|Where Dead Voices Gather|
Along with Lonnie Johnson, Eddie Lang was a true pioneer of the guitar, playing mostly studio jazz sessions for other people in the early days of recorded music (1920s onward). In fact, his recorded duets with Johnson are considered to be the first important interracial partnership in jazz. Possibly due to the expected adverse reaction by the public to a black man and a white man working as equals, Lang’s – or rather, Massaro’s name appeared as “Blind Willie Dunn” on the recordings with Lonnie Johnson! (Listen to one of their duet here, "Guitar Blues.")
|Detail from Eddie Lang's memorial in Yeadon, PA's Holy Cross Cemetery|
|Eddie Lang (RedHotJazz.com)|
Lang altered the course of music in several ways. Remember I mentioned Django’s Quintette du Hot Club de France? The band’s main attraction was the dueling interplay between Django’s guitar and Grappelli’s wild gypsy violin (listen here). So here’s an interesting bit of trivia: Eddie Lang actually originated the idea of the jazz guitar and violin combo with his boyhood friend Joe Venuti. They recorded together as the Joe Venuti-Eddie Lang Blue Five. (Click here to listen to one of their compositions, "Four String Joe," recorded in 1927.) After Lang’s death in 1933, Venuti went on to become the first jazz master of the violin, and Django and Grappelli formed the Hot Club of France. Eddie Lang, i.e. Salvatore Massaro, died in 1933, due to bleeding complications following a routine tonsillectomy.
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