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George Cordoba?

Svanis1337Svanis1337 ✭✭✭
edited November 2012 in History Posts: 424
An individeual recently asked me the following:

cliff in tokyo
would you have any info on guitarist george cordoba?

he played with django's rhythm section a while, then with xavier cugat's band,

very littleinfo on him anywhere, i am in touch with his grandson who knows little of him, my old bassist form 1970 Tony Garnier who has been with bob dylan since 1989, was a family friend but other than that george remains an enigma...


I'd love to help, but I know nothing about this fellow. If anyone wants to help, drop a reply? :) This guy is part of a small group researching the mysterious "George Cordoba".



  • CuimeanCuimean Los AngelesProdigy
    Posts: 266
    I know of a Jorge Cordoba who, as an American GI in Europe during WWII, saw Django play. I first heard about him through a CD comp called Pachuco Boogie on the Arhoolie label. The liner notes have more information about him, but my copy of the CD is buried in a box in my closet. If I remember correctly, they don't say anything about him having played as one of Django's rhythm guitarists.

    Here is one of his songs:

    Arhoolie's archives, including more Jorge Cordoba 78s, are available for researchers through the University of California at Los Angeles. You can preview them here:
  • Svanis1337Svanis1337 ✭✭✭
    Posts: 424
    Interesting! This could be the soldier Chet Atkins mentioned being backstage with Django after the Chicago Civic Opera House concert, asking if Django remembered him:

    "Django, you remember me? I was in that joint one night in Paris, and we played guitar together." He said, "Yes, yes" he seemed like a really nice guy.

    Thank you for your help. That recording is amazing! :shock: Such quality for 1948!! The same with Oscar Aléman recordings. Latin America had very good recording studios, that's for sure! If only Django had that technology back in europe. :(
  • CuimeanCuimean Los AngelesProdigy
    Posts: 266
    Cordoba was American. I thing he might have lived in Los Angeles, which certainly had no shortage of recording studios in the post-war era.
  • CuimeanCuimean Los AngelesProdigy
    Posts: 266 ... ge+Cordoba

    Looks like his 78s were released by Coast Records, from right here in sunny Los Angeles, California.

    Someone needs to re-issue this stuff!
  • yesfanyesfan New
    Posts: 1
    I had a Barber named Edwardo Carrasco. I went to him for about 20 years. This guy had an autographed picture of Charo on the wall. I just looked him up on google and sadly he passed away a year or so back. This guy was a character. Had lots of stories and knew lots of celebrities and everyone else. I asked about Charo because I have played guitar my whole life and I know who taught her. He said he knew Charo and got an audition for a friend of his named George. Xaviar heard George and hired him. Edwardo gave me a cassette tape that he made with a portable recorder probably in the seventies or 60s of George just playing live in the backyard. I still have it. To be honest I think I listened to the whole thing once. At the very beggining you can hear Edwardo talking and speaking of George. Then he says and now Flight of the Bumble bee. Hit it George! I must say what this guy plays is frightening. I played it for my guitar teacher whom I still email and he still plays for a living and this was 30 years ago mind you. His jaw dropped. The quality is lousy but the playing is unbelievable. Sadly the stories Edwardo told me of George leads me to believe he had some sort of chemical imbalance. It sounded like he really couldnt function in life and all he could do was play guitar. Boy could he play guitar and I got the tape to prove it.
  • Svanis1337Svanis1337 ✭✭✭
    Posts: 424
    That's an amazing story! It would be great if you somehow could share the tape, for example play it and use the headphone jack of the casette deck to record to a computer. Some more stories would be great also.

    Alternatively, contact "cliffworks4321" on Youtube. He's the one I was trying to help in the first place. He's a friend of George Cordoba's grandson, Nick Cordoba, who also know very, very little of his grandfather.
  • Archtop EddyArchtop Eddy Manitou Springs, ColoradoModerator
    Posts: 589
    The other day I had a chance to check out George Cordoba's LP Shades of Django. There was additional information on the back so I thought I'd share it with you. Below are the comments written by Ralph J. Gleason. The album was produced by Lee Young, and released in 1966 on Exodus Records:

    Here's Gleason's writeup:

    In the world of jazz it seems as though there is a new pianist, a new trumpeter, a new saxophonist rising out of the mass every few months to establish himself as one of the permanent stars.
    But new guitar players are something else again; they are just simply scarce. So it is a rather unusual event when one comes along who impresses jazz musicians and jazz fans alike with his ability.
    George Cordoba is such a guitarist and it seems inevitable that the solid impression his personal appearance and the test of this record has already made upon the jazz world will be expanded when his music is available to all.
    George Cordoba has been playing the guitar for years now, but due to the peculiarities of fate, to World War II, and to an extended hibernation in the band of Xavier Cugat, the jazz world has known little of him.
    Thus it wasn't until late this Spring that Lee Young of Vee-Jay was tempted to listen to a tape George Cordoba had made. "He and his brother came to see me and said they were musicians and would I please listen to this tape. I did and I couldn't believe it. Neither could anybody else I played it for. Guitar players thought it was more than one guy. No one would believe it was solo."
    So Lee Young recorded George Cordoba for Exodus and, because of the echoes of Django Reinhardt, named the album "Shades of Django."
    It's no wonder, incidentally, that there's a shade of Django in Cordoba's music. "He was my most important inspiration," George says. "I had two inspirations in my life. One was an Art Tatum record; the first time I heard it I almost flipped. It was "Yesterdays." The other inspiration was Django. I used to listen to records by Django and by Segovia and learn them note by note and then play 'em back! Charlie Christian I like too. He did something for me. But Django was the most important."
    Cordoba, whose parents came from Columbia, was raised in Stockton, Calif., and learned the guitar from his father. During World War II he was in the U.S. Army and was in the Battle of the Buldge (sic) where he achieved considerable Army fame for bringing his guitar into Bastogne and playing it during the darkest moment of the German attack on Christmas 1944.
    But the time in France with the U.S. Army is important to George Cordoba for a different, non-miltary reason. That was when he met Django Reinhardt. "I met his brother, Joseph, first. Django was in Frankfurt and came to Paris and Joseph called me and we met Django and I played the guitar for him. We had dinner with Django and his wife. I wanted HIM to play the guitar for me and he did. I can't explain how I felt. He was a great artist and I will always be grateful to him."
    After the war, George Cordoba worked in Northern California with his brother and sister in the Trio Cordoba appearing on local TV and radio shows. He then went on the road with Xavier Caugat (sic) until the late 50s and since then has been working as a single.
    Right after he was discharged from the Army, he spent eight months at the San Francisco Conservatory studying music. "God gave me a gift and I am thankful for it," he says with simple sincerity. "I am trying to do something authentic with it."
    For his record date (George's brother, Joseph, had died in the meantime) -- Lee Young grouped together George and three other guitarist -- Bobby Gibbons, Herb Ellis, and John Collins. Joe Comfort was chosen as bassist and the session went on like they had been playing together for years. Cordoba didn't know any of the musicians before the date but they jelled instantly. The other guitarist were struck by Cordoba's technical ability and John Collins immediately nicknamed him "The Octopus!"
    The tunes are all basic standards of popular music, traditional frameworks for jazz improvisation, with the exception of Cordoba's own blues. Some are tunes which Django played, but even on these the resemblance to Django is more in concept and sound than in quotation.
    One of the outstanding features of meeting George Cordoba is the strong impression of deep conviction about music that he conveys. This impression comes through in the music itself. You'll hear it, particularly in the swinging parts, and that is also something he shared with Django. It is a further indication that this new guitarist is destined for importance in music.

    Side One:
    Body and Soul
    Tea for Two
    RUnning Wild
    I've Found a New Baby
    Minor Mood (note: slight variation of Minor Swing)

    Side Two:
    These Foolish Things
    Night and Day
    I'm Thinking of You (note: variation of Nuages)
    Dark Eyes
    Blues a la Guitar
    Sweet Georgia Brown

  • stublastubla Prodigy Godefroy Maruejouls
    Posts: 386
    I have the Shades of Django recording.He also did a live one called Guitar Exotica if i remember right.
  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,174
    Svanis1337 wrote:
    he played with django's rhythm section a while, then with xavier cugat's band,
    He did not "play with Django's rhythm section a while". He may well, of course, have jammed with him or perhaps even played the odd gig but I doubt the latter.
  • dhinchendhinchen New
    Posts: 1
    I found out about George Cordoba through a stroke of luck. I was at a used record store, browsing the bargain bin, and found a record called Guitarra Exotica. It was only $1 so I snagged it. Best dollar I ever spent! The records consists of Cordoba, alone, playing a mix of standards from various countries around the world. He plays traditional songs from Brazil, China, Greece, Mexico, and others. His playing is pretty amazing. The record sleeve also has a biography of him. To summarize briefly from memory, he was born in California and learned to play guitar at a young age from his family members. He got drafted during WWII and took his guitar with him, even boosting morale by playing his entire repertoire while in foxholes in Europe. I don't recall what he did post-war, but I know it is truly a shame that he is not more well known. Otherwise, I have not been able to find out anything else about him.

    If you check eBay, you might be able to find a copy somewhere. Just be sure to include his name and the album title, as someone else has made a record by the same name.
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