Biblioteca de la Guitarra y Cuerda Pulsada

Biblioteca de la Guitarra y Cuerda Pulsada

Eddie Lang - The Formative Years, 1901-1925

Jazz musicians who live short lives often leave the deepest impressions. There is something about their immutable youth, echoed through the sound of distant recordings, that encapsulates the spirit of jazz. One thinks of Bix and Bubber, Murray and Teschemacher, and Lang and Christian. Of these, guitarist Eddie Lang left the largest recorded testament, spanning jazz, blues and popular music generally.
Whether his guitar was imparting a rich chordal support for other instrumentalists, driving jazz and dance bands with rhythmic propulsion, or providing a sensitive backing for a variety of singers, Lang’s influence was pervasive. Django Reinhardt once said that Eddie Lang helped him to find his own way in music. Like his contemporary Bix Beiderbecke, Lang’s defining role as a musician was acknowledged early on in his career, and has been venerated ever since.
As is often the case with musicians who are prolific, there are gaps in our knowledge. This article attempts to address some of these, with particular attention being paid to Lang’s early career. In the second part of the article the Mound City Blue Blowers’ visit to London in 1925 is discussed in detail, and possible recordings that Lang made during the band’s engagement at the Piccadilly Hotel are outlined and assessed. More generally, Lang’s importance as a guitarist is set in context against the background of the guitar’s role in early jazz and dance music.

Part 1

Part 2

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