DjangoBooks.com

Welcome to our Community!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Related Discussions

Who's Online (1)

  • Matteo 10:18AM

Today's Birthdays

Mischa gypsymyk jensmolander RussellBib

Two controversial theses for the Langologists out there...

Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
edited May 2016 in Eddie Lang Club Posts: 1,306
Hi guys (and maybe even a lady or two, who knows?)

Sorry I haven't posted anything Lang-related in such a long time... but I have a great excuse! On January 27, my first grandchild Marco was born, and he's taken up most of my spare time since then.

Anyway... revenons a nos moutons...

I'm here today to advance two controversial new Lang theses which I hope will provoke some discussion. Dissenting opinions are welcome as always.

##########

Controversial thesis number one: Eddie sometimes either used a CAPO, or else tuned his guitar up a half step.

Evidence: Lang's coda to the Bix Beiderbecke- Frankie Trumbauer classic 1927 recording of "I'm Comin' Virginia".



Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to play along both with and without a capo on your first fret and tell me which version sounded more like Lang.

I would especially like to hear from anyone who can play those harmonics at the end in the key of F natural.

Of course, you can argue that the recording is not at pitch, and was actually recorded in E natural and not F.

But in this case, you are going to have to explain why you believe that the cornet and sax solos are in the key of E natural.

And I think anybody who plays with cornet or sax players will vouch for the fact that they never, ever choose to play in the sharp keys if they can possibly avoid them.

############

Controversial thesis number two: Eddie sometimes used his THUMB instead of a plectrum.

OK, this one I admit I'm not quite so sure about, but I've noticed in listening to Lang a lot that sometimes his tone sounds sort of soft and airy when playing rhythm.



This was inadvertently confirmed the other day, when I needed to show up for band practice without my own guitar and had to borrow my bass player's old beater, an Asian dreadnaught copy.

Since there was no pick available, I had to play it with my thumb. Surprise! It sounded very much like Eddie's soft, airy rhythm sound.

Note that I am not saying that Eddie always played with his thumb. Certainly not in his solo recordings, or his duo recordings with Venuti, or his small group recordings with the Blue Four.

But here's what I suspect...

On any recording on which Lang was playing with a rather large ensemble, he would've been pretty much inaudible if he hadn't been positioned right on top of the single studio microphone.

That's just logical, n'est-ce pas?

Well, taking this logic one step further... suppose it was discovered somewhere along the line by some clever recording engineer, or Lang himself, that if Eddie were to play along with the ensemble using his thumb, that would actually sound better if he was stationed right on top of the microphone?

Is that too hard to believe?

##############

I prepared MP3 clips in support of these two theses, but somehow I can no longer see how to add clips to these postings. If anyone can tell me, I'd appreciate it.

Will








I live in a little tourist town called Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, Canada, which is about twenty miles north of Niagara Falls.

If you are ever planning on visiting the beautiful Niagara area, feel free to PM me and perhaps we can get together and do some jamming.
Buco
«1

Comments

  • Listening to the first one, He is to my ear most likely playing open string harmonics.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Posts: 2,371
    Ok but why would it be controversial?
    Your reasoning makes perfect sense to me either way.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    edited May 2016 Posts: 1,306
    Thanks, Buco. I guess most of the players on this site don't really have any strong feelings one way or the other about Eddie Lang, but strangely enough I got into a big argument about the "capo" topic last month.

    This was at a record collector's conference in Toronto that I like to attend every April. It features workshop presentations given by various experts on different jazz musicians and this year one of the presenters was a singer/guitarist by the name of Marty Grosz.

    I don't know if that name means anything to you, but Marty's a real interesting guy... for one thing he's the son of German artist George Grosz whose 1920's anti-Nazi cartoons caused him to beat a hasty retreat from Germany when Hitler came to power in 1933!

    http://benuri.org.uk/collection/george-grosz-1893-1959/

    Marty Grosz's guitar style is heavily influenced by a 1930's guitarist named Carl Kress, a contemporary and friend of Eddie Lang. Kress and Grosz both play in a weird tuning (Bb-F-C-G-B-D) and their arrangements typically feature intricate memorized chord sequences rather than the kind of single-string improvisation we associate with Django or even Lang.

    Anyway, at the record collector's conference were a couple of other guitarists, both friends admirers of Marty Grosz, who play in the same general style, and they both were pretty adamant that Eddie Lang did NOT USE A CAPO!!!!
    Buco
    I live in a little tourist town called Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, Canada, which is about twenty miles north of Niagara Falls.

    If you are ever planning on visiting the beautiful Niagara area, feel free to PM me and perhaps we can get together and do some jamming.
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    Posts: 1,306
    Oopsie... forgot to say that the subject of Marty Grosz' workshop was Eddie Lang! So needless to say I was sitting in the front row.

    Although Marty and friends do not actually try to play in Lang's style, they rightly revere his status as one of the founding fathers of jazz guitar.

    **********

    One thing Marty once told me privately which I may have mentioned at this website sometime over the past few years is that both Bing Crosby and Eddie Lang were fans of the, um, herbal cigarette.

    In Lang's case, this might have been due to the fact that he was apparently unable to drink alcohol due to some kind of congenital stomach problem that plagued him for most of his life.

    According to Marty, when Bing and Eddie finished their last set on a Saturday night, they often enjoyed staying up all night with their friend MJ... and then at about 6am, since both were practising Catholics, they would head off to early Mass together before going back to the hotel to bed!

    I live in a little tourist town called Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, Canada, which is about twenty miles north of Niagara Falls.

    If you are ever planning on visiting the beautiful Niagara area, feel free to PM me and perhaps we can get together and do some jamming.
  • Russell LetsonRussell Letson Prodigy
    Posts: 208
    Though I've been listening to Lang and other pre-amplification players for many years, I confess that neither the capo nor the thumb questions ever occurred to me. The Kress/Grosz fifths tuning still shows up outside Marty's gigs--I recall seeing John Jorgenson's guitarist (Doug Mattocks, if I recall correctly) using it years back at DFNW. (Almost as confusing as watching the late Patrick Saussois play left-handed.) And the chord-solo approach lives on with Bucky Pizzarelli as well as other seven-stringers. (Would be interesting to construct the family tree that traces fifths tuning, banjo/tenor crossovers, chord-soloing, and seven-string guitarists. . . .)
  • One thing I do know for sure the triad harmonic he plays at the end are played on open strings. Given the notes of the arp and where he ends up he is either capos retuned or playing in E and the Rd or ding is changed.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Jeff MooreJeff Moore Minneapolis✭✭✭✭ Lebreton 2
    edited May 2016 Posts: 476
    On the second tune, it sounds to me like both guitars are thumbed, not picked until minute 3:00, then the sound is suddenly very plectrumed on both. The second tune definitely has two guitars. Right at the end you hear sinlge notes over a steady 8 of chunk guitar.
    Until the very end there is nothing that tells me there's two G's., but at the the outro there's no other way I can hear it. The whole song until 3:00 lacks the attack and brightness of a pick.
    "We need a radical redistribution of wealth and power" MLK
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    Posts: 1,306
    Hmmm... well, I've gotta be honest and say I can't hear a second guitar.

    Lang and Venuti both seemed to like the sound of a 'rhythm piano' chunking out the chords behind the two of them so perhaps that's what you're hearing, Jeff?
    I live in a little tourist town called Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, Canada, which is about twenty miles north of Niagara Falls.

    If you are ever planning on visiting the beautiful Niagara area, feel free to PM me and perhaps we can get together and do some jamming.
  • Russell LetsonRussell Letson Prodigy
    Posts: 208
    I don't hear a second guitar, either--and the personnel list for that session* includes only Lang on guitar. There are, though, piano and harpophone**, which might give the impression of single-note guitar over Lang's rhythm playing. There's also a four-note figure around 3:14 (right before the playout) that sounds to me like a clarinet.

    It's possible to soften the timbre of rhythm comping without using the thumb--I do it all the time with a pick. Change the angle of attack, use the shoulder rather than point, play closer to the bottom of the fingerboard, don't play as hard, or any combination of these. And I wonder whether, given the conditions of early electrical recording (probably a single mike) and Lang's guitar setup, whether thumbing would have cut it.

    * See http://www.ejazzlines.com/mc_files/2/MO-213.pdf, the discography for the Mosaic Records Venuti-Lang set.

    ** A miniature vibraphone. You can hear it under the sax solo before the vocal and at the very end, in the final notes of the tag.
  • Jeff MooreJeff Moore Minneapolis✭✭✭✭ Lebreton 2
    edited May 2016 Posts: 476
    Your right about the one (Lang) guitar. I only listened once. The older I get the more everything I like, sounds like guitar! The single notes are more like a clarinet.
    It's a clever song, moving towards shapes you don't expect.
    "We need a radical redistribution of wealth and power" MLK
Sign In or Register to comment.
Home  |  Forum  |  Blog  |  Contact  |  206-528-9873
Follow Us
The Premier Gypsy Jazz Marketplace
DjangoBooks.com
Search
Banner Adverts
Sell Your Guitar
Follow Us
© 2019 DjangoBooks.com, all rights reserved worldwide.
Software: Kryptronic eCommerce, Copyright 1999-2019 Kryptronic, Inc. Exec Time: 0.044642 Seconds Memory Usage: 3.230377 Megabytes
Kryptronic