Frank Vignola & Joscho Stephan – “Minor Swing”

By Jim Weaver:
Those who follow AGV posts know that Eddie Lang is one of my favorite guitarists from the 1920’s and early ’30’s, along with Mississippi John Hurt, Skip James, Geeshie Wiley and Lonnie Johnson .  Eddie was an Italian-American from Philadelphia who died from a botched tonsillectomy in 1930.  By the time of his death he had recorded with Louis Armstrong, blues great Lonnie Johnson, pop music diva and movie star Ruth Etting, and crooner Bing Crosby.  It is said that his recordings influenced Django.  Many jazz greats, including Les Paul, George von Eps and Joe Pass, considered Eddie a great innovator if not the “father of modern jazz guitar”.
Turns out that I am only one of thousands of Lang fans.  Eddie’s music has turned up all over the Internet and he now has a webpage   And the Italian city of Monteroduni has sponsored an Eddie Lang festival for years; the festival even has its own Facebook page.  And Philadelphia has its own Eddie Lang day.
Here is a a video of AGV stalwarts Joscho Stephan and Frank Vignola appearing onstage at the 22d Eddie Lang Festival in 2011.  I am not sure of the song’s relationship to Eddie but you can certainly hear some of Eddie’s touch in Joscho’s lead runs.
Some of the commentators say that this performance is just two guitarists showing off and has no musical value.  I personally think that if you got it flaunt it  – as long as you don’t forget the song.  What do you think?

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