Friday, August 11, 2017

Friday music: If you don't love jazz, you hate America

Let's ignore the looming risk of nuclear war and focus on the bright side of this week's politics:  The Mooch poked his head back out from under that rock!  I can use him again!  I decided to go with this one, from the greatest composer in all of history.  Beethoven?  Hah.  Ellington.

I am more likely to listen to Miles or Coltrane than to Duke Ellington, but come on.  Look at the list of what he wrote.

Anyway, here he is with Lonnie Johnson on guitar!  Yes, Lonnie Johnson (not Robert).  Charlie Christian was a great jazz guitarist, credited with making it a lead instrument on this side of the pond, after Django Reinhardt showed what it could do in Europe, but Christian was only 12 years old while blues guitar virtuoso Lonnie Johnson was playing with Duke Ellington on this 1928 recording.  Lonnie could play anything, and he did some great stuff playing duets with Eddie Lang.  I repeat, this was 1928.  Compared to what other guitarists were doing at the time, Lonnie was just on a different level.  Pay attention to what he does here.

And jazz was only a sideline for him.  Don't you want to check out his blues recordings now?  Sorry to those who aren't guitar fanatics.  Lonnie Johnson was just awesome.

Then again, here's some Duke Ellington!


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