Eddie Lang is the greatest Jazz guitar player you have probably never heard of before today. Eddie Lang died in 1933 at the age of 30 after a botched tonsillectomy that Bing Crosby urged him to have so Eddie could have speaking roles, in addition to playing the guitar, in Bing’s movies. Today, a new Eddie Lang album dropped — The Father of Jazz Guitar — and it is a delightful experience to hear Eddie’s archtop guitar sound so round and rich and full and warm 80 years after he first recorded the songs.
I buy a lot of music from iTunes. One of the iTunes features I enjoy is the ability to pre-order music that matches your interests. A few weeks ago, iTunes told me about this new Eddie Lang album and I pre-ordered it.
Late last night, I received this email notifying me I could download the album:
This morning, when I fired up iTunes to download the album, I was surprised to see Ping! had my purchase recorded eight hours ago when I received the iTunes email notification my album was ready and not when I actually downloaded the music.
For ten dollars, you get 22 fantastic Eddie Lang songs. Some novice listeners might believe that every song sounds the same, but the trained ear will hear the lively subtleties of Eddie Lang’s comping and chord harmonies. “Feeling My Way” and “Blue Blood Blues” and “I’ll Never Be The Same” are a few of the standards Eddie plays for you.
Here’s a scene from — The Big Broadcast of 1932 — starring Bing Crosby with Eddie Lang on guitar:
Eddie Lang is one of the pure gifts to music that we may not know, but that we unwittingly appreciate every day in the music he inspired today. His rhythm was right on. He used chords to play the melody of a song instead of individually expressed notes, and he helped push the guitar to the forefront of the burgeoning Jazz era. Take a listen to “The Father of Jazz” and know the SuperGenius that came before you.