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.

Posted by David Boles

David Boles was born in Nebraska and his MFA is from Columbia University in the City of New York. He is an Author, Lyricist, Playwright, Publisher, Editor, Actor, Designer, Director, Poet, Producer, and Boodle Boy for print, radio, television, film, the web and the live stage. With more than 50 books in print, David continues to write 2MM words a year. He has authored over 25K articles and published more. Read the Prairie Voice Archive at Boles.com | Buy his books at David Boles Books Writing & Publishing | Earn the world with David Boles University | Get a script doctored at Script Professor | Touch American Sign Language mastery at Hardcore ASL.

8 Comments

  1. I know Lang because of some recordings I have that are purportedly him playing with Django Reinhardt. He is indeed fantastic and I love listening to him make the guitar sing.

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    1. That’s great, Gordon! Do you have his performances on vinyl? How did you get interested in Django?

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      1. No such luck — mp3 only from CDs that I had as a kid. I got into Django because my father bought some CDs at garage sales years ago.

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        1. So did your father tell you Eddie was heard on the recordings with Django?

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    2. I’d love to hear Django with Eddie Lang, but I am in no hurry. The only place they could have played together is at the big gig in the sky…

      Seriously, I doubt that they have played together. Lang died in March 1933. After the accident that nearly cost him his life in November 1928, Django only started working as an accompanist in 1933, before he met Grappelli in 1934, year of the foundation of the Hot Club. Consecration for Django came in 1935 and his career took off from there.

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      1. Thanks for that historical update, Uke Richard!

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  2. […] usually buy my songs online from Hal Leonard, but now that I’m dipping a bit more into guitar Jazz, I was desperate to find “Take Five” — scored for the guitar — […]

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  3. […] set they use, they are always determined and very specific.  We’ve come a long way from Django Reinhardt using a trouser button as a guitar pick — and I’m betting his button was made of […]

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