife and his best friend Grappelli behind (¿¿??). Both remained in the United Kingdom. Reinhardt reformed the quintet,with Hubert Rostaing on clarinet replacing Grappelli’s violin. In 1943, Reinhardt married Sophie “Naguine” Ziegler in Salbris, with whom he had a son, Babik Reinhardt, who became a respected guitarist in his own right.
Reinhardt survived the war unlike many Gypsies. Part of the explanation of his survival is that he enjoyed the protection of jazz-loving Germans such as Luftwaffe officer Dietrich Schulz-Köhn, nicknamed “Doktor Jazz“.
It said that as many Nazis also officially disapproved the jazz, Reinhardt became interested in other musical directions and so composed his symphony Rhythm Futur .
After the war, Reinhardt rejoined Grappelli in the UK, and then went on in the autumn of 1946 to tour the United States – debuting at Cleveland Music Hall as a special guest soloist with Duke Ellington and His Orchestra. After the tour he secured an engagement at Café Society Uptown, backed by the resident band. These performances drew large audiences. During the year he lived in U.S. had the privilege of be the highest paid musician of Jazz !!!!!!.
He returned to France in February 1947. After returning to France, Reinhardt spent the remainder of his days re-immersed in Gypsy life, having found it difficult to adjust to the modern world. During this period he did, however, continue to attend the R-26 artistic salon in Montmartre, improvising with his devoted collaborator, Stéphane Grappelli.
In Rome in 1949, Reinhardt recruited three Italian jazz players (on bass, piano, and snare drum) and recorded his famous album “Djangology”.
Then he was once again united with Grappelli, and returned to his acoustic Selmer-Maccaferri. The recording was discovered and issued for the first time in thelate 1950s.
In 1951, he retired to Samois-sur-Seine, near Fontainebleau, where he lived until his death. He continued to play in Paris jazz clubs and began playing electric guitar despite his initial hesitation towards the instrument. His final recordings made with his “Nouvelle Quintette” in the last few months of his life show himmoving in a new musical direction; it said that he had assimilated the vocabulary of bebop and fused it with his own melodic style but this untrue, he never played the guitar inside the philosophy of bebop. While walking from the Avon railway station after playing in a Paris club he collapsed outside his house from a brain hemorrhage. He was declared dead on arrival at the hospital in Fontainebleau at the age of 43.
Respect to his family, his first son, Lousson, was more traditionalist, he followed the Romani lifestyle and rarely performed in public; Reinhardt’s second son, Babik, was a guitarist in the contemporary jazz style. Django´s nephew (Joseph’s son) Markus was a gypsy violinist. Many of his descendants are also involved in gypsy music, such as his grandson Lulo Reinhardt.
Legato: British guitarists Diz Disley and Denny Wright. In 1973 Stéphane Grappelli formed a successful Quintette-style band with both. New generations began to emerge, for instance, Jimmy and Stochelo Rosenberg, Paulus Schäfer. Young players such as Adrien Moignard and Gwenole Cahue represent the rising generation.
Songs written in Reinhardt’s honour include: “Django” (1954), composed by jazz pianist John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet; “Django,” an instrumental guitar piece by renowned blues-rock guitarist Joe Bonamassa. “Jessica“, written by Dickey Betts (The Allman Brothers Band) was also in tribute to Reinhardt. Cuban composer and guitarist Leo Brouwer composed Variations on a Theme of Django Reinhardt for solo guitar (1984). It is based on Nuages, by Reinhardt.
The Belgian government issued a commemorative coin in 92.5% sterling silver in 2010 coinciding with his 100th birth anniversary. I have one of these coins. It is a silver 10 Euro coin with a color image of Django Reinhardt on the reverse side. Each year the village of Liberchies (Belgium) where Django was born celebrate a festival. Joe Pass and Herb Ellis have recorded tributes to this great musician. And, of course, they played Nuages (see my simple cover about this song in the section “selfie videos” of this web).
19-Earl Klugh (1953- live on) (contemporary)
One of pioneers in chordal melody technique (pianistic approach to the guitar) and the father of sound of smooth jazz style in guitar, inspired in George Benson.
Earl was born in the sad Detroit, Michigan. Began playing piano in 1956, with only 3 years (¿¿??), and guitar in 1963 (10 years); increased attention given to folk music and pop in the 1960s. The young player was particularly inspired by the popular trio Peter, Paul, and Mary, as well as by folk troubadour Bob Dylanand the beat-pop of the famous british group the Beatles. So experimented with a method of fingerpicking that he applied to the popular songs of that time. It was at this point, in his middle teenage years, that Klugh discovered Chet Atkins. At the age of 13, Klugh was captivated by the guitar playing of Chet Atkins when Atkins made an appearance on the Perry Como Show. Curiously Atkins, his main influence, was not a jazz guitarist but creator, with Owen Bradley, of thesmoother country music style known as the Nashville sound, which expanded country’s appeal to adult pop music fans as well. Moreover Atkins was occasional vocalist and record producer. In turn (a su vez) Atkins’ signature picking style was inspired by Merle Travis, George Barnes and Jerry Reed. As Klugh stated in Down Beat, “I saw him on television, and he changed my whole concept of playing. He was the only person I ever heard up to that point who played the instrument like I wanted to hear it played, playing chords and melody simultaneously with a finger-style technique. In the next eighteen months after seeing him on TV, I bought forty of his albums and listened to them until I was able to copy from them.” While Earl teaching guitar and working at a Detroit music store at the age of 15, Klugh was “discovered” by jazz great Yusef Lateef (saxophonist with long life dying aged 93). Lateef invited Klugh to participate in a jam session at the world-famous Detroit jazz club Baker’s Keyboard Lounge. Klugh’s first recording, at age 15 (1968), was on Yusef Lateef‘s Suite 16.
After graduation, Klugh was introduced to jazz guitarist George Benson at Baker’s in 1971. After a year of working intermittently with Benson with whom he recorded White Rabbit album, Klugh was formally invited to join the group. and two years later, in 1973, joined his touring band. “That was the best musical experience of my life. George taught me a lot about playing, and I also learned the potential of an acoustic guitar in an electric setting.”
After this touring he was briefly a member of Return to Forever, a jazz fusion group founded and led by pianist Chick Corea. Although he only played with that group for two months, the experience made a lasting impression on him. “Playing with Chick was great. It made me realize that writing my own music and developing my own style and identity was the way to go.”
In the mid-’70s began recording as a leader.
Klugh was also a performing guest on several of Atkins’ albums, fulfilling a old dream.
Early 1990s formed the Earl Klugh Trio with Gene Dunlap on drums, and Ralphe Armstrong on bass–“big, lush (enorme), and hummable.” (hummable= to emit a continuous low droning sound like that of the speech sound (m) when prolonged = (of a piece of music) able to be hummed easily, melodic, tuneful. –“fácil de tatarear” . With his trio toured throughout the U.S., Europe, and Japan.
Awards: At 1981, for their album One on One, Klugh and Bob James, keyboardist, arranger and producer, received a Grammy award not for a jazz album but for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. Moreover he has received 12 Grammy nominations, the last in 2013, at the 56th Annual GRAMMY® Awards in Los Angeles January 26, 2014. The album Hand Picked was released by Heads Up in the summer of 2013, and featured guest spots by Bill Frisell, Vince Gill (country singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist), and Jake Shimabukuro (Hawaiian ukelele). Respect to album titled Hand Picked, Earl was another time not honored to be nominated for Best Jazz album but Pop Instrumental Album.
Movements: Although Earl Klugh does not consider himself a jazz player is considered as the father of sound of smooth jazz style in guitar. In 2006 Modern Guitar magazine wrote that Klugh “is considered by many to be one of the finest acoustic guitar players today.” Respect to the fact of he did not consider himself a jazz musician, he explained in Guitar Player magazine: “There is an element of jazz in my music, but basically it’s pop. I have trouble with the label ‘jazz.’ With all my respects for this reflection of Earl, the pop-music is other thing, he PLAY jazz,unadulterated jazz with two essential characteristics: a) a soft syle known as “smooth”; b) a typical technique called “chord melody”, in a chordal way more like a piano player instead of just one note at a time. Many critics attributed this fact to his past time, so Klugh began his musical learning on the piano. It has not always inspired critical praise. This lack of critical approval, Klugh admitted in Guitar Player, is due primarily to his conscious decision NOT show his playing ability. Given the enormity of his yield and the success he has achieved, it is clear that a large number of record buyers share his tastes.
20- Eddie Durham (1906 –1987) (pre-Christian, Christian and post-Christian periods).
Much more than a guitarist: one of pioneers in Swing Music (in the band of Benny Moten), the first guitar to experiment with proto-amplifiers in October 1929 and the second to record an electric guitar in jazz music. Ambassador of Texas Jazz. The genius in the shadows
Eduard “Eddie” Durham was born in San Marcos, Texas. Durham imbibed music from birth. Everybody in his family played an instrument. When he was still a child, his older brother Joe formed the Durham Brothers Orchestra, and Eddie began his professional career playing local dances and celebrations. Joe insisted that Eddie receive a superior musical education at the Chicago Conservatory, which was open to African-Americans (Coleman Hawkins and Don Redman were other alumni). In Chicago, Durham heard King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band at the Lincoln Gardens and, says Schaap, “He had a vision that Chicago jazz in the 1920s was relatable to that from Texas, yet different, and that was the beginning of his desire to orchestrate.”
He was an American jazz guitarist, trombonist (played a significant role in the trombone sections of the Lunceford and Basie bands); composer (wrote the hit pop tune “I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire”) (He is the co-composer (with Edgar Battle) of the tune “Topsy”, firstly recorded by the Count Basie Orchestra and later by many others.). Moreover he composed John´s Idea Time out Out the window and Sent for you yesterday in 1937 as well as Swinging the blues and Every Tub in 1938; as musical arranger: arranged “In the Mood” for Glenn Miller)(this is disputed) and did a beautiful cover of Richard Rodgers’s “Blue Room,” which he stripped down like a master mechanic, chorus after chorus, to its rhythmic core. Moreover: Durham’s Moten charts (partituras) were just the first of his profound contributions to American music and surprisingly in one year (1937-1938), wrote almost the entire Count Basie book, most of which tunes became classics; and finally, he codified (jazz orchestration) the feeling of Southwestern jazz the same way Jelly Roll Morton did with New Orleans music.
He was the first guitarist to experiment with proto-amplifiers, for example in the solo of Band Box Shuffle in October 1929 and 9 years after, he credited for recording the world’ssecond jazz electric guitar solo with a Gibson ES-150 guitar in 1938 in the “Kansas City” song (by Lester Young) with the combo Kansas City Six. Other electric guitars had been recorded that year by other players: George Barnes with Big Bill Broonzy. The origins of the electric guitar are clear: Andy Iona was the first, as early as 1933 with a Hawaiian guitar. Bob Dunn of Milton Brown’s Musical Brownies introduced the electric Hawaiian guitar to Western swing with his January 1935 Decca recordings. In jazz, George Barnes recorded “Sweetheart Land” and “It’s a Low-Down Dirty Shame” in 1938, 15 days before Durham’s recorded a guitar electric with the Kansas City Five. This combo was drawn from the Count Basie Orchestra and was formed with trumpeter Buck Clayton, drummer Jo Jones, bassist Walter Page, and rhythm guitarist Freddie Green, featured Eddie Durham´s electric guitar. The Kansas City were augmented to Six (KC Six) by Lester Young on clarinet and tenor sax. With the electric guitar, he played a role analogous to that of Louis Armstrong’s trumpet soloing- he showed everyone the instrument’s possibilities for technical execution and emotional expression. Durham personally taught it to Charlie Christian, Floyd Smith and other innovators of the instrument.
Pay attention!! on 1932, in the eye of the Great Depression that was devastating the record industry, Eddie worked with the precursory swing band “Bennie Moten Kansas CityOrchestra”. In this band he worked with Count Basie (piano), Ben Webster (saxo) Walter Page (double bass) and the great Hot Lips Page (Oran Thaddeus to the trumpet. Moten was the realpioneer of swing music. , who “swinged” into a converted church in Camden, N.J., and launched the Swing Era, three years before clarinetist Benny Goodman’s formal inauguration as the “King of Swing” at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles. While composer/bandleader Moten was vanished into the mists (neblina) of history, his band boasted an assemblage of jazz legends: trumpeter Hot Lips Page, pioneering double-bassist Walter Page, tenor saxophonist Ben Webster and pianist Count Basie. Among so many gifted, the quantum musician most responsible for rearranging his music was Eddie Durham, trombonist-guitarist-arranger.
As curiosity, Eddie formed and/or led several all-female orchestras-thus becoming one of jazz’s first (some would say only) feminists.
Finally, according to jazz historian Phil Schaap, who knew Durham for decades, Eddie Durham was “the most neglected (olvidado) musical genius of the 20th Century”. There is a documentary film, Ambassador of Texas Jazz.” (Diedre Lannon, 2010, 18 min) about “this genius in the shadows”.
21-Eddie Lang (1902 –1933) (pre-Christian period).
The best friend of Bing Crosby and with Italian blood, Eddie is considered historically the first important jazz guitarist (called for it “father of jazz guitar”) and He was also the guitarist father, by his big influence, of Django Reinhardt. Eddie died at the early age of 30 !! from complications following a simple tonsillectomy.
Salvatore Massaro Eddie Lang was in American jazz guitarist, regarded by some as the Father of Jazz Guitar. He played a Gibson L-4 and L-5 guitar, providing great influence for many guitarists, including Django Reinhardt.
Lang was the son of Italian immigrants and the youngest of 10 children. He was born in South Philadelphia. His father was a instrument maker in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At age 11 he took violin lessons. At age 16 he was playing professionally 3 instruments: violin, banjo, and guitar. The stage name “Eddie Lang” was adopted from that of a basketball player Salvatore admired. Music & Sports: Charlie Christian loved the baseball whereas Eddie Lang loved the basketball. Lang also played under the nickname Blind Willie Dunn on a number of blues records with Lonnie Johnson.
He worked with various bands in the USA‘s north-east, the worked in London !!!!!!!(late 1924 to early 1925), then settled in New York City. Lang was the first important jazz guitarist. He was effectively able to integrate the guitar into 1920s jazz recordings.. Lang was to become one of the busiest jazz sidemen and studio musicians of the 1920s, playing with such jazz and blues greats as Joe Venuti (jazz violinist: The “american Stephan Crapelli”) and boyhood friend of Lang, King Oliver, Adrian Rollini, Jack Teagarden, Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Bix Beiderbecke, Frank Trumbauer, and Bessie Smith. He participated in many of the leading bands of the era, including the Jean Goldkette and Roger Wolf Kahn bands and the Paul Whiteman Orchestra. In 1929, he joined Paul Whiteman‘s Orchestra, and can be seen and heard in the movie The King of Jazz.
On February 4, 1927, Lang featured in the recording of “Singin’ the Blues” by Frankie Trumbauer and His Orchestra featuring Bix Beiderbecke on cornet. Lang traded guitar licks while Beiderbecke soloed on cornet, in a landmark jazz recording of the 1920s.In 1930, Lang played guitar on the original recording of the jazz standard “Georgia On My Mind“, recorded with Hoagy Carmichael and His Orchestra. Joe Venuti and Bix Beiderbecke also played on this recording. Lang also played under the pseudonym Blind Willie Dunn on a number of blues records with Lonnie Johnson.
In 1929, when Bing Crosby left Whiteman, Lang went with Crosby as his accompanist or sideman, and can be seen with him in the 1932 movie Big Broadcast. The close personal and professional relationship that was to develop between these two men, while opening new commercial potential for Lang, ultimately set in motion the events that would lead to the guitarist’s death. By 1931, Lang was working full time as Crosby’s personal accompanist on Crosby’s theater shows, nightly radio broadcasts, and recordings. Crosby recommended Eddie for surgery, which would improve his chronic throat discomfort. Surprisingly, the “father of jazz guitar”, died at the age of 30 from complications following a simple tonsillectomy. The story of Eddie Lang offers insight into the colorful world of early jazz and serves as a painful reminder that even routine surgical procedures may carry with them the potential for catastrophe. A Medical History “operation for recurrent tonsillitis/chronic tonsillitis.”Thetonsillectomy was performed the morning of Sunday, March 26, 1933, at Park West Hospital at 170 West 76th Street in Manhattan. 8 Presumably, general anesthesia was used. Lang’s wife Kitty, a former Ziegfeld Follies dancer, was present in the hospital at the time of the operation. In the immediate postoperative period, the operation appeared to have been a success. Lang’s bedside throughout the entire postoperative period, waiting for him to awaken and see her.Eddie Lang never woke up. Compared to the self-destructive tendencies of many early jazz greats, Lang was a quiet, reserved personage and a reliable worker who seldom drank, making his untimely death all the more ironic. It is believed that Lang was a regular smoker of tobacco (personal telephone communication with E. Massaro, nephew of Eddie Lang, November 27, 2000).According to Kitty, after a nurse checked Lang’s pulse around 5:00 pm, a doctor was rapidly called, and Kitty was escorted out of the room, being told soon thereafter that Eddie had died. Bing Crosby, who reportedly had been at the nearby Friar’s Club, rushed to the hospital after being notified Lang’s death. 9 According to Kitty, “when Bing found out, he cried in my arms like a baby.” According to his death certificate: Eddie developed “a blood clot that formed in the lung”. An autopsy was never performed. Lang’s body was transported to his hometown of Philadelphia, where the funeral was held on Thursday, March 30, 1933 Legal action was never taken. The hospital were officially closed in 1976. The records were destroyed in a Brooklyn warehouse fire, so the exact cause of death of first guitarist important in jazz history will be never determined (S. Weinbaum, personal communication by written letter to the author, January 17, 2001).
Eddie Lang is credited with having created the entire idiom of jazz guitar. Before Lang, the banjo represented the principal strummed instrument in jazz orchestra rhythm sections. Without any predecessor from whom to model himself, Lang demonstrated to the evolving world of 1920s. Jazz guitarist George Van Eps assessed the legacy of Eddie Lang: “It’s very fair to call Eddie Lang the father of jazz guitar”. Barney Kessel noted that “Eddie Lang first elevated the guitar and made it artistic in jazz.” Les Paul acknowledged that “Eddie Lang was the first and had a very modern technique.” Joe Pass, in a 1976 interview, stated that Lang was one of the three main guitars innovators, along with Wes Montgomery and Django. Obviously Pass forgot to Eddie Durham, Charlie Christian and many others.
His 1927 recording of “Singin’ the Blues” with Bix Beiderbecke and Frankie Trumbauer was placed in 1977 on the U.S. Library of Congress was placed on the U.S. Library of Congress National Recording Registry. In 1986, Lang was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame. In 2010, he was one of the ASCAP Jazz Wall of Fame inductees. THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF COMPOSERS, AUTHORS AND PUBLISHERS ASCAP members represent the rich heritage of jazz..
22- Eldon Shamblin (1916 – 1998) (Christian and post-Christian periods).
Eldon Shamblin was an American singer, guitarist and arranger and one of the first electric guitarists in a popular dance band. He was known as the other great guitarist in Oklahoma, the first being a young Charlie Christian (non-singer). Eldon invented a two-beat rhythm, his trademark sound. A Rolling Stone editor wrote a piece on him called “Eldon Shamblin – the Greatest Rhythm Guitarist in the World“. He is probably the father of country & rockabilly guitars, two musics of a Western origin. The other rockabilly creators were Bill Pittman and Jimmy Wyble. Eldon Shamblin andLeon McAuliffe created Twin Guitar idiom (see later his influence in the Alman Brothers Band). A piano tuner in the decade of 60 !!!!.
Born in Clinton, Oklahoma, Shamblin learned guitar at a young age and learned to read music with his sister, who played the piano. He became interested in Jazz when he heard Eddie Lang and Joe Venuti. In time he purchased transcriptions of Eddie’s solos and learned them.
As a teenager he migrated from Weatherford, OK to Oklahoma City where he had a daily 15 minute radio show where he sang and accompanied himself on his guitar. Eventually he wound up playing in hotel bands there in OK City with jazz musicians playing selections that were soon to become classics.
His local fame spread and he soon was known as the other great guitarist in Oklahoma, the first being a young Charlie Christian who played in a lot of the nightclubs on the ‘other’ side of town where few white people ventured. Likewise Blacks seldom were seen in the ‘white’ section. Ironically, some of these artists played in clubs which were across the alley (callejón) from one another, often well within earshot of the back door. Music being a bond between races it’s said that Eldon & Charlie possibly heard one another either on the air or across the alleys. And do not forget to Junior Barnard, also of Oklahoma and a great guitarist but he worked out of Oklahoma.
He later had his own radio show and eventually joined another group playing hotels performing classical songs. He joined Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys in November 1937. Shamblin’s trademark electric guitar style and musical knowledge was key to the success of Wills’ Western swing
A self-taught guitarist, he quickly became the band’s musical arranger as he had learned to read charts by studying big band arrangements.
His guitar featured prominently on the band’s 1946 hit “Ida Red“, which was later rewritten by Chuck Berry as “Maybellene“!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Then, on “Take Me Back To Tulsa” in 1940, he invented a “two-beat rhythm”: two–beat (also “playing in two.” A form of rhythm organization in which the first and third beats of the bar are emphasized (particularly by the bass) arrangement which became his trademark sound.
Over the years Shamblin’s rhythm style incorporated much of what he learned from studying Eddie Lang’s recorded work and transcribed solos.
Eldon was an a very creative innovator in his chord voicings moving beyond what Lang had brought to the fore along with other Lang influenced guitarists including Dick McDonough, Karl Kress, George Van Eps and Django Reinhard.
Shamblin’s lead guitar work was such that in April 1941 Metronome magazinecalled him the most creative and inventive guitarist since the discovery of Charlie Christian and the best white guitarist with the greatest flow of fresh ideas like Charlie played. They acknowledged Eldon as an innovator (with a Lang-based original style) and not an imitator of Charlie’s style.
Thirty years later a Rolling Stone editor wrote a piece on him called “Eldon Shamblin – the Greatest Rhythm Guitarist in the World” hailing Eldon for his creativity, solidity and echoing Metronome magazine’s much earlier assessment.Similarly, Down Beat acknowledged Eldon’s legendary status as a major contributor to the world of guitar noting he was Jazz oriented and a Swing musician albeit working in Western Swing and Country bands (for example: Merle Haggard Country band).
He had an immense knowledge of harmony like George Van Eps.
Rockabilly and Rock and Roll owe a debt to Bil Pitman and Bob Wills!!!!!!. This last had great guitarists of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Guitarist Jimmy Wyble who was a Texas Playboy from late 1943 until Spring 1945 waxed some of the finest guitars solos on record in any genre with Bob Wills on hits like Roly Poly and Texas Playboy Rag. His licks can be traced directly to almost note for note rip offs on Gene Vincent‘s recordings from his great sessions with guitarist Cliff Gallup. He also heavily influenced Hank Garland in Nashville and Jimmy Bryant on the coast in CA.
Eldon bended the strings and turn up the volume, the result can now be considered proto-rockabilly with his somewhat “less than Junior” attack,playing more reserved by executing his licks with more harmonic structure and more intricacy in his very forward thinking solos.
In the 40’s Junior heralded what was to become rock guitar in the 60’s with his proto-grunge distortion and sustain while Eldon held the reins and visited the soon to come Rockabilly era in California, Oklahoma and Texas a full decade before it launched in Memphis.
During his tenure with Wills, Eldon played his 1936 Gibson Super 400. At Wills request he also purchased a Gibson ES-150 electric guitar and matching EH-150 amplifier in 1938.
Eldon Shamblin and Playboys steel guitarist Leon McAuliffe began experimenting with what would become their trademark Twin Guitar idiom right away in the motel rooms when they traveled just to amuse themselves in their off duty hours. The ‘twin guitar’ idiom inspired a whole generation of guitarists over the years including Dickie Betts of the Allman Brothers band who has attributed his twin lead work with the late Duane Allman and more notably the uncredited Les Dudek who played on the Brothers and Sisters album with their hit song Rambling Man and Jessica (a song in honour to Django Reinhard).
Wills asked them (Eldon & Leon) to write some special instrumental songs that would feature them as primary artists. They quickly came up with two tunes, Twin Guitar Special which Wills recorded along with his own Special fiddle tune in 1940. The other tune Eldon and Leon came up with was called Twin Guitar Boogie which Wills never recorded because Wills thought the tune was too ‘out there’ so he passed.McAuliffe recorded this song on one of his Capitol albums from the 60’s under the name Bouncing Bobby (a nickname for fiddler Bobby Bruce).
In December 1973 Wills made his last recording in Dallas with an all-star cast of past Playboys including Eldon & Leon who played Twin Guitar Special but it was renamed Twin Guitar Boogie with the two of them listed as composers. ature great twin leads owing much to what Eldon & Leon invented.
Shamblin logged over 300 recorded songs with Bob Wills from 1938 until 1954.
Shamblin was drafted into the Army in 1942, where he served for four years as a Captain in Patton’s 3rd Army in the European Theater of War and was there at the Battle of the Bulge. After his discharge he rejoined the Texas Playboys (in a new version without Leon) in September 1946 (after a brief stint with Leon McAuliffe’s Western Swing Band in Tulsa), rejoining Wills in Fresno, CA where the Playboys were headquartered, staying with them until 1956.
In 1957 Eldon joined Hoyle Nix and the West Texas Cowboysband in Big Spring, Texas where they played at the Stampede Ballroom. After two years on the Nix bandEldon returned to Tulsa where he managed a “convenience store” and taughtguitar at the Guitar House music store there in Tulsa. He expanded his work tobecoming a first rate piano tuner (!!!!!) and electronic organ serviceman who was much in demand.
He returned to music in 1970 when he was called upon to help organize a tribute to Wills and played with Merle Haggard (country style) in the album A Tribute to the Best Damn Fiddle Player in the World (or, My Salute to Bob Wills).
Shamblin later joined Haggard (The Strangers) in 1973. He toured with Haggard on a fairly irregular basis, with most of his participation being in the Oklahoma & Texas area as well as Hag’s usual seasonal 2 week stands every year at Harrah’s inReno, NV. Eldon played sessions with Hag in Hollywood at Capitol Records and studios in Nashville, TN.
During his off time he worked in Tulsa playing locally with various acts playing everything from Jazz to Swing, Country music, Rockabilly and Western Swing.Most notably was his presence at the club Caravan Ballroom playing in a band led by Shirl Cummins a local drummer who owned a first class music store there in Tulsa called The Guitar House where Eldon taught music and guitar and also worked tuning guitars and servicing keyboard instruments.
Finally Shamblin had his own piano tuning and electronic organ servicing business that afforded him a decent living because he was so in demand. At one point he had nearly every church in town as one his accounts. Word has it that not only was he the best in town, he was the least expensive and most reliable.
In 1983 he joined a late version of the Texas Playboys led newly by Leon McAuliffe who fronted the Original Texas Playboys (but in this occasion had a newfeaturing Bob Kiser on guitar) which also re-released an album that had been recorded locally called Eldon Shamblin – Guitar Genius.
Shamblin is noted for playing one of the first Fender Stratocaster electric guitarsever made which was a demonstrator model given to him personally by Leo Fender in March 1954. In the early 80’s Eric Clapton called Eldon at his home in Tulsa and offered him $10,000 for it.
By 1996 Shamblin was in ill health and retired from music except for a few of rare special appearances. He died in a nursing home in Sapulpa, OK on August 5, 1998. He was posthumously inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1999 (along with Bob Wills and a select group of about a dozen the most active and productive of his Texas Playboys) and was also inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in 2006.
23- Freddie Green (1911 -1987). (Christian and post-Christian periods).
Specially noted for his sophisticated rhythm guitar and for his faithfulness to Count Basiefor almost 50 years !!!. The king of ‘chunky’ rhythm sound and the king of chordal orchestration.
Frederick William “Freddie” Green, Mr. Rhythm or the rhythm master, the first great guitar player in jazz rhythm accompaniment, born in Charleston, South Carolina at 1911. He was exposed to music from an early age, and learned the banjo at age 12, in a similar way to Django Reinhardt and Eddie Lang, before picking up the guitar in his early teenage years.
Sam Walker taught a young Freddie to read music. Walker gave Freddie what was perhaps his first gig (bolo o trabajo musical).
When Green’s parents died he moved to New York to live with his aunt and continue his education. While still in his teens, he began to play around the clubs of the city, earning money and a reputation. While playing at the Yeah Man Club, Green was advised by the club manager to switch from banjo to guitar and he never looked back. Soon Green was playing at the Excelsior Club with pianist Willie Gant and by 1936 he landed a high profile spot playing in the Black Cat Club in Greenwich Village with saxophonist Lonnie Simmons and drummer Kenny Clark. It was during his appearances at the Black Cat that John Hammond (the same guy that got Charlie Christian a place in Benny Goodman’s band)discovered Freddie Green and soon admired his exceptional guitar talents. Hammond was so impressed that he set up an audition with the Count Basie band. Green got accepted and kept his spot with Count Basie until March 1987, a rare tenure of that length in the music industry which lasted for 50 years!!!!!!!. In fact, it was after Greens final gig with Basie, on March 1, 1987, that he collapsed and died from a massive heart attack.
By 1934, Count Basie had taken over the Benny Moten Band , and by 1936 the core of the classic Basie Big Band, known as the All-American Rhythm Section, was nearly complete, with the addition of tenor saxophonist Lester Young, trumpeter Carl Tatti Smith, and the ying (antítesis) to the yang bass player Walter Page, drummer Jo Jones. This nucleus, with the later addition of Freddie Green on guitar in 1937, became the model for virtually all rhythm sections in the Swing Era and beyond. Except for a brief interruption, Freddie Green would remain a pivotal fixture of the Count Basie Band for the next fifty years. Green simply became indispensable and as unique and essential to Basie’s band as possibly Basie himself was.
On March 26, 1937, Green recorded his first sessions with Basie and his Orchestra for Decca, performing on the tunes Honeysuckle Rose, Pennies From Heaven, Swinging At The Daisy Chain and Roseland Shuffle. Greens impeccable rhythmic skills formed a synergistic fusion with Basie’s piano and his orchestra’s smooth rhythm foundation. Green followed Basie’s band to play a part in John Hammond’s “Spirituals to Swing” concerts between ’38 and ’39. These concerts featured jazz giants from all over the US, including a set with Lester Young and the new guitar legend Charlie Christian. During this phase, Green also performed with sax great Buddy Tate among the many notables.
Respect to his solo performance Green played two unique solos. The first solo was registered in the album Back with Basie. Really he doesn’t use single note lines but instead adds chordal fills in a similar way to contemporary Al Casey. The second solo was on the January 16, 1938 Carnegie Hall concert, and casually was not with Count Basie Orchestra but in a Jam Session. This concert was featured by the Benny Goodman big band. In the jam session on “Honeysuckle Rose,” Green was the guitarist for the ensemble, which featured Basie, Page, and musicians from Duke Ellington‘s band. After Goodman’s solo, he signalled to Green to take his own solo.
Freddy Green was also a session player and performed with the great guitarists Kenny Burrell and Herb Ellis (arguably one of the best “swing” soloists of his time).
During the 50s and 70s, Green and Basie backed some of the planets most revered and famous singers such as Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Judy Garland and soul man Sammy Davis Jr.
Green recorded also 4 sessions under his own name, Freddie Green and his Kansas City Seven and 1 session as Freddie Green and his Orchestra, with it recorded one of his most historic sessions called Mr. Rhythm, with Joe Newman, pianist Nat Pierce and bassist Milt Hinton.
Freddie was especially noted for his sophisticated rhythm guitar in big band settings.. He rarely played solos. In order to encapsulate Freddie Green’s rhythm guitar approach, one first has to look at how he held the guitar !!!! . The main reason to hold the guitar this way is to let the back of the guitar vibrate freely in order to enhance the volume. Moreover, by playing in dance venues (locales de baile), Green perfected his control of tempo, resulting in an exceptional control of rhythm and making him the master of rhythm guitar.”
His sound was always subtle, or as he says it in his own words: You should never hear the guitar by itself. It should be part of the drums so it sounds like the drummer is playing chords. Frequently he dampened the unsounded notes from chords with his left hand. This technique gave a ‘chunky’ (sólido) rhythm sound.
Green perfected the use of easy-to-move chord forms mostly consisting of the root, 7th and 3rd or similar combinations and inversions that put the 5th on the bottom string. Whether he was hitting 9ths, 13ths or sus chords, Freddie kept it simple and toward the bass side of his strings in order to provide the best possible harmonic under tone to the bands big swinging sound.
As far as his right hand technique is concerned, Freddie Green strummed all the strings, on beats 1 and 3 near the end of the neck and on beats 2 and 4 closer to the bridge. In a similar bump way (bump way = forma percusiva) as pianists do it, him played the guitar. “His superb timing and … flowing sense of harmony … helped to establish the role of the rhythm guitar as an important part of every rhythm section.”. He rapidly changed chords, often with every beat (parte del compás), rather than every measure (compás). His chord fingering often involved him covering four strings.
Green’s playing on his signature Stromberg guitar (a big acoustic jazz guitars without cutaways).
Green died of a massive heart attack in Las Vegas, Nevada at the age of 75. It was after Greens final gig with Basie, on March 1, 1987, that he collapsed and died from a massive heart attack.
Jim Hall, said of Green: If you pruned (seleccionar, restringir, elegir) the tree of jazz, Freddie Green would be the only person left. If you have to listen to only one guitarist, study the way he plays rhythm with Count Basie... Freddie Green’s historical significance and importance to the evolution of jazz guitar is as critical to the structure and stylings of jazz rhythm guitar as Charlie Christian and Wes Montgomery were to solo jazz guitar. Freddie Green’s chordal orchestrations are almost a mandatory study for the jazz guitar student and professionalwho wants to achieve a level of maturity and versatility in the field of jazz. Greens rhythm prowess was legendary as reflected in a quote by Wes Montgomery: he’s not just playing chords, he’s playing a LOT of chords…
24-George Benson (1943-live on) (post Christian period).
George Benson, a devout Jehovah’s Witness from 1979, is a ten-time Grammy Award-winning as singer-songwriter not as guitar player. He began his professional career at twenty-one, as a jazz guitarist. Benson uses a rest-stroke picking technique similar to that of gypsy jazz players such as Django Reinhardt.
Benson was born and raised in the Hill District in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At the age of seven, he first played the ukulele (a kind of small guitar) in a corner drug store, for which he was paid a few dollars. At the age of eight, he played guitar in an unlicensed nightclub on Friday and Saturday nights, but the police soon closed the club down. At the age of 10!!!!!!!, he recorded his first single record, “She Makes Me Mad”, with RCA-Victor in New York, under the name “Little Georgie”.
Benson attended and graduated Schenley High School. One of his many early guitar heroes was country-jazz guitarist Hank Garland. At the age of 21, he recorded his first album as leader, The New Boss Guitar, featuring McDuff (keyboard).
Breezin′ was a significant album in terms of popular music history – the first jazz release to go platinum.
In 1976, Benson toured with soul singer Minnie Riperton,. Also in 1976, George Benson appeared as a guitarist and backup vocalist on Stevie Wonder‘s song “Another Star“ from Wonder’s album Songs in the Key of Life.
In 1977 Benson recorded with the German conductor Claus Ogerman.
He has worked with Freddie Hubbard (trumpeter) on a number of his albums throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.
More importantly, Quincy Jones encouraged Benson to search his roots for further vocal inspiration, and he re-discovered his love for Nat Cole, Ray Charles and Donny Hathaway in the process, influencing a string of further vocal albums into the 1990s. A cover of song “The Ghetto” (original of Donny Hathaway) accumulated three other platinum LPs and two gold albums.
Benson signed with Concord Records in 2005 and toured with Al Jarreau in America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand to promote their 2006 multiple Grammy-winning album Givin’ It Up.
In 2011, Benson released the album Guitar Man—revisiting his 1960s/early-1970s guitar-playing roots with a 12-song collection of covers of both jazz and pop standards overseen by producer John Burk.
In June 2013, Benson released his fourth album for Concord Records, Inspiration: A Tribute to Nat King Cole (Singer & great pianist), which featured Wynton Marsalis, Idina Menzel, Till Brönner, and Judith Hill.
Awards: moreover his ten-time Grammy Award-winning as singer, he has received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and in 2009. Benson was also recognized by the National Endowment of the Arts as a Jazz Master, the nation’s highest honor in jazz.
25- George Barnes (1921 – 1977) (Christian and post-Christian periods)
George Barnes began his career in Chicago while still a teenager. In 1935 he was playing blues guitar backup for singers like Memphis Minnie and Blind John Davis before making his move to jazz. His first significant jazz recording was The George Barnes Sextet made for Keynote Records in 1946.
George Barnes was one of the most underrated (subestimado) of the jazz guitarists that came up during the 1930’s, 1940’s and 1950’s. He was easily recognized for the duets he made with Carl Kress, but sometimes overlooked as one of the great jazz stylists and innovators.
Barnes was one of the very first guitarists to electrify his instrument and he was also one of the first to prove the guitar’s abilities as a significant solo instrument. In fact, it is said that Barnes’ ambition throughout his life was to make the guitar as important an instrument as the more commonly heard solo instruments.
His 1946 interpretation of Lover Come Back To Me on Keystone, showed thatalready in 1946, Barnes had extended the guitar’s role as a solo instrument. On this recording the guitar was the only solo instrument backed by bass, drums and rhythm guitar. This extraordinary recording preceded and pointed the way to the great guitar recordings by Johnny Smith, Tal Farlow and many others.
While he was extending the guitar’s role as a solo instrument, Barnes also continued to promote the guitar as a rhythm instrument. He often switched between solo and rhythm when he played in a group setting and he usually included outstanding rhythm guitarists on his recordings. He made duet recordings with Carl Kress, Art Ryerson and Bucky Pizzarelli on which the rhythm guitar was featured as prominently as his solos. In fact, some of these duet recordings were more significant due to the amazing strength of the rhythm playing. Barnes’ emphasis on preserving the role of the rhythm guitar also contributed to the preservation of the guitar duet format. This tradition began with Eddie Lang and Lonnie Johnson, was continued by Lang with Carl Kress and then Kress with Dick McDonough, Kress with Tony Mottola and then Kress and Barnes on electric guitars. George Barnes and Kress took this form to a new level by performing as a duet in public performances in clubs and concert halls. Many of the guitar duet players who followed referenced Barnes and Kress as the outstanding model for this venue.
Like all the great jazz guitarists, George Barnes was first a dedicated musician who happened to also be an outstanding guitar player. And like the other great guitar players he was dedicated to his instrument. He developed a very distinctive style that made him unique and he invested his career in an effort to keep the great guitar traditions alive.
His last two recordings were produced in 1977, by Concord Records, one just shortly before and one just after his death.
26-George van Eps (1913 – 1998). (pre-Christian, Christian and post-Christian periods).
A great musician and teacher, a fan of Eddie Lang. He was one of the more Lang-influenced guitarists joint to Eldon Shamblin, Carl Kress, Dick McDonough, and Django Reinhard.
George Van Eps grew up in a musical family. His father was the legendary classic 5-string banjo player Fred Van Eps. His mother was a classically trained pianist and his three older brothers were musicians.
George started playing the banjo at age eleven and by age twelve he was out playing professionally with his family. After hearing Eddie Lang for the first time on the radio he made the switch to guitar and by 1934 he was playing with the Benny Goodman band. In that same year he recorded with Adrian Rollini, perhaps recording his first solos on that date on Somebody Loves Me. He then spent several years with the Ray Noble band before moving on to a freelance career in Hollywood.
Noted for his recordings as a leader and his work as a session musician, Van Eps was also the author of instructional books that explored his approach to guitar-based harmony. He was well known as a pioneer of the seven-string guitar, which allowed him to incorporate sophisticated bass lines into his improvisation.
The recordings started in 1934 with the Benny Goodman band (maybe earlier with his father) and ended with his last recording for Concord Records in 1996. During those 62 documented years he made hundreds of recordings as sideman, but only a handful under his own name.
He brought a complexity, depth and beauty to the instrument that it didn’t have before.
While in Hollywood, George Van Eps recorded with dozens of artists as theprincipal backing (sideman) for singers like Frank Sinatra.
Until the 1960’s, Van Eps’ primary role was keeping time in a rhythm section. One exception during this period was the series of recordings he made in the mid-1940’s on the Jump label with the LaVere Chicago Loopers and as a part of a trio with Eddie Miller and Stan Wrightsman. These recordings put the Van Eps guitar front and center, but due to the limited distribution of the Jump label, did not earn Van Eps much recognition outside of music circles.
Then in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s he made a series of solo recordings for Columbia and Capitol that featured the unique guitar style of George Van Eps. The first of these recordings was Mellow Guitar, followed by My Guitar, Seven String Guitar and Soliloquy. Then in the 1990’s he made a series of brilliant recordingsfor Concord Records with Howard Alden that made his music accessible to a whole new generation of jazz lovers. And, once again earned the completeadmiration of a whole new generation of guitarists.
Epiphone made him a seven-string guitar in 1938 and George began displaying the depth, richness and complexity that are the hallmarks of the Van Eps sound. The first major recordings with this new instrument were the Jump recordings from the mid 1940’s. The solos recorded at that time like I Wrote It For Joand Kay’s Fantasy and Tea For Two have Van Eps playing bass, melody and supporting chords all himself all at the same time. No over dubbing, no multi-track. In words of Clive Acker, the producer of Jump records at the time, to say ” …even the untutored ear can tell that playing these solos is not difficult, it’s impossible!”
Van Eps died of pneumonia in Newport Beach, California at the age of 85.
He was a strong influence on later seven-string players such as Howard Alden (with whom he recorded four CDs for Concord Records in the early 1990s), Bucky Pizzarelli, and John Pizzarelli (Bucky’s son).
27- Grant Green (1935 –1979) (post-Christian period).
Other great musician addict to the damn heroin. The father of jazz-funk in his later career.
Although some sources erroneously give his year of birth as 1931, Grant was born in 1935 in St. Louis, Missouri, US. He first performed in a professional setting at the age of 12. Influences: Apart from guitarists such as Charlie Christian andJimmy Raney, Green’s primary influences were saxophonists, particularly Charlie Parker and Lester Young, and his approach was therefore almost exclusively linear rather than chordal. The simplicity and immediacy of Green’s playing, which tended to avoid chromaticism, derived moreover from his early work playing blues and boogie-woogie. Although at his best he achieved a synthesis of these styles with hard bop & bebop.
He performed also Soul jazz, Gospel, Latin and Spirituals idioms throughout his career. In his later career he was essentially a blues & jazz-funk guitarist and played almost exclusively these styles.
Lou Donaldson discovered Grant playing in a bar in St. Louis. After touring together with Donaldson, Grant arrived in New York around 1959-60.
Lou Donaldson introduced Grant to Alfred Lion of Blue Note Records. Lion was impressed with Grant. From 1961 to 1965, Grant made many appearances on Blue Note, as leader or sideman. Moreover he often performed in an organ trio, a small group with an organ and drummer.
In 1966 Grant left Blue Note and recorded for several other labels,including Verve.
From 1967 to 1969 Grant was, for the most part, inactive due to personal problems and the effects of heroin addiction.
In 1969 Grant returned with a new funk-influenced band. Some consider Green to have been the ‘Father of Acid Jazz‘ but this is not true, is the father of jazz-funk (one style which years later popularized Lee Ritenour & Zachary Breaux)
Grant had a original sound. For it he used a Gibson ES-330, then a Gibson L7 with a Gibson McCarty pickguard/pick-up, an Epiphone Emperor and finally had a custom-built D’Aquisto. According to fellow guitarist George Benson, Grant achievedhis signature punchy, biting tone by turning off the bass and treble settings of his amplifier, and maximizing the midrange.
Grant spent much of 1978 in hospital and, against the advice of doctors, went back on the road to earn some money. While in New York to play an engagement at George Benson‘s Breezin’ Lounge, Grant collapsed in his car of a heart attack in New York City on January 31, 1979. He was buried in GreenwoodCemetery in his hometown of St. Louis.
Awards: Grant was named best new star in the Down Beat critics’ poll, in 1962.
Critics Michael Erlewine and Ron Wynn write, “A severely underrated player during his lifetime, Grant Green is one of the great unsung heroes of jazz guitar … Green’s playing is immediately recognizable — perhaps more than any other guitarist” Critic Dave Hunter described his sound as “lithe, loose, slightly bluesy and righteously groovy”.
28-Hank Garland (1930-2004) (post-Christian period)
A jazz, rock and country man. A mix of Jimmy Wyble (solos) and Barry Galbraith (rhythm). Has been defined as one of the most amazing jazz guitarists of his time with a short career, like Eddie Lang and Charlie Christian.
Hank was born in Cowpens, South Carolina at 1930. He began taking guitar lessons when he was six years old. At fifteen years of age he joined Paul Howard’sGeorgia Cotton Pickers and with them, played for the first time at the Opry, in Nashville. While in Nashville he met Chet Atkins, Billy Byrd and Owen Bradley andwas introduced to jazz. Billy Byrd and Hank Garland became very close friends and together they designed the Gibson Byrdland guitar, which was named after them.
Garland stayed with Paul Howard for two years and then joined Cowboy Copas for a year. After a year he left Copas and went out on his own as a freelance studio musician. A notable recording from this period was Sugarfoot Rag, something Garland had written as an exercise.
The famous guitarist Jimmy Wyble who was a Texas Playboy from late 1943 until Spring 1945 waxed some of the finest guitars solos on record in any genre with Bob Wills on hits like Roly Poly and Texas Playboy Rag. His licks can be traced directly to almost note for note rip offs on Gene Vincent‘s recordings from his great sessions with guitarist Cliff Gallup. He also heavily influenced Hank Garland in Nashvilleand Jimmy Bryant on the coast in CA.
In the early 1950’s Hank Garland went on the road with Eddy Arnold. The roadwork with Arnold took him to New York where he met some of his jazz guitar idols — Barry Galbraith and Tal Farlow. Hank Garland formed a special relationship with Galbraith and credited Galbraith with teaching him how to play rhythm guitar.
With the lessons of Wyble and Galbraith he returned to Nashville to work in the studios recording with all the big names in rock and country at that time, including Elvis (Little Sister), the Everly Brothers, Patsy Cline and many others.
In the early 1960’s a series of recordings appeared by Hank Garland; The Unforgettable Guitar of Hank Garland, After The Riot at Newport, Velvet Guitar and Jazz Winds From A New Direction.
In 1961 he was in a car accident that left him with permanent brain damage and the loss of his ability to play the guitar. Garland was thirty years old. In fifteen years he went from his first outings with Paul Howard and The Georgia Cotton Pickers to one of the most amazing jazz guitarists of his time.
In 1996, Just Jazz Guitar published a brief tribute (May 1996, No. 7) to Hank Garland that included these comments by Johnny Smith, “To me, Hank Garland will always be one of the great players of our time…”
The most popular jazz guitar player fan/freak of Garland was George Benson.
29-Herb Ellis (1921–2010) (pre-Christian, Christian and post-Christian periods).
In the words of Ellis: “Listening to Charlie Christian I realized that speed wasn’t everything”.
Mitchell Herbert “Herb” Ellis best known for his 1950s membership in the trio of pianist Oscar Peterson, Ellis was also a staple (asíduo) of west-coast studio recording sessions, and was described by critic Scott Yanow as “an excellent bop-based guitarist with a slight country twang to his sound.” Born in Farmersville, Texas, andraised in the suburbs of Dallas, Ellis first heard the electric guitar performed by George Barnes on a radio program. He became proficient on the instrument by the time he entered North Texas State University. Ellis majored (graduó) in music, but because they did not yet have a guitar program at that time, he studied the string bass. While at North Texas State, Ellis met Jimmy Giuffre (Saxophonist) and he heard Charlie Christian for the first time — two events that started him playing jazz In 1943, he joined Glen Gray (a jazz saxophonist and leader of the Casa Loma Orchestra), it was with Gray’s band that he got his first recognition in the jazz magazines. After Gray’s band, Ellis joined the Jimmy Dorsey band where he played some of his first recorded solos. Ellis remained with Dorsey through 1947. The group Soft Winds were born from Dorsey band and this one put together John Frigo (bassist), Lou Carter (pianist) and Ellis (guitar). The Soft Winds were fashioned (de moda) after the Nat King Cole Trio and they stayed together until 1952. Ellis joined the Oscar Peterson Trio (replacing Barney Kessel) in 1953, with Ray Brown as bassist, forming what Scott Yanow would later on refer to as “one of the most memorable of all the piano, guitar, and bass trios in jazz history”. In Oscar Peterson Trio he was a somewhat controversial member because he was the only white person in the group in a time when racism was still very much widespread. The trio were one of the mainstays of Granz‘s Jazz at the Philharmonic concerts as they swept the jazz world, almost constantly touring the United States and Europe. Ellis left the Peterson Trio in November 1958, to be replaced not by a guitarist, but by drummer Ed Thigpen.
Herb Ellis made many recordings with Peterson during the years they were together and he also began recording under his own name. A series of Herb Ellis LP’s appeared during these years: Ellis In Wonderland, Ellis Meets Giuffre, Nothing But The Blues and Thank You, Charlie Christian. These recordings and the work he did with Peterson established Ellis as a major jazz guitar artist.
Moreover his recordings with Joe Pass and with the great guitars Barney Kessel and Charlie Byrd have become modern classics.
Like almost every guitarist who came up after 1940, Herb Ellis was influenced by Charlie Christian. Ellis tells Leonard Feather, “… the first time I heard Charlie Christian I thought he really wasn’t so much, because I felt I could play faster than that. Then after a few more times it really hit me, and I realized that speed wasn’t everything. The next day I got it out and started to tried to play like Charlie.” His tribute album dedicated to Charlie Christian, Thank you, demonstrated how well Ellis learned his lessons from Christian. And, without exception whether playing straight ahead jazz or the blues, Ellis found a way to sound very Christian likewhile displaying the unmistakable Ellis sound.
The years of 1957 through 1960 found Ellis touring with Ella Fitzgerald.
In the early 1970s, Joe Pass and Herb Ellis were performing together regularly at Donte’s jazz club in Los Angeles.
In 1994 he joined the Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame.
In 1997 he received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of North Texas College of Music.
Ellis died of Alzheimer’s disease at his Los Angeles at home in 2010, at the age of 88.
30-Irving Ashby (1920 –1987) (post-Christian period).
Irving Ashby was in demand primarily for his solid rhythm playing, but he was alsoa very adept soloist. Irving “the great teacher”, was author of one of better guitar instruction book entitled “Guitar”. In addition to guitar, Ashby also played the upright bass /double bass (contrabajo).
Irving C. Ashby was born in Somerville, Massachusetts. Irving began playing the guitar at age nine. As a teenager he played with local bands in and around Somerville, Massachusetts. In 1940 he joined Lionel Hampton’s band and he continued playing with Hampton as rhythm guitar for two years until 1942.
From 1947 to 1951 Ashby joined Nat King Cole’s Trio replacing Oscar Moore.
In 1951 Ashby worked in and around Los Angeles as a freelance musician.
With his Sextet Ashby settled permanently in Perris, California where he was moreover active as a teacher both privately and at the University of California at Riverside and local high schools. He published a guitar instruction book entitled “Guitar”.
As a member of Arv Garrison’s Guitar Quintet, that included Garrison, Kessel, Sargent and Rizzi, he appeared on Earle Spencer’s “Five Guitars In Flight”.
Ashby died in April 1987 in Perris, California, at the age of 66.
31- Jack Petersen (1933-live on). (Post-Christian period)
Moreover of a great guitar player and famed guitar educator, is proficient on double bass, cello, and piano. Later we will see as John Cali did not play the piano nor cello but he played very good violin, banjo, guitar, mandolin and lute.
Jack is better known as a guitar educator of Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, and of University of North Florida He was the teacher of Abercrombie among many others.
Jack Leroy Petersen was born in Elk City, Oklahoma, like Charlie Christian and Eldon Shamplin.
When Jack Petersen was 5, his family moved to Denton, Texas. He began playing guitar when he was 16 (about 1949), his initial influence being Western Swing, learning from guitarists as Eldon Shamplin and Jimmy Wyble
Petersen won a course in guitar from a radio contest. The teacher was Bob Hames, an ex-GI attending North Texas from Wolfe City, TX. Hames introduced Petersen – and Petersen’s friend, Dick Crockett – to jazz recordings of giants of jazz guitars such as Karl Kress, Tal Farlow, Chuck Wayne, Herb Ellis, Barney Kessel, Barry Galbraith, Remo Palmieri, Oscar Moore, and Charlie Christian.
Petersen graduated from Denton High School 1951.
After leaving the Army, Petersen attended North Texas to study music, playing cello and double bass, guitar and piano in the jazz ensemble where he collaborated closely with faculty members Gene Hall and Floyd Graham. Petersen was very proficient on guitar, double bass, cello, and piano, and it contrast to the most of rest of guitarists of the day who were earning money in recording studios and dance orchestras. (Jim Hall played piano and double bass too)
In 1958 Petersen was a Dallas studio musician recording jingles, first as a guitarist and sometimes pianist, then as producer, composer. In 1960 — Gene Hall recruited Petersen to teach with him at Stan Kenton Band Clinics.
He revolutionized guitar education and for it has been described as architect for jazz guitar and jazz improvisation and worked at three institutions of higher learning: a) First full-time jazz guitar teacher at the Berklee College of Music just for 3 years (1962-65 – Inaugural Chair, Guitar Department); Petersen accepted an invitation by Lawrence Berk, founder of Berklee; b)Longstanding and influential jazz guitar artist in residence at the University of North Texas College of Music in Dallas (1976-88 – Resident Artist, Jazz Guitar, Improv). Leon Breeden invited Petersen to develop, with jazz musicians Rich Matteson (educator and proficient in low brass instruments, particularly bass trumpet, valve trombone, tuba, and Helicon, piano and euphonium –he was the only significant euphonium soloist in jazz) and Phil Wilson(trombonist) and Dan Haerle (pianist) , the jazz guitar program at North Texas; c) Petersen and Matteson was later recruited from North Texas to build a new program at the University of North Florida. Petersen built a jazz guitar program (1988–1995; fully retiring 1999 – Resident Artist and Associate Professor). Petersen taught at UNF as resident artist and associate professor until his retirement in 1995, retiring as teacher fully in 1999.
In 2003 Petersen moved to Prescott, AZ, and performs regularly, particularly as guest artist and clinician around the country.
While at Berklee, Petersen introduced a guitar lab concept that transformed guitar education, particularly jazz guitar. He created a big band composed of 12 guitars in three units of four – one unit would cover the woodwinds of a big band,one would cover the trombones, and one would cover the trumpets. The guitar players read single notes, just like horn players — no chords !!!!!!!!. Later, Petersen helped his colleague at North Texas, Rich Matteson develop a similar concept for low brass, creating a big band composed solely of low brass instruments.
32-Jim Hall (1930-2013) (Post-Christian period)
Jim Hall, another great teacher and “total musician”, with a guitar technique influenced by horn players, he played piano and double bass too. In this report we describe as Jack Petersen was proficient in guitar, double bass, cello, and piano. Also we describe as John Cali did not play the piano nor cello nor double-bass but he played very good violin, banjo, guitar, mandolin and lute.
In the words of Pat Metheny: “Jim is father of modern jazz guitar “ . His jazz style has been described as mellow, warm, gentle and subtle. The same style apparently that Earl Klugh but Earl said many times that is not jazz but pop (see the part about Earl).
Jim was born in Buffalo, New York, before moving to Cleveland, Ohio, Hall was from a musical family, his mother played the piano, his grandfather violin, and his uncle guitar. He began playing the guitar at age ten when his mother gave him an instrument as a Christmas present. As a teenager in Cleveland, he performed professionally, Hall’s major influences since childhood were horn players, specially the tenor saxophonists such as Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Paul Gonsalves, and Lucky Thompson. Then he copied out solos from guitarist Charlie Christian and Barney Kessel. He used frequently blues inflections, like Junior Barnard.
In 1955, Hall attended the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied guitar, piano and bass (double bass /upright bass (contrabajo), in addition to theory.About a year later, he moved to Los Angeles, where cool jazz was prominent at that time, and focusing on acoustic guitar he played in Chico Hamilton‘s quintet.
Then he jointed to the Jimmy Giuffre ad in the “Jimmy Giuffre Three”, Hall developed some of his own personal musical technique, including “challenging arrangements and interactive improvisation in duos and trios.
He taught at the Lenox School of Jazz from 1959 while worked with prominent and established artists Ben Webster (1959), Bill Evans (1959), Paul Desmond (1959–65), Ella Fitzgerald (1960), Lee Konitz (1960–61), Sonny Rollins (1961-2, 1964), and Art Farmer. Moreover he toured with Jazz at the Philharmonic (Norman Granz).
In the 1990s, Hall continued to tour and record all over the world. In 1990, he hosted the JVC Jazz Festival New York, which also featured Pat Metheny and John Scofield. After this, he played a number of duo concerts with Metheny. In 1996, he returned to Europe to lead a quartet with Joe Lovano (post bop jazz saxophonist).In 1997, Hall received the New York Jazz Critics Award for Best Jazz Composer/Arranger. Moreover he was awarded with the Jazzpar Prize in Denmark. He was awarded an NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship award in January 2004.
His last composition was a concerto for guitar and orchestra, commissioned by Towson University in Maryland for The First World Guitar Congress, which was debuted in June 2004 with the Baltimore Symphony.
In 2012 at the age of 81, Hall had gigs at the Blue Note in New York City and at a number of jazz festivals in the US as well as in Europe.
Hall’s tone has been described as mellow, warm, gentle and subtle.
In the words of Pat Metheny: “Jim is father of modern jazz guitar “
Hall changed the way jazz guitar sounded, with his innovation, composition, and improvisation. Apart from Metheny, he influenced other contemporary artists such as Bill Frisell, Mick Goodrick, John Scofield, and John Abercrombie.
33-Jimmy Raney (1927 – 1995) (post-Christian period).
Raney is the example of lazz total and worked in a variety of jazz mediums, including cool jazz, bebop, post bop, hard bop and mainstream jazz. Like Barry Galbraith, he seemed able to blend his style, technique and sound into almost any venue, while distinguishing himself as an individual artist and soloist in those same songs. Like Dick McDonough, another victim of alcohol.
Jimmy was born in Louisville, Kentucky. Jimmy began his jazz guitar career very early with the history showing he played in the Jerry Wald band in 1944 at age 17.Later that same year he went to Chicago where he worked in local groups. In 1946 he worked for a time as guitarist with the Max Miller Quartet at Elmer’s in Chicago. In 1948 he did a brief stint with Woody Herman. Then joined the Artie Shaw Orchestra in 1949 at the age of 22. He made a number of recordings with Shaw’s orchestra often featured as a soloist. His solo on Fred’s Delight from 1949 was an eight bar gem.
Most notable for his work from 1951 to 1952 and 1962 to 1963 with Stan Getz .In 1951 Jimmy Raney joined the Stan Getz Quintet and over the next three years produced, what some feel, his best work. The best examples of the collaboration of Raney and Getz were the live Storyville recordings. These sessions offered the first recorded examples of Jimmy Raney’s ability to play chorus after chorus of creative, finely articulated solos. Jimmy Raney’s association with Stan Getz was only one of many associations he had with horn players. Beginning with Buddy De Franco who was the first. Over the years, besides Getz, he performed and recorded with Bob Brookmeyer (equally productive and noteworthy), Urbie Green, Bobby Jasper, Gigi Gyrce, Zoot Sims and Al Cohn just to name a few, providing a solid rhythm for the horn solos and of course, example after example of Raney spinning out his long solo lines.
In 1954 and 1955 he won the Down Beat critics poll for guitar
It said that Raney suffered for thirty years (1957) from Ménière’s disease, a degenerative condition that eventually led to near complete deafness in both ears, although this did not stop him from playing.
In 1967 alcoholism and other professional difficulties led him to leave New York City and return to his native Louisville. He resurfaced in the 1970s and also did work with his son Doug, who is also a guitarist.
Facing an alcohol problem and lack of work opportunities in New York, Raney returned to Louisville in early 1967.
Interest in Raney increased and his New York and European appearances became more numerous in the 1975-85 decade, but he continued to live in Louisville.
From 1981 he produced a series of recordings for Criss Cross Records: Raney ’81, Wisteria, The Master and But Beautiful made in 1992. Unlike most of his earlier work, these recordings have Raney in a trio or quartet setting.
He died of heart failure in Louisville at 1995, just short of his 68th birthday. His obituary in the New York Times called him “one of the most gifted and influentialpostwar jazz guitarists (post-war is similar to post-Christian period) in the world”.
34-Jimmy Wyble (1922- 2010) (Christian and post-Christian periods)
Wyble played country-jazz music in the early 1940s with fellow guitarist Cameron Hill on local Houston radio. He was playing in Foreman Phillips‘s band when Bob Wills hired him and Hill to play in his group, the Texas Playboys.
At any rate Rockabilly and Rock and Roll owe a debt to Bob Wills and his Texas Playboy and his great guitarists of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Guitarist Jimmy Wyble who was a Texas Playboy from late 1943 until Spring 1945 waxed some of the finest guitars solos on record in any genre with Bob Wills. He had great sessions with guitarist Cliff Gallup. Wills called their sound “twin guitars”. The results of this unique paring can be heard on Wills’ Roly Poly.
He served in the Army from 1942 to 1946, and returned to work with Western swing groups into the 1950s.
His Bebop style was closer to Christian’s yet forward thinking and very distinct from Eldon’s or any other western swing player. He heavily influenced Hank Garland in Nashville and Jimmy Bryant on the coast in CA.
In 1953, he released his first record as a bandleader, The Jimmy Wyble Quintet. The album featured accordion, clarinet, guitar, bass, and drums. That same year, he recorded with Barney Kessel. Soon after he played in the bands of Benny Goodman and Red Norvo; he spent eight years touring and recording with Norvo, including a tour of Australia backing Frank Sinatra.
He studied classical guitar with Laurindo Almeida.
In the 1970s he also developed a unique and personal “two-line contrapuntal approach to guitar” and composed numerous etudes in this style. Many of these pieces were published in various book, including “Classical/Country”(Howard Roberts-Playback 1973), “The Art of Two-Line Improvisation (PMP 1979), and “Concepts for the Classical and Jazz Guitar”(Mel Bay 2000).
Wyble continued his association with western swing bands well into the 1950’s when he released his first jazz album as leader,The Jimmy Wyble Quintet(1953). This recording had the unusual instrumentation of accordion, clarinet, guitar, bass and drums. That same year he recorded four sides with the Barney Kessel Quartet which are on the Swing Guitars album.
During the late 1950’s and early 1960’s he toured with Benny Goodman and recorded with Red Norvo. His association with Red Norvo produced two outstanding albums of straight ahead jazz: Naturally and HiFive.
Jimmy Wyble enjoyed a long association with the studios in Los Angeles and he was also amember of Tony Rizzi’s Five Guitars but not in the original Arv Garrison’s Guitar Quintet,that included Ashby, Garrison, Kessel, Sargent and Rizzi.
As many of you know Jimmy Wyble passed away in Los Angeles, California in early January of 2010 just a few days before his 88th birthday (David Oakes), the same age that Al Casey was dead.
Until his death he focused all of his attention where he truly wanted it to be and that was on his guitar. He decided to leave all of the computer needs to people like myself and his friend, Russell Chan, who maintained Jimmy’s own website for him.
35-Joe Pass (1929 – 1994) (post-Cristian period)
A great musician despite addiction to heroin.
Joseph Anthony Jacobi Passalacqua, Joe Pass, was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He come from Sicilian descent, son of a Sicilian-born steel mill worker. He is generally considered to be one of the greatest jazz guitarists of the 20th century. His extensive use of walking basslines, use of a chord-melody style of playing and outstanding knowledge of chord inversions and progressions opened up new possibilities for the jazz guitar and had a profound influence on later guitarists.
Although he was born in New Jersey, he was raised in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. He received his first guitar, on his 9th birthday. Pass’ father pushed him constantly to pick up tunes by ear, play pieces not written specifically for the instrument, practice scales and not to “leave any spaces” – that is, to fill in the sonic space!!!between the notes of the melody.
As early as 14, Pass started getting gigs. He began traveling with small jazz groups and eventually moved from Pennsylvania to New York City.
In 1947 – 1950 when Joe Pass was in New York, players like Billy Bauer, Bill DeArango and Johnny Smith were the top players in the studios and on the local jazz scene. In that time Joe Pass was consumed by drugs and in a few years, he developed a heroin addiction and spent much of the 1950s in prison. He wasdropped out of sight for 12 years !!!!!!. But, with his enormous talent, Joe Pass still found his rightful place as one of the greatest jazz guitarists of the 20th century.
Pass emerged from narcotics addiction through a two-and-a-half-year stay on rehabilitation program in Synanon Center in California. During that time he played guitar nonstop and further honed his skills. In 1962 he recorded Sounds of Synanon.
In 1963, Pass received Downbeat magazine’s “New Star Award.”
He formed a special relationship with the guitar player John Pisano and together they made a number of recordings that were showcases for Joe Pass’ amazing prowess as a soloist and Pisano’s amazing abilities as a rhythm player.
In the early 1970s, Pass and guitarist Herb Ellis were performing together regularly at Donte’s jazz club in Los Angeles. In the early 1970s, Pass alsocollaborated on a series of music books, and his Joe Pass Guitar Style (written with Bill Thrasher) is considered a leading improvisation textbook for students of jazz.
Pass and Ella Fitzgerald recorded six albums together on Pablo Records, toward the end of Fitzgerald’s career.
Pass’ early style (influenced by guitarist Django Reinhardt and saxophonist Charlie Parker), was marked by fast single-note lines and a flowing melodic sense. Pass had the unusual lifelong habit of breaking his guitar picks and playing only with the smaller part. As Pass made the transition from ensemble to solo guitar performance, he preferred to abandon the pick altogether, and play fingerstyle.
After Sounds of Synanon (1961) Pass worked in the Los Angeles studios for more than 10 years before he signed with the Norman Granz’s Pablo label. It was with this label that Pass made many of his most essential recordings, including his famous Virtuoso series. In the Virtuoso series of solo guitar recordings Joe Pass redefined solo guitar playing. His complete mastery of finger style playing brought a new depth and complexity to solo guitar.
Throughout the 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s Joe Pass recorded several important jazz recordings with some of the best jazzmen of the time.
In 1994, Joe Pass died from liver cancer in Los Angeles, California at the age of 65.Just prior to his death, he had recorded an album of instrumental versions of Hank Williams songs with country guitarist Roy Clark.
36-John Cali (Christian and post-Christian periods).
John Cali with the same name of a philosopher, was a musician who played various stringed instruments on more than 300 recording sessions between 1920 and 1962. He was a virtuoso on both banjo and guitar, and also recorded on mandolin and lute.
Cali was a self-taught player of the violin, mandolin, guitar and tenor banjo. He began his performance career at the age of 11 as a soloist with his school orchestra playing the violin.A year later, he was a professional, making four dollars a week with the Faust Opera Company in the Rome Theater. Two years after that he toured the United States and Canada as a violinist in the Neopolitan Trio.
He began recording music at the age of 14, and the A&R (Artists and repertoire) man in this case was none other than Thomas Edison.
In 1915 John joined Vic Bareta’s orchestra at Luna Park in Coney Island. This was in 1915 and it was also the time that John saw the possibilities of the tenor banjoand began learning the instrument. Within months he was the featured banjoist in the orchestra of Vincent Lopez. Four years later he joined the Vincent Lopez Orchestra, and was the tenor soloist. On banjo, he was one of the few string players from the ’20s era to have a hand in the creation of both jazz and country music.
Since the early 1920s Cali played banjo & guitar and recorded with most of the New York jazz bands.
On guitar, he is considered a pioneer of jazz guitar duets, which explains why he and duo partner Tony Guttoso have a pair of tracks on the brilliant Pioneers of the Jazz Guitar compilation released by Yazoo. “A Study in Brown,” is one of the fabulous guitar duos with guitarist Tony Guttoso, a favorite of Texan Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers. Along with steel guitarist Tony Colicchio, Cali plays guitar on a series of tracks that some of JimmyRodgers‘ (American country singer) fans feel are the man’s absolute bests.
” On lute? Cali has used this instrument to create a type of fusion music in front of a Latin rhythm section with some of the greatest players in this genre: pianist Charlie Palmieri, timbales player Willie Rodriguez, and Ray Barretto on congas and bongos.
With regard to his contribution to the country music The Arkansas Trio was a collaboration with Vernon Dalhart, a famous early recording artist who helped pioneer the entire cowboy song genre, and country & western music in the process. The Windy City Jazzers, on the other hand, is a group with Dalhart and Harry Reser,this last was considered one of the greatest banjoists in history !!!!!!!, able to play any piece of music on the banjo no matter now complicated. Lanin’s Southern Serenaders put Cali alongside a young Jimmy Durante (singer, pianist) and Miff Mole (trombonist and band leader) in 1921. Then, Mole and Cali also played together in the Tennessee Tooters, plus trumpeter Red Nichols. Also Cali backed-up Ocarina (Honen irudiak) solos of Bernie Ladd in a a recording that sounds like it would make a good lunch: “Potato Salad” with “Sweet Not Sour” on the B-side.
He retired after the death of his wife in 1971 and died at the age of 86.
37-John Scofield (1951-live on) (contemporary)
A fan of Ray Charles.
John Scofield was born in Dayton, Ohio, United States. Is often referred to as “Sco”. Moreover a great jazz guitar player he is also well versed in jazz fusion, funk, blues, soul, rock and other forms of modern American music.
Early in his life, Scofield’s family left Ohio and relocated to the small, then mostly rural location of Wilton, Connecticut; it was here that he discovered his interest in music.
Educated at the Berklee College of Music, Scofield eventually left school to record with Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan. He joined the Billy Cobham/George Duke Band soon after and spent two years playing, recording and touring with them.
He collaborated with many others well-known artists such as: Miles Davis, Dave Liebman, Joe Henderson, Charles Mingus, Joey DeFrancesco, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell, Pat Martino, Mavis Staples, Phil Lesh, Billy Cobham,Medeski Martin & Wood, George Duke, Jaco Pastorius, John Mayer, and
In 1979 he formed a trio with his mentor Steve Swallow (bass & double bass/upright bass -contrabajo) and Adam Nussbaum (drummer) which, with drummer Bill Stewart replacing Nussbaum, has become the signature group of Scofield’s career.
At the end of the Davis tenure, he started what is now referred to as his Blue Matter Band – with Dennis Chambers on drums, Gary Grainger on bass and at times either Mitchel Forman, Robert Aries or Jim Beard on keyboards – releasing Blue Matter, Loud Jazz and Pick Hits Live.
The mid-80’s were also the time, when Marc Johnson (double bass) assembled his first own ensemble Bass Desires with Peter Erskine on drums, and Bill Frisell beside Scofield as two guitarists of distinctive but complementing styles. They recorded just two records, the self-titled Bass Desires and Second Sight (1986 and 1987).
In 1992, Scofield released Grace Under Pressure, featuring guitarist Bill Frisell, with Charlie Haden on bass and Joey Baron on drums. Stewart rejoined with Scofield and bassist Steve Swallow for the 1994 collaboration with Pat Metheny, I Can See Your House from Here.
In 1994 and 1995, Scofield formed a core group that included organist/pianist Larry Goldings. The group toured extensively.
He recorded the acclaimed 1997 album A Go Go with the avant garde jazz trio Medeski, Martin & Wood.
Also during this period, his relationship began with British composer Mark-Anthony Turnage.
Late 2004 saw the release of EnRoute: John Scofield Trio LIVE, which features the jazz trio of John Scofield, the venerable Steve Swallow on bass and Bill Stewart on drums.
The next year, he released That’s What I Say: John Scofield Plays the Music of Ray Charles – Scofield with an all-star guest studded collection of Ray Charles material. This led to a series of performances with Mavis Staples, Gary Versace on organ, John Benitez on bass, and Steve Hass on drums.
Never one to follow an expected path, in recent years Scofield launched a personalsearch for musical inspiration beyond the standard 12 bar blues and found it in“old time gospel music” – the closest relative to and inspiration for the R&B.” His 2009 release Piety Street with bass legend George Porter, Jr. and singer/keyboardist Jon Cleary.
When Vince Mendoza assumed directorship of The Metropole Orchestra, he and Scofield decided to collaborate with a primary focus on Mendoza’s arrangements of Scofield compositions as performed with The Metropole Orchestra.
In April 2010, Scofield was named an Officier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture.
38-John Abercrombie (1944-live on). (post-Christian period)
The synthesizer allowed him to play, as he described it “louder, more open music.”
John Laird Abercrombie was born in Port Chester, New York. His family moved to Greenwich, Connecticut, where he grew up. He picked up the guitar at the age of 14. He began by playing along to Chuck Berry, but discovered jazz by listening to Barny Kessel.
The gigs at Paul’s Mall (Jazz Club) facilitated meetings with organist Johnny Hammond Smith and the Brecker Brothers (saxophone player Michael Brecker and his brother, trumpet player Randy Brecker). Smith asked Abercrombie to play with him, and they performed at Boston’s Big M club as well as on tour.
John explores jazz fusion, post bop, free jazz and avant-garde jazz. Abercrombiestudied at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. He attended Berklee College of Music from 1962 to 1966 and studied under famed guitar educator Jack Petersen.
He is known for his spare, understated, and eclectic style and his work with organ trios.
Abercrombie graduated from Berklee in 1967 and briefly attended North Texas State University before moving to New York in 1969. Once there he quickly became one of the “most in-demand session players,” recording with Gil Evans in 1974, Gato Barbieri in 1971, and Barry Miles in 1972 among others.
In 1969, he joined Dreams, one of the first jazz rock bands in the late 60s and early 70s and featured the Brecker Brothers and drummer Billy Cobham.
In 1974 recorded with drummer Jack DeJohnette and Hammond organist Jan Hammer.
Abercrombie followed this release in November of 1975 with the album Gateway, recorded with DeJohnette (percussionist and drummer) and Dave Holland (bassist). The second album with this trio, referred to as the Gateway Trio, was released in June of 1978.
After the Gateway albums, Abercrombie moved toward a more traditionalformat. He recorded in quartet with pianist Richie Beirach.
He also toured with guitarist Ralph Towner.
During the mid-1980s he played in a bop duo with guitarist John Scofield.
Abercrombie began experimenting with a guitar synthesizer in 1984 while recording in a trio with Marc Johnson on bass and Peter Erskine on drums, also using the synthesizer while working in Paul Bley’s free-jazz group in 1986. He continued to do so until around 1990.
The synthesizer allowed him to play, as he described it “louder, more open music.” The 1990s and 2000s marked a time of constantly changing associations. He then started a trio with Nussbaum and organist Dan Wall. They released While We Were Young and Speak of the Devil in 1993, and Tactics in 1997. Abercrombie also added trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, violinist Mark Feldman and saxophonist Joe Lovana to the trio to record Open Land in 1998.
Throughout the 90s and since then, Abercrombie has worked with jazz greats, such as with John Scofield for the 1993 release Solar. He has also had a partnership with guitarist, pianist, and composer Ralph Towner.
He push the boundaries of jazz while retaining a firm grounding in jazz tradition. He also utilizes electronic effects and timbre changes to achieve an emotional effect. As he said in an interview, “I’d like people to perceive me as having a direct connection to the history of jazz guitar, while expanding some musical boundaries.” He is certainly recognized for exactly that.
39-Johnny Smith (1922 – 2013) (Christian and post-Christian period)
He was born in Birmingham, Alabama.
Smith taught himself to play guitar in pawnshops (casas de empeño), which let him play in exchange for keeping the guitars in tune.
Smith joined Uncle Lem and the Mountain Boys, a local hillbilly band that travelled around Maine, performing at dances, fairs and similar venues (sitios).
He left The Mountain Boys when he was eighteen years old to form a jazz triocalled the Airport Boys.
Having learned to fly Smith enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps in the hopes of becoming a military pilot. He was invalidated from the flight programme because of imperfect vision in his left eye. Smith opted to join the military band. Smith claims that they gave him a cornet, an Arban’s instructional book and two weeks to meet the standard, which included being able to read music.
Smith spent the two weeks practicing the cornet in the latrine, as recommended by the bandleader, and passed the examination.
When he arrived in New York in the late 1940’s he moved as easily on to 52ndas he did into playing with the philharmonic and so played every night alternating the famous Birdland jazz club with the New York Philharmonic.From Schoenberg to Gershwin to originals, Smith was one of the most versatile guitarists of the 1950s. Johnny Smith started out as an excellent musician first
His most critically acclaimed album was Moonlight in Vermont (one of Down Beat magazine’s top two jazz records for 1952, featuring saxophonist Stan Getz).the great album Moonlight in Vermont with Stan Getz. This recording established Johnny Smith as a major talent and in a flurry of recording activity he produced some of the most important recordings in jazz guitar history.
His master luthier John D’Angelico was his friend and guitar supplier when he lived in New York. Then Guild (Guild Johnny Smith Award), Gibson, and Heritage have all made guitar models designed and endorsed by Johnny Smith.
In 1961, Ted McCarty, then president of Gibson, went to meet the retired Smithat his home in Colorado Springs. McCarty spent several days with Smith, during which time Smith designed the guitar he wanted built. The design was accepted by Gibson with a few minor cosmetic changes which were acceptable to Smith. Gibson began production of the resulting Gibson Johnny Smith model that year. Guild continued to produce their Johnny Smith guitar under the model name Guild Artist Award.
The Heritage Johnny Smith model was introduced in 1989.
Many guitarists mention Smith almost as often as they mention Charlie Christian as a major influence on their playing. And today, in the late 1990’s players still feel and respond to the influence of Johnny Smith. His influence also get to guitarists well-kown as Pat Martino and Chet Atkins.
There is a story that Lou Mecca tells about his first meeting with Johnny Smith when Smith was playing trumpet in the army band. Mecca visited Johnny in the barracks at Valley Forge, VA in the late 1940’s. Their discussion immediately went to guitars and Johnny offered his guitar to Mecca and asked him to play something. Lou Mecca played something he knew and Johnny said he like it. Then Johnny proceeded to play several startling pieces including Rhapsody In Blue. Mecca ends this memory by commenting, “I then realized I was in the presence of one of the greatest guitarists of all time … “.*
Johnny Smith stepped out of the public eye in the 1960s, having moved to Colorado in 1958 to teach and run a music store (he opened a music store). and to raise his daughter after the death of his second wife.
He continued to play in local nightclubs and made a recording with some local musicians (Reminiscing) that showed he had lost none of the signature Johnny Smith style or technique. His last published recorded work was the Concord Records CD Legends, in 1994. This last recording like The Man With The Blue Guitar is made up of solo guitar pieces that capture the essence of the Johnny Smith guitar.
40- Junior Barnard (1920 -1951) (31 years old!!) (Christian and post-Christian periods)
One of the fathers of rock guitar, the other: Charlie Christian. Western Swing King Bob Wills frequently referred to Junior Barnard as “fat boy,” “booger man,” and “our floor show.”
Lester Robert Barnard, ‘Junior’ as he was called, was born into a musical family in Coweta, Oklahoma, in 1920. He was named after his father, Hurl Lester Barnard, and hisuncle Robert who both played fiddle and often performed at barn dances and house parties.When Junior was 13 or 14, he started accompanying his dad on guitar. Later he began singing and playing the fiddle.
When Junior was 15, he started playing acoustic guitar with bands around Tulsa, Oklahoma. In addition, he had his own radio show on KTUL and worked as a staff musician backing up groups such as Patti Page And Her Musical Pages, from Claremore, Oklahoma. After a stint with bandleader Art Davis And The Rhythm Riders, Junior was hired by Bob Wills to play with the Lonestar Rangers (a group led by the fiddler’s father, who was known as *Uncle John Wills). In 1936 Wills formed the Sons Of The West and put his cousin, Son Lansford, in charge. Junior was the guitarist. Wills’ bassist, Joe Ferguson, recalls thatJunior*temporarily replaced Eldon Shamblin in Dave Edwards’ Original Alabama Boyswho had left to join Bob Wills in November of 1937.
In 1938 Bob organized brother Johnnie Lee Wills’ first band, the Rhythmaires, who called upon Junior. After about six months, most of the members were funneled into a band headed by Bob’s father, called Uncle Johnny And His Young Five. The Young Five didn’t last long and was forged into a group called *Johnnie Lee Wills and his Boys.
Barnard was a regular member, except when Bob called on him to be with the Playboys.One such instance was in the fall of 1942, when Wills teamed with vocalist Bing Crosby.
In the early stages of World War II, Bob Wills enlisted in the Army. Junior received a deferment (aplazamiento) because of his excessive weight and went to work in a California defense plant. Then go to work as a welder (soldador!!!!) for a Houston defense manufacturer.
After being released by the Army in *July 1943, Wills reformed the Playboys and relocated in California’s San Fernando Valley so he could be closer to Hollywood’s recording and movie industry. Wills’ new band included Noel Boggs and Jimmy Wyble. In 1945 the bandmoved to Fresno, and since Wyble had stayed behind, Junior took over the Playboys’ guitar spot.
An excellent example of Junior’s jazz abilities from this period is “I Hear You Talkin’,” which featured a harmonized twin-guitar head played by Barnard and Boggs. And during the recording of “Black Out Blues” *Wills encouraged specially to Barnard. From this day the song was called: “Fat Boy Rag”
In about late 1946, Junior left the Playboys and went to work for Luke Wills and his Rhythmbusters.
Tommy Duncan, who for 15 years had been Wills’ vocalist, started his own band with some of the Playboys in late 1948. *Junior reportedly worked with Tommy’s band when he made appearances in Fresno. Afterwards he played a short time with fiddler *Jesse Ashlock, a Wills veteran, Junior returned to Fresno in 1949 and formed his own band, The Radio Gang.
Regarding to the role of the great Bob Wills (Texas PlayBoys and other bands) in Western Music, he had three prominent guittarists: Eldon Shamblin, the most popular, Junior Barnard who was in and out of the band and had a jazz with very bluesy style that was low down and dirty, Jimmy Wyble, one of creators of two new western music (country and rockabilly).
In the 40’s Junior heralded (preconizaba/anunciaba) what was to become rock guitar in the 60’s with his proto-grunge distortion and sustain while Eldon held the reins and visited the soon to come Rockabilly era in California, Oklahoma and Texas a full decade before it launched in Memphis
Lester Robert Barnard was born in Coweta, Oklahoma, the 3th great guitarist of Oklahoma: Eldon Shamblin, Charlie Christian & Junior Barnard.
He is among the first electric guitarists to create a guitar effect that anticipated the later “fuzz tone (the strength of his picking induced some slight “overdrive” in the low-power amplifiers typical of the times).
His hard-hitting electric guitar style, complete with distorted tone, violent bends, and scorching runs – all extremely advanced for the ’30s and ‘4Os – heralded the techniques and sounds commonly associated with contemporary rock and roll. In the words of jazz master Jimmy Wyble, “Junior was a highly original player. He had an aggressive, hard-swinging style that was like rock and roll for its time. Junior was a great guitarist.”
At various times throughout Junior Barnard’s relatively short career (which spanned from about 1935 to his sudden death in 1951), he played with fiddler (violinist)/vocalist Bob Wills’ Texas Playboys and groups led by members of Wills’ family. Known for their blend of hillbilly, jazz, blues, hokum, Hawaiian, and Tex-Mex influences, Wills’ bands produced many of western swing’s greatest players, including mandolinists Johnny Gimble and Tiny Moore; *NON-pedal steel guitarists (a guitarra limpia) Leon McAuliffe, Noel Boggs, and Herb Remington; and pedal steel guitarists Jimmy Wyble, Eldon Shamblin, and Junior Barnard.
But although Junior had the most flamboyant style of any Wills guitarist, he is probably the least known because he was with the band for only brief periods; Barnard rarely stayed in one place for very long. “Junior would get discontent for no apparent reason and just up and leave,” Eldon Shamblin explains. “In a little while he’d be back and Bob would rehire (recontratar) him. He was just that sort of guy.”
Unlike Eldon Shamblin, who to this day plays *a more laid-back, jazz and swing style, Junior was a go-for-broke soloist whose incredible technique featured startling runs, rapid hammer-ons and pull-offs, and even contrapuntal lines. But Junior could also play in a subdued manner, especially when backing up a singer.
Although Barnard wasn’t as sophisticated an accompanist as Shamblin, he had a strong rhythmic sense and used substitute chords to make progressions flow smoothly.
Barnard was a loud guitarist who had an overdriven tube sound decades before it became widely popular with rock guitarists. His main guitar, a blond Epiphone Emperor arch-top(occasionally Junior used a Gibson ES-150). Although Barnard first electrified his instrument with a DeArmond pickup, he later added another unit from a steel guitar. The two pickups were wired out of phase, and each was amplified through a separate channel. (Junior used both a Fender Pro with a 15″ speaker and an Epiphone amplifier.) In addition, Barnard employed a volume pedal.
Although it is impossible to determine the degree of influence that Barnard, Christian, Boggs, and Shamblin had on each other, it’s clear that Junior Barnard was an early innovator on the electric guitar whose influence is still being felt to this day.
Junior Barnard was seriously injured in an automobile accident and died at Fresno County General Hospital on April 15, 1951.
Recently, many fine musicians have paid tribute to Junior Barnard’s genius. Ray Benson, lead guitarist with Asleep At The Wheel, recorded a live version of “Fat Boy Rag” the tune most commonly associated with the Oklahoma guitarist. Merle Haggard, Eldon Shamblin, and Tiny Moore recorded the song on Tiny Moore Music. And Roy Nichols acknowledged Barnard’s influence by quoting Junior’s licks on Merle Haggard’s version of the Wills classic “Bring It On Down To My House Honey.”
Junior Barnard was one of the first to fuse elements of jazz, country, rockabilly, and rock and roll into an exciting style that was in many ways years ahead of its time. His brother Gene, also an accomplished guitarist, concludes: “I don’t think people realize that Junior was playing today’s type of popular music years before anyone else. He was playing rock years before it had a name.” Authors note: A complete version of the Junior Barnard text ‘as written’ in 1983 prior to publication in Guitar Player Magazine has been graciously published in The Western Swing Journal which is put out by Jesse Morris in Colorado Springs, CO.
41-Kenny Burrell (1931-live on) (post-Christian period)
A great musician and teacher, a fan of Duke Ellington. Reciprocally, Ellington called Burrell his “favorite guitarist”.
Kenneth Earl “Kenny” Burrell was born in the sad Detroit, Michigan, to a musical family and began playing guitar at the age of 12.
He has also led his own groups since 1951 and recorded many well-received albums..
After his graduation from Wayne State in 1955, he toured with Oscar Peterson after graduating in 1955 and then moved to New York City in 1956. There he found a high demand for his guitar as session player.
During 1956 he played as a consummate sideman on recordings by Tommy Flanagan, Donald Byrd, John Coltrane, and Kenny Clarke.
He has recorded about 106 albums, including Midnight Blue (1963), Blue Lights, Guitar Forms, Sunup To Sundown(1990), Soft Winds (1993), Then Along Came Kenny (1993), and Lotus Blossom (1995).
In 1964 Guitar Forms appeared and was the first of a succession of orchestral recordings for Verve records. Interspersed in this list of orchestral based records was A Generation Ago Today, Burrell’s tribute to Benny Goodman and Charlie Christian and a set of recordings made on the Cadet label in Chicago.
In the early 1970s Kenny Burrell moved to California. It was during this time thatBurrell began serving as firstly as a professor and later as Director of Jazz Studies at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. So, he taught a course on Duke Ellington. This course and his interpretations of Ellington’s music made Burrell a recognized expert on Duke Ellington. Ellington called Burrell his “favorite guitarist”. In 1975 Burrell released a tribute to Duke Ellington, Ellington Is Forever.
From the start of his career Kenny Burrell was described as a bop and hard bop player. The bop elements were there, along with blues and a great blend of the two styles. And Burrell proved himself to be an exceptional soloist. But, Kenny Burrell also preferred a much gentler, more melodic and expressive style of play. Perhaps more than any other guitarist, Kenny Burrell was responsible for perfecting and advancing this form for the guitar.
Today, Kenny Burrell continues to influence the jazz guitar community in three venues: He holds a BA in Music from Wayne State University, an honorary doctorate from William Paterson College and he is Professor of Guitar, Jazz Program Director at UCLA. In UCLA Burrell teaches a course entitled “Ellingtonia”, examining the life and accomplishments of Duke Ellington.
He is moreover co-founder and president emeritus of the Jazz Heritage Foundation, a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, and a member of the American Guild of Authors and Composers.
Kenny Burrell remains one of the most popular and respected jazz guitarists ever. For me, joined to Barney Kessel and Johnny Smith , the 3 best jazz guitar player all times. .
42- Mike Stern (1953- on live) (post-Christian period)
The guitarist of Blood, Sweat & Tears and Miles Davis.
Mike Stern was born in 1953 and is an American jazz guitarist.
Stern landed a gig with Blood, Sweat & Tears (rock progressive) in 1976 and remained with the band for two years, appearing on the BS&T albums More Than Ever and Brand New Day.
After playing for a few years with Blood, Sweat & Tears, he landed a gig with drummer Billy Cobham (1979) and then broke through with trumpeter Miles Davis‘ comeback band from 1981 to 1983, and again in 1985. Following that he launched a solo career, releasing more than a dozen albums. He was hailed as theBest Jazz Guitarist of 1993 by Guitar Player magazine, and in 2009 was listed on Down Beat‘s list of 75 best jazz guitar players.
Stern joined a reunited Brecker Brothers Band in 1992 and became a factor in the success of that popular group for the next two years. His acclaimed and jazzy 1993Atlantic release, Standards (And Other Songs), led to Stern being named Best Jazz Guitarist Of The Year by the readers and critics of Guitar Player. He followed that up with 1994’s Is What It Is and 1996’sBetween The Lines, both of which received Grammy nominations.
In 1997, Stern returned to a jazzier aesthetic with Give And Take, a looser, more spontaneous session featuring bassist John Patitucci, drummer Jack DeJohnette, percussionist Don Aliasand special guests Michael Brecker and David Sanborn. He won the Orville W. Gibson Award for Best Jazz Guitarist.
Stern joined the Heads Up label with the August 2006 release of Who Let the Cats Out?
In 2008, Stern collaborated with the Yellowjackets for their Lifecycle release, contributing two compositions and performing on most of the tracks; he toured with the Yellowjackets for much of 2008 and 2009.
In February 2009, in the first in a series of articles to celebrate DownBeat‘s 75th anniversary, Stern was named to the jazz magazine’s list of 75 Great Guitarists.
An early and important guitar for Stern was a hybrid 1950s/1960s Fender Telecaster. This guitar is the basis for a custom-made guitar built by MichaelAronson, which has a Telecaster style body with an original 1950’s Broadcaster neck. The Aronson guitar is in turn the basis for the Yamaha PA511MS, the Mike Stern signature model.
43-Mickey Baker (1925-2012) (post-Christian period)
Mickey Baker pioneered much of the way guitar was done not only in jaz but in early R&B, rock, doo wop, etc. He is also a great educator with an exccelente didactic book: Mickey Baker’s Jazz Guitar.
Baker was born in Louisville, Kentucky. His mother was black, and his father, whom he had never met, was believed to be white. His dark complexion and red hairsupports this theory.
In 1936, at the age of 11, Baker was put into an orphanage. He ran away frequently, and had to be retrieved by the staff from St. Louis, New York City, Chicago, and Pittsburgh. Eventually the orphanage quit looking for him, and at the age of 16 he stayed in New York City. He found work as a laborer (obrero) and then a dishwasher.
At 19, Baker decided to make a change in his life and was determined to becomea jazz musician. The trumpet was his first choice for an instrument, but with only $14 saved up, he could not find a pawnshop (casa de empeños) with anything but guitars for that price.
He enrolled at The New York School of Music, but found the learning pace too slow. He dropped out and resolved to teach himself, but gave up shortly afterwards.Six months later he met a street guitarist who inspired him to start playing again. He continued taking private lessons from different teachers over the next few years, and, like many musicians of the day, tried to play his instrument like Charlie Parker played the saxophone.
By 1949, Baker had his own combo, and a few paying jobs. He decided to move west, but found that audiences there were not receptive to progressive jazz music. Baker was stranded without work in California when he saw a show by blues guitarist Pee Wee Crayton. Baker said of the encounter:
“I asked Pee Wee, ‘You mean you can make money playing that stuff on guitar?’Here he was driving a big white Eldorado and had a huge bus for his band. So I started bending strings. I was starving to death, and the blues was just a financial thing for me then.”
He found a few jobs in Richmond, California, and made enough money to return to New York.
He did sessions with Ray Charles, Big Joe Turner, Coleman Hawkins, and numerous other artists. During this time, Baker (along with either Paramour Crampton or Connie Kay on drums, Sam “The Man” Taylor on tenor, and Lloyd Trotman on bass) played on numerous hit records on the Atlantic, Savoy, and King labels.
Inspired by the success of Les Paul & Mary Ford, he formed the pop duo Mickey & Sylvia (with Sylvia Robinson, one of his guitar students) in the mid-1950s. Together,they had a hit single with “Love Is Strange” in 1956. The duo split up in the late 1950s, but sporadically worked together on additional tracks until the mid-1960s.
In 1961, he took the male spoken part !!!!! (usually assumed to be Ike Turner) on Ike & Tina Turner’s first hit, “It’s Gonna Work Out Fine.”
It was around this time that he moved to France, where he worked with Ronnie Bird(singer) (the best ’60s French rock singer) and Chantal Goya (singer) and made a few solo records. He would remain in France for the rest of his life. Up until the end of his life, Baker was rarely without work.
Baker appeared at the 1975 version of the Roskilde Festival.
In 1999, Baker received a Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.
In 2003, he was listed at #53 on Rolling Stone‘s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”
Of all the guitarists who helped transform rhythm & blues into rock & roll, Mickey Baker was one of the very most important, ranking almost on the level of Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley.
Baker originally aspired to be a jazz musician, but turned to calypso, mambo, and then R&B, where the most work could be found.
Mickey Baker died at his home in Montastruc-la-Conseillère, France in 2012, at the age of 87.
44-Oscar Moore (1916 –1981). (Christian and post-Christian periods)
He was unique and with own personality, probably the only one of his generation not influenced by Charlie Christian. Understandably ended as bricklayer!!!!!!.
Many details of his biography are unknown despite being one of the best guitarists in jazz history. Moore was an important part of the Nat King Cole Trio during 1937–1947, appearing on virtually all of Cole’s records during the period. A superb and influential guitarist. In the words of Barney Kessel, Moore practically created the role of the jazz guitarist in small combos.
Unfortunately, Moore’s post-Cole career was not very successful. He played with his brother Johnny Moore in the Three Blazers from 1947 to the mid-1950s, after which the group declined in popularity following the departure of pianist/singerCharles Brown. Moore also recorded three records for the Verve and Tampalabels during 1953 and 1954. After that he was outside of music with the exception of one Cole tribute album in 1965. Eventually he left music altogether and settled in Los Angeles, where he worked as a bricklayer (albañil)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
45-Pat Martino (1944-live on) (post-Christian period)
Martino was born in South Philadelphia. He began playing professionally at the age of 15 after moving to New York City. Martino played and recorded early in his career with musicians such as Willis Jackson and Eric Kloss. He also worked with jazz organists, including Charles Earland, Jack McDuff, Tony Monaco, Trudy Pitts, Jimmy Smith, Gene Ludwig, Don Patterson,Richard “Groove” Holmes. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Martino made many recordings as a sideman and also under his own name.
In 1980, Martino underwent surgery as the result of a nearly fatal brain aneurysm.The surgery left him with amnesia, leaving him, among other things, without some memory of the guitar and his musical career. With the help of friends, computers, and his old recordings, he made a recovery, and learned to play the guitar again. The 1987 recording The Return marked Martino’s return to music.
His improvisation method, “Conversion to Minor”, is often mistakenly thought to be based upon using exclusively minor systems for soloing. In the words of Pat: “I’ve always depended upon my own melodic instinct, instead of scale like formulas”.
He was awarded 2004 Guitar Player of the Year, Down Beat magazine’s 2004 Reader’s Poll.
Martino’s album Undeniable: Live at Blues Alley (Highnote Records) was released on October 11, 2011, and hit No. 1 on the jazz charts in mid-November.
46-Path Metheny (1954-live on) (contemporary)
A fun/freak of Wes Montgomery in his early years, influenced by Attila Zoler ,Coleman, Coltrane, M. Davis among others in the middle and later he did his own way. He has also admitted to being heavily influenced by the Beatles!!!!!!,going so far as to say that everything by the Beatles has impacted him as a musician.
As a young musician, Metheny did everything he could to sound like Wes Montgomery. Metheny is quoted as saying, “Smokin’ at the Half Note (is the second collaboration jazz album recorded by Wes Montgomery and the Wynton Kelly Trio and released in 1965) is the absolute greatest jazz-guitar album ever made. It is also the record that taught me how to play.” But when Path was 14 or 15, he decided that he felt that it was disrespectful to imitate him.
At age 15, he won a Down Beat scholarship to a one-week jazz camp and was taken under the wing of guitarist Attila Zoller. Zoller also invited the young Metheny to New York City to see the likes of Jim Hall and Ron Carter (double bassist).
Following his graduation from Lee’s Summit High School, Metheny briefly attended the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida in 1972, where he was quickly offered a teaching position. He then moved to Boston to take a teaching assistantship at the Berklee College of Music with jazz vibraphonist Gary Burton. He first made his name as a teenage prodigy under the wing of Burton.
The asymmetrical lines, relentless rhythmic drive, and deep blues feeling of Ornette Coleman‘s New York Is Now! inspired Metheny to find his own direction. He recorded Coleman compositions on a number of his records (starting with a medley of “Round Trip” and “Broadway Blues” on his debut Bright Size Life); worked extensively with Coleman collaborators such as Charlie Haden, Dewey Redman, and Billy Higgins; and has even made a record, Song X, with Coleman.
Metheny’s playing (as well as his tone) also show significant stylistic influences by guitarists as Hall, Joe Diorio, Kenny Burrell, Joe Pass, McLaughlin and non-guitarists as as Clifford Brown (trumpet) John Coltrane (sax) Miles Davis (trumpet). He has also admitted to being heavily influenced by the Beatles!!!!!!,going so far as to say that everything by the Beatles has impacted him as a musician. The were hugely influential on his pursuit into jazz music. He has paid significant attention to the evolution of guitar playing across genres, and is familiar with the playing of notables from the likes of rock guitarists Eddie Van Halen to Leo Kottke.
In particular, he has been influenced by Brazilian music – both the European-influenced jazz sound of the bossa nova and the intensely polyrhythmic Afro-Brazilian sounds of the country’s northeast. Metheny made 3 albums on ECM with the Brazilian vocalist and percussionist Naná Vasconcelos in the early 1980s. He also lived in Brazil from the late 1980s to the early 1990s and performed with several local musicians such as Milton Nascimento and Toninho Horta. He also played with Antonio Carlos Jobim as a tribute, in a live performance in Carnegie Hall Salutes The Jazz Masters: Verve 50th Anniversary.
He is also a fan of several pop music artists, especially singer/songwriters including James Taylor (after whom he named the song “James” on Offramp); and Joni Mitchell, with whom he performed on her Shadows and Light (1980, Asylum/ Elektra) live tour.
Two of Metheny’s recordings, The Way Up and Orchestrion, evidence the influence of American minimalist composer Steve Reich and utilize similar rhythmic figures structured around pulse. Reich’s composition Electric Counterpoint was first recorded by Metheny and appears on the Different Trains CD released by Nonesuch Records in 1987.
Metheny entered the wider jazz scene in 1975 when he joined Burton’s band, where he played alongside resident jazz guitarist Mick Goodrick. Goodrick was a 1967 alumnus of Berklee, who had held a teaching post there in the early 1970s.
With Mays did Pat Metheny Group, featuring several songs they co-wrote.
Metheny also has released solo, trio, quartet and duet recordings with guitarists such as: Hall, Scofield, Milton Nascimento, Santana, Joni Mitchell and non-guitarists:Chick Corea, Pastorius, Herbie Hancock, Ornette Coleman, and many others.
Metheny has been touring for more than 30 years, playing between 120 and 240 concerts a year.
35 Grammy award nominations
Winner of 20 Grammy awards
3 Gold Records (Secret Story, Still Live Talking, Letter From Home)
DownBeat Hall of Fame – Inducted in November, 2013
42 recordings totaling about 20 million records sold worldwide
DownBeat: Guitarist of the Year 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2103: Pat Metheny
47- René Thomas (1927 –1975) Post-Christian period)
René Thomas Liege, Belgium is considered one of the greatest jazz guitarists of the 1960s, but has remained rather unknown to the general public. After the Second World War, he played with the “Bop Shots”, Belgium’s first be-bop outfit with Jacques Pelzer and Bobby Jaspar. Between these three men a real musical osmosis arose.
In the early 1950s, Thomas moved to Paris where he connected with the modern jazz scene. In 1954, he recorded his first album under his own name. His reputation as a virtuoso guitarist and inventive musician spread rapidly in the small jazz world.
In 1956, he moved to Canada. He played regularly for the Montreal jazz society and met American musicians, including Sonny Rollins, who becomes impressed enough to invite him for a concert in Philadelphia and for the recording, in 1958, of hisSonny Rollins and the Big Brass album. In the United States, René played with the some of the best jazz musicians of that era: Stan Getz (sax tenor), Miles Davis (trumpet), Toshiko Akiyoshi (pianist-woman) and Jackie McLean (sax alto). In 1960, he recorded the album Guitar Groove.
Returning to Europe in 1962, he toured and recorded with Chet Baker, Bobby Jaspar, Kenny Clarke, Eddy Louiss, Charles Lolo Bellonzi, Ingfried Hoffman, Stan Getz, Lucky Thompson, Sonny Criss, Jacques Pelzer and Lou Bennett.
He died in 1975 of a sudden heart attack in Spain, while touring with Lou Bennett.
48-Tal Farlow (1921 – 1998) (Christian and post-Christian periods)
A fun/freak of Charlie Christian.
Talmage Holt Farlow was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1921. He did not take up the instrument until he was 21, but within a year was playing professionally.
A sign painter by trade (pintor de cartels comerciales), Tal Farlow took up the guitar seriously after hearing Charlie Christian on the radio. He was so impressed with Christian’s playing that he taught himself how to play all of Charlie Christian’s solos by listening to Benny Goodman records.
That was in North Carolina in the late1930’s. In the 1940’s Tal Farlow was in New York beginning to influence and capture the imaginations of jazz guitarists and jazz fans with his unique sound and style.
In 1948 was with Marjorie Hyams‘ band. Then he made a number of recordings with Buddy deFranco, Artie Shaw and Red Norvo before making a series of recordings under his own name in the 1950’s.
He began his career in the 1940’s as a contemporary of the centuries most recognized and influential jazz guitarists and quickly rose to a preeminent position among them.
While with the Red Norvo Trio from 1949 to 1953, Farlow became famous in the jazz world. His huge hands and ability to play rapid yet light lines, which earned him the nickname “Octopus”, made him one of the top guitarists of the era.
After six months with Artie Shaw’s Gramercy Five in 1953, Farlow put together his own group, which for a time included pianist Eddie Costa. With his group recordedThis is Tal Farlow, The Tal Farlow Album and Autumn in New York. It was this series of recordings that established Tal Farlow as one of the greatest jazz guitarists of all time.
He was nicknamed the “Octopus”, for his extremely large hands spread over the fretboard as if they were tentacles, he is considered one of the all-time great jazz guitarists.
In 1958, Farlow retired from full-time performing and settled in Sea Bright, New Jersey, returning to a career as a sign painter. He continued to play occasional dates in local clubs, however.
In 1962 the Gibson Guitar Corporation, with Farlow’s participation, produced the “Tal Farlow” model in their prestigious Artist Model line.
In 1968 while living in Sea Bright, Phillip Petillo designed a specialized guitar for Tal with a “moving pickup” trying to introduce young players to jazz and its components. They had a good creative working relationship for many years.
Farlow emerged more often during 1976–1984, recording for Concord fairly regularly before largely disappearing again.
When guitarist Tal Farlow died he left behind an unmatched legacy of jazz guitar music.
Separated by 30 years, recordings like Autumn in New York from the album by the same name and I’ve Got The World On A String from Cookin’ On All Burners demonstrated the unique Tal Farlow style; unorthodox technique, and a sound represented by clearly articulated lines played throughout the range of the guitar, chromatic chords and unusual chord voicings, flowing, complex solos that never seem to run out of ideas.
In the 1990’s Tal Farlow was heard at the 1997 JVC Tribute to Barney Kessel With Love from Your Friends, and at the 1996 Tribute to Tal Farlow, two years before his dead.
49- Tommy Tedesco (1930 -1997) (post-Christian period)
A string multi-instrumentstalist, the most recorded guitarist in history according a Guitar Player magazine.
Tedesco’s credits include, among many others songs, the iconic brand-burning accompaniment theme from television’s Bonanza (with Al Caiola).
Born in Niagara Falls, New York, Tedesco made his way to the U.S. West Coast where he became one of the most-sought-after studio guitarists between the 1960s and 1980s. Although Tedesco was primarily a guitar player, he also played the mandolin, ukulele, and the sitar as well as 28 other stringed instruments(though he played all of them in guitar tuning).
Tedesco was described by Guitar Player magazine as the most recorded guitarist in history, having played on thousands of recordings, many of which were top-20 hits. He recorded with most of the top musicians working in the Los Angelesarea including the Beach Boys, the Mamas & the Papas, the Everly Brothers, the Association, Barbra Streisand, Jan and Dean, the 5th Dimension, Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Zappa, Ricky Nelson, Cher, and Nancy and Frank Sinatra as well as on Richard Harris‘s classic “MacArthur Park“.
Tedesco also performed for film soundtracks such as The French Connection, The Godfather, Jaws, The Deer Hunter, Field of Dreams, Howard Hawkes and John Wayne film Rio Lobo, plus several Elvis Presley films.
When Spector produced the enormously popular record “Be My Baby” in 1963, he named the jam session on the flip side “Tedesco and Pitman,” after two of his favorite guitar players: Tommy Tedesco and Bill Pitman. Tedesco being called King Salt, and Pitman getting the nickname Junior Salt. As Pitman said in a 2002 interview, “if King Salt wouldn’t say something, Junior Salt certainly would.”
On his own, Tedesco recorded a number of jazz guitar albums, but his musical career ended in 1992 when he suffered a stroke that resulted in partial paralysis. The following year he published his autobiography, Confessions of a Guitar Player.
Tedesco died of lung cancer in 1997, at the age of 67, in Northridge, California.
50-Wes Montgomery (1925 – 1968) (post-Christian period)
A short career wich begin by copy to Charlie Christian. Then he develop his own sound and a after a very short short career, unexpectedly, he find an early dead, leaving us a immense legacy.
Wes was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1925. At age nineteen he took up the accoustic guitar and moved almost immediately to the electric guitar. Firstly he memorized Charlie Christian solos off records, then armed with these solos he got his first job which was to play these solos.
By 1948, at 23 years, he had progressed significantly because he got a job in the Lionel Hampton big band and went on the road with Hampton for two years. During this time he appeared on a long list of Hampton studio and broadcast recordings, among them “Lavender Coffin, and “Benson’s Boogie” and “Where or When”. His appearances on the studio recordings were limited to rhythm playing. But every now and then he got a short solo on some of the broadcast recordings like “Hot House”.
In 1950 and returned to Indiana where he worked with his brothers and other local bands, including his own trio. He recorded his first record as a leader in 1959when he made The Wes Montgomery Trio.
Between 1959 and 1963 a succession of important recordings appeared, among these recordings were The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery, The Wes Montgomery Trio and Full House.
After 1963, orchestration was added and more pop tunes were covered. It was the recording that included the title tune Going Out Of My Head that won Montgomery a Grammy in 1965.
The recordings in this second period were more significant for their commercial success than for the music. However, they made Wes Montgomery a household name and helped elevate the guitar to a whole new level in American popular music.
For the jazz guitarist, the recordings from the first period remain the most significant. All Wes Montgomery recordings have the unmistakable Montgomery imprint, but it is the small group material that best presented the whole context of the Montgomery approach to jazz guitar.
Wes Montgomery was a superb melodist with a warm Wes Montgomery sound achieved by using his thumb rather than a pick.
Wes Montgomery died suddenly of a heart attack in 1968, at age 43. He leftbehind a legacy that included changing the guitar’s place in popular culture.
Metheny is quoted as saying, “Smokin’ at the Half Note (is the second collaboration jazz album recorded by Wes Montgomery and the Wynton Kelly Trio and released in 1965)is the absolute greatest jazz-guitar album ever made. It is also the record that taught me how to play.”