Lang and Venuti

Canard

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I made an awesome score in a used book store today. In box of sale items on the floor at the back, I found a pristine copy of Eddie Lang and Joe Venuti: Stringing the Blues, a 2 LP box set from the sixties.


A small sample:



Lang and Venuti were sort of the American Reinhardt and Grappelli. There is obvious cross Atlantic fertilisation on the European side, but Lang and Venuti were earlier, slightly, and were much more American in their musical roots. A lot of Jazz books call Lang the first "modern" Jazz guitarist, the one who first stepped out of the rhythm section to do single note line solos, no small feat without a pickup and amp.

Very cool album.

Major bonus points for me: the wife totally digs the album. :)
 

shihan

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Eddie Lang was a monster player and innovator. He did a lot of recording with various combos and artists. All of his work is worth listening to, especially the duets with Venuti.
The story I read was Django and Grapelli started playing duets goofing around trying to be Lang/Venuti.
all very worthy stuff, even almost 100 years later.
 

Canard

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Lang also recorded under the pseudonym, Blind Willie Dunn (for obvious reasons), both as a session leader and as a sideman, so that he could play with musicians he admired.

Here as Blind Willie he is comping for Lonnie Johnson who seems to be setting a 12 string on fire:



Here is Blind Willie as leader:

 

Canard

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He was also Bing Crosby's favourite guitarist.

Here Lang accompanies a more edgy, bluesy Crosby (than he later was):

 

jp

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I love the tunes with vocals. I know your compilation has quite a few songs with Harold Arlen and Bing singing. They've backed Annette Henshaw, Victoria Spivey, Jack Teagarden, and others. There was a massive 8-CD collection of Columbia and Okeh recordings released a while back with vocals by Scrappy Lambert, Bill Hillpot and other vocalists. I'm always keeping my eyes peeled out for it used. I really like this period of roaring 20s small combo jazz.
 

wileypickett

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It's easy to dismiss Bing from what some of us remember him doing in his later years. But he was quite cutting edge in his early days. The two (so far!) biographies by Gary Giddins gave me a broader picture of the man and his accomplishments, which were considerable, and the influence he had. Because he was recording the biggest selling numbers of the period, he could choose his own sidemen, and he employed some of the best. (He helped support a budding guitarist named Les Paul.)

Among Django's infuences was Lang's sometime partner, Lonnie Johnson, who, along with Lang, is often also credited with being the "first jazz guitarist," having played played riverboats with various New Orleans jazz ensembles in the 'teens. By the late '20s Johnson had recorded solo spots on recordings by both Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. Johnson toured with Bessie Smith and also backed vocalists such as Victoria Spivey, among many others.
 

jp

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I agree. Bing was a giant of that era, especially the stuff with Paul Whiteman and the Rhythm Boys. My musician friends used to call it cartoon music and described it as the accompaniment to assorted bottles of condiments dancing out of a refrigerator. :LOL:

Lonnie Johnson is on a lot of those Columbia and Okeh recordings. Great stuff! I really love the playing of those early jazz guitar pioneers like Carl Kress, Dick McDonough, Teddy Bunn, George Van Eps, et al.
 
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