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Eddie Lang

Eddie Lang

Overview
Eddie Lang was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 guitarist
Guitarist
A guitarist is a musician who plays the guitar. Guitarists may play a variety of instruments such as classical guitars, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, and bass guitars. Some guitarists accompany themselves on the guitar while singing.- Versatility :The guitarist controls an extremely...

, regarded as the Father of Jazz Guitar. He played a Gibson L-4
Gibson L-4
Gibson L-4 refers to several archtop guitars produced by the Gibson Guitar Corporation.The L-4 was first introduced in 1911 as an acoustic rhythm guitar with an oval sound hole; it was used by Eddie Lang, who also played an L-5....

 and L-5 guitar, providing great influence for many guitarists, including Django Reinhardt
Django Reinhardt
Django Reinhardt was a pioneering virtuoso jazz guitarist and composer who invented an entirely new style of jazz guitar technique that has since become a living musical tradition within French gypsy culture...

.



Lang was born Salvatore Massaro, the son of an Italian-American instrument maker in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Philadelphia County, with which it is coterminous. The city is located in the Northeastern United States along the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers. It is the fifth-most-populous city in the United States,...

. At first, he took violin
Violin
The violin is a string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which includes the viola and cello....

 lessons for 11 years. In school he became friends with Joe Venuti, with whom he would work for much of his career.
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Encyclopedia
Eddie Lang was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 guitarist
Guitarist
A guitarist is a musician who plays the guitar. Guitarists may play a variety of instruments such as classical guitars, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, and bass guitars. Some guitarists accompany themselves on the guitar while singing.- Versatility :The guitarist controls an extremely...

, regarded as the Father of Jazz Guitar. He played a Gibson L-4
Gibson L-4
Gibson L-4 refers to several archtop guitars produced by the Gibson Guitar Corporation.The L-4 was first introduced in 1911 as an acoustic rhythm guitar with an oval sound hole; it was used by Eddie Lang, who also played an L-5....

 and L-5 guitar, providing great influence for many guitarists, including Django Reinhardt
Django Reinhardt
Django Reinhardt was a pioneering virtuoso jazz guitarist and composer who invented an entirely new style of jazz guitar technique that has since become a living musical tradition within French gypsy culture...

.


Biography


Lang was born Salvatore Massaro, the son of an Italian-American instrument maker in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Philadelphia County, with which it is coterminous. The city is located in the Northeastern United States along the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers. It is the fifth-most-populous city in the United States,...

. At first, he took violin
Violin
The violin is a string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which includes the viola and cello....

 lessons for 11 years. In school he became friends with Joe Venuti, with whom he would work for much of his career. He was playing professionally by about 1918, playing violin, banjo
Banjo
In the 1830s Sweeney became the first white man to play the banjo on stage. His version of the instrument replaced the gourd with a drum-like sound box and included four full-length strings alongside a short fifth-string. There is no proof, however, that Sweeney invented either innovation. This new...

, and guitar
Guitar
The guitar is a plucked string instrument, usually played with fingers or a pick. The guitar consists of a body with a rigid neck to which the strings, generally six in number, are attached. Guitars are traditionally constructed of various woods and strung with animal gut or, more recently, with...

. He worked with various bands in the USA
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

's north-east, worked in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 (late 1924 to early 1925), then settled in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

.

Lang was the first important jazz guitarist. He was effectively able to integrate the guitar into 1920s jazz recordings. He played with the bands of Joe Venuti, Adrian Rollini
Adrian Rollini
Adrian Francis Rollini was a multi-instrumentalist best known for his jazz music. He played the bass saxophone, piano, xylophone, and many other instruments. Rollini is also known for introducing the goofus in jazz music...

, Roger Wolfe Kahn
Roger Wolfe Kahn
Roger Wolfe Kahn was an American jazz and popular musician, composer, and bandleader ....

 and Jean Goldkette
Jean Goldkette
John Jean Goldkette was a jazz pianist and bandleader born in Patras, Greece. Goldkette spent his childhood in Greece and Russia, and emigrated to the United States in 1911....

 in addition to doing a large amount of freelance radio
Radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

 and recording
Gramophone record
A gramophone record, commonly known as a phonograph record , vinyl record , or colloquially, a record, is an analog sound storage medium consisting of a flat disc with an inscribed, modulated spiral groove...

 work.

On February 4, 1927, Lang featured in the recording of "Singin' the Blues" by Frankie Trumbauer
Frankie Trumbauer
Orie Frank Trumbauer was one of the leading jazz saxophonists of the 1920s and 1930s. He played the C-melody saxophone which, in size, is between an alto and tenor saxophone...

 and His Orchestra featuring Bix Beiderbecke
Bix Beiderbecke
Leon Bismark "Bix" Beiderbecke was an American jazz cornetist, jazz pianist, and composer.With Louis Armstrong, Beiderbecke was one of the most influential jazz soloists of the 1920s...

 on cornet. Lang traded guitar licks while Beiderbecke soloed on cornet, in a landmark jazz recording of the 1920s.

In 1929, he joined Paul Whiteman
Paul Whiteman
Paul Samuel Whiteman was an American bandleader and orchestral director.Leader of the most popular dance bands in the United States during the 1920s, Whiteman's recordings were immensely successful, and press notices often referred to him as the "King of Jazz"...

's Orchestra, and can be seen and heard in the movie The King of Jazz. In 1930, Lang played guitar on the original recording of the jazz and pop standard "Georgia On My Mind
Georgia on My Mind
"Georgia on My Mind" is a song written in 1930 by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell . It is the official state song of the U.S. state of Georgia. Gorrell wrote the lyrics for Hoagy's sister, Georgia Carmichael. However, the lyrics of the song are ambiguous enough to refer either to the state or...

", recorded with Hoagy Carmichael and His Orchestra. Joe Venuti and Bix Beiderbecke also played on this recording.

When Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby
Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby was an American singer and actor. Crosby's trademark bass-baritone voice made him one of the best-selling recording artists of the 20th century, with over half a billion records in circulation....

 left Whiteman, Lang went with Crosby as his accompanist, and can be seen with him in the 1932 movie Big Broadcast. Lang also played under the pseudonym Blind Willie Dunn on a number of blues records with Lonnie Johnson
Lonnie Johnson
Alonzo "Lonnie" Johnson was an American blues and jazz singer/guitarist and songwriter who pioneered the role of jazz guitar and is recognized as the first to play single-string guitar solos...

.

Lang died following a tonsillectomy
Tonsillectomy
A tonsillectomy is a 3,000-year-old surgical procedure in which the tonsils are removed from either side of the throat. The procedure is performed in response to cases of repeated occurrence of acute tonsillitis or adenoiditis, obstructive sleep apnea, nasal airway obstruction, snoring, or...

 in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 in 1933 at the age of thirty. He had been urged by Crosby to have the tonsillectomy so that he might have speaking parts in Crosby's films. Lang's voice was chronically hoarse, and it was hoped that the operation would remedy this. It is unclear exactly what the cause of death was, but it is thought that uncontrolled bleeding played a role.

Influence and legacy


Lang's compositions, based on the Red Hot Jazz database, included "Wild Cat" with Joe Venuti, "Perfect" with Frank Signorelli
Frank Signorelli
Frank Signorelli was an US jazz pianist of the 1920s. He was a founder member of the Original Memphis Five in 1917, then joined the Original Dixieland Jazz Band briefly in 1921. In 1927 he played in Adrian Rollini's New York ensemble, and subsequently worked with Eddie Lang, Bix Beiderbecke, Matty...

, "April Kisses" (1927), "Sunshine", "Melody Man's Dream", "Goin' Places", "Black and Blue Bottom", "Bull Frog Moan", "Rainbow Dreams", "Feelin' My Way", "Eddie's Twister", "Really Blue", "Penn Beach Blues", "Wild Dog", "Pretty Trix", "A Mug of Ale", "Apple Blossoms", "Beating the Dog", "To To Blues", "Running Ragged", "Kicking the Cat", "Cheese and Crackers", "Doin' Things", "Blue Guitars", "Guitar Blues" with Lonnie Johnson
Lonnie Johnson
Alonzo "Lonnie" Johnson was an American blues and jazz singer/guitarist and songwriter who pioneered the role of jazz guitar and is recognized as the first to play single-string guitar solos...

, "Hot Fingers", "Have to Change Keys to Play These Blues", "A Handful of Riffs", "Blue Room", "Deep Minor Rhythm Stomp", "Two-Tone Stomp". "Midnight Call Blues", "Four String Joe", "Goin' Home", and "Pickin' My Way" (1932) with Carl Kress
Carl Kress
Carl Kress was an American jazz guitarist.-Musical career:Kress began his career with Paul Whiteman in 1926, and thereafter launched a successful career as a studio guitarist...

.

Jazz guitarist George Van Eps
George Van Eps
George Van Eps was an American swing and Mainstream jazz guitarist noted both for his recordings as a leader, and for his work as a session musician. He was also the author of instructional books that explored his approach to guitar-based harmony...

 assessed the legacy of Eddie Lang: "It's very fair to call Eddie Lang the father of jazz guitar". Barney Kessel
Barney Kessel
Barney Kessel was an American jazz guitarist born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, USA. Generally considered to be one of the greatest jazz guitarists of the 20th century, he was noted in particular for his vast knowledge of chords and inversions and chord-based melodies...

 noted that "Eddie Lang first elevated the guitar and made it artistic in jazz." Les Paul
Les Paul
Lester William Polsfuss —known as Les Paul—was an American jazz and country guitarist, songwriter and inventor. He was a pioneer in the development of the solid-body electric guitar which made the sound of rock and roll possible. He is credited with many recording innovations...

 acknowledged that "Eddie Lang was the first and had a very modern technique."

In 1977, Lang's recording of "Singin' the Blues" with Frankie Trumbauer and His Orchestra featuring Bix Beiderbecke on cornet was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

In 1986, Lang was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame.

Major recordings

  • "Stringin' the Blues" [Take 11], with Joe Venuti, November 8, 1926
  • "Hurricane", Red Nichols and His Five Pennies, January 12, 1927
  • "Wild Cat", with Joe Venuti, January 24, 1927, New York, Okeh 40762-A
  • "Sunshine", with Joe Venuti, January 24, 1927, New York, Okeh 40762-B
  • "Singin' the Blues", recorded on February 4, 1927, with Frankie Trumbauer
    Frankie Trumbauer
    Orie Frank Trumbauer was one of the leading jazz saxophonists of the 1920s and 1930s. He played the C-melody saxophone which, in size, is between an alto and tenor saxophone...

     and Bix Beiderbecke
    Bix Beiderbecke
    Leon Bismark "Bix" Beiderbecke was an American jazz cornetist, jazz pianist, and composer.With Louis Armstrong, Beiderbecke was one of the most influential jazz soloists of the 1920s...

     in New York and released as Okeh 40772
  • "April Kisses" b/w "Eddie's Twister", recorded April 1. 1927, Okeh 40807
  • "Doin' Things", with Joe Venuti, May 4, 1927
  • "Goin' Places", with Joe Venuti, May 4, 1927
  • "For No Reason at All in C" with Frankie Trumbauer and Bix Beiderbecke, recorded on May 13, 1927, in New York and released as Okeh 40871, Columbia 35667, and Parlophone R 3419
  • "Beating the dog",with Joe Venuti and Adrian Rollini
    Adrian Rollini
    Adrian Francis Rollini was a multi-instrumentalist best known for his jazz music. He played the bass saxophone, piano, xylophone, and many other instruments. Rollini is also known for introducing the goofus in jazz music...

    ,recorded on June 28,1927,New York,Okeh
  • "Wringin' An' Twistin', with Frankie Trumbauer and Bix Beiderbecke, September 17, 1927, OKeh 40916
  • "Perfect", October 21, 1927, New York, Okeh 40936
  • "Four String Joe*, Joe Venuti's Blue Four, November 15, 1927
  • "Guitar Blues", with Lonnie Johnson, May 7, 1929, in New York, released as Okeh 8711
  • "Knockin' A Jug", with Louis Armstrong
    Louis Armstrong
    Louis Armstrong , nicknamed Satchmo or Pops, was an American jazz trumpeter and singer from New Orleans, Louisiana....

     and Jack Teagarden, March 5. 1929
  • "Kitchen Man", with Bessie Smith, May 8, 1929
  • "A Bench in the Park", Paule Whiteman and His Orchestra, March 21, 1930
  • "Georgia on My Mind
    Georgia on My Mind
    "Georgia on My Mind" is a song written in 1930 by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell . It is the official state song of the U.S. state of Georgia. Gorrell wrote the lyrics for Hoagy's sister, Georgia Carmichael. However, the lyrics of the song are ambiguous enough to refer either to the state or...

    ", with Hoagy Carmichael
    Hoagy Carmichael
    Howard Hoagland "Hoagy" Carmichael was an American composer, pianist, singer, actor, and bandleader. He is best known for writing "Stardust", "Georgia On My Mind", "The Nearness of You", and "Heart and Soul", four of the most-recorded American songs of all time.Alec Wilder, in his study of the...

     on vocals, Bix Beiderbecke on cornet, recorded on September 15, 1930, in New York and released as Victor 23013
  • "Pickin' My Way", with Carl Kress, recorded January 15, 1932, Brunswick 1282
  • "Feelin' My Way", with Carl Kress, January 17, 1932, Brunswick 1282
  • "Please", with Bing Crosby, recorded September 16, 1932, no. 1 for 6 weeks
  • "Jig Saw Puzzle Blues", Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang's Blue Five, recorded February 28, 1933

External links