Eddie Lang and Joe Venuti: Early Jazz Guitar

Here’s a video featuring guitarist Eddie Lang with his violin virtuoso sidekick Joe Venuti:

Written By Jim Weaver:

“Eddie Lang was born Salvatore Massaro, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. By 1918, he was playing violin, banjo, and guitar professionally. Called “the first important jazz guitarist”, he was one of the first to develop the single note solo. In addition to doing a large amount of freelance radio and recording work, he was known for his recordings with jazz violinist Joe Venuti, his blues guitar duets with Lonnie Johnson (sometimes under the pseudonym Blind Willie Dunn) and finally as an accompanist for Bing Crosby.

At the urging of Crosby, when he was just 30 years old Lang underwent a tonsillectomy in New York City in 1933 in an attempt to cure a chronically hoarse voice and allow Lang speaking parts in Crosby’s films. He apparently died without regaining consciousness from the surgery. You might recognize this, as Fleetwood Mac covered it in the 60′s.”

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  1. Jim Weaver says:

    Some interesting things to note. Joe Venuti was active in jazz right up until the 80′s and did a few shows with Stephane Grapelli, which were well received. The clarinet player on this song was “the” Jimmy Dorsey. And Eddie’s blues partner, Lonnie Johnson, continued to work right up to the 60′s, touring Europe several times in blues revues. Eddie and Joe were also childhood friends so had it not been for Eddie’s untimely death, the guitar world certainly would have had many years to enjoy his talent. If you would like to see more, Eddie did appear in several movies with Bing Crosby and his fans have placed some on YouTube. Also his great duet with Lonnie “Guitar Blues” is available to view. Check it out.

 
 
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