Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lonnie Johnson - Playing with the Strings (1925-32)

Lonnie Johnson, prácticamente el inventor de los bendings en la guitarra, una influencia decisiva sobre maestros como T-Bone Walker, Django Reinhart o B.B. King, por citar sólo tres nombres indispensables. En otra ocasión daremos un repaso más detenido a la formidable carrera de este cantante de blues (y violinista, y más cosas) pero sobre todo magistral guitarrista. De momento, y para abrir boca, valga esta antología, remasterizada por John RT Davies, junto a algunos de los más ilustres grupos y músicos de los años 20 y 30.
Verdaderamente, están casi todos: King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Clarence Williams, Eddie Lang, Hoagy Carmichael, Johnny Dodds, Duke Ellington...
-Jay Bee Rodríguez


From the 1920s to the 1960s, guitarist Lonnie Johnson broke new ground for jazz and blues guitar, performing stunning displays of
six-string virtuosity on recordings with Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Kid Ory, and on numerous solo efforts. But, perhaps because he was so versatile--jumping between hundreds of Delta blues and hot-jazz studio sessions--he's never received his due accolades for being one of the great guitar pioneers. Playing with the Strings captures Johnson's earliest output, from the 1925 recordings with Charlton Creath's Jazz-O-Maniacs to the stunning 1932 solo 78 he recorded featuring "I'm Nuts About That Gal" and "Racketeers Blues." JSP's compilation shows how, in just seven years, Johnson went from playing in Louis Armstrong's Hot Five to working with Duke Ellington to performing in one of the first interracial studio sessions with Eddie Lang, King Oliver, and Hoagy Carmichael (all performing as Blind Willie Dunn's Gin Bottle Four). Throughout, Johnson is in top form on guitar, picking single-note lines in a fashion that would anticipate future jazz guitar sounds. We can hear Johnson playing other instruments, too--kazoo, violin, and banjo--but his guitar mastery steals the show. JSP's transfers of these old 78s are at times spotty, but it's still a great collection of classic tunes. ~ Jason Verlinde

Digitally remastered by John R.T. Davies.

Recording information: Chicago, IL (01/20/1926-02/07/1941); Memphis, TN (01/20/1926-02/07/1941); New York, NY (01/20/1926-02/07/1941); St. Louis, MO (01/20/1926-02/07/1941).

Personnel includes: Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Eddie Lang, King Oliver, Clarence Williams, Johnny Hodges, Kid Ory.



1. Won't Don't Blues (St.Louis, MO, Nov. 2, 1925) - 3:07
Charlton Creath's Jazz-O-Maniacs
Banjo - Pete Petterson
Clarinet, Saxophone [Alto] - Horace Eubanks
Piano - Cranston Hamilton
Saxophone [Alto] - Sam Long
Saxophone [Tenor] - William Rollins
Trumpet - Leonard Davis
Violin - Lonnie Johnson
02. Mr. Johnson's Blues (St.Louis, MO, November 4, 1925) - 2:42
Piano - John Arnold Vocals - Lonnie Johnson
03. Falling Rain Blues (St.Louis, MO, November 4, 1925) - 3:05
Piano - John Arnold Violin, Vocals - Lonnie Johnson
04. Now Good Blues (New York, January 20, 1926) - 2:37
05. Newport Blues (New York, January 20, 1926) - 2:38
James 'Steady Roll' Johnson
Banjo - Lonnie Johnson
Piano - De Louise Soarcy
Vocals, Violin - James Johnson
06. Nile Of Genago (New York, January 20, 1926) - 2:46
Guitar - James 'Steady Roll' Johnson (older brother of Lonnie Johnson)
07. To Do This You Gotta Know How (New York, Jan 20, 1926) - 3:10
Guitar - Lonnie Johnson
08. Four Hands Are Better Than Two (New York, Jan 20, 1926) - 3:27
Guitar - Lazy Harris
Piano - John Erby


09. I'm Not Rough (Chicago, December 10, 1927) - 3:04
10. Hotter Than That (Chicago, December 13, 1927) - 3:04
11. Savoy Blues (Chicago, December 13, 1927) - 3:31
Louis Armstrong And His Hot Five
Guitar - Lonnie Johnson
Banjo - Johnny St. Cyr
Piano - Lil Armstrong
Trombone - Kid Ory
Vocals, Trumpet - Louis Armstrong
12. Playing With The Strings (Memphis, Tenn, 21.02.1928) - 2:59
13. Stompin' 'Em Along Slow (Memphis, Tenn, 21.02.1928) - 2:55
Guitar - Lonnie Johnson
14. The Moochie (New York, October 1, 1928) - 3:20
15. Move Over (New York, October 1, 1928) - 3:10
16. Hot And Bothered (New York, October 1, 1928) - 3:23
Duke Ellington And His Orchestra
Guitar - Lonnie Johnson
Banjo - Fred Guy
Clarinet, Saxophone [Alto] - Johnny Hodges
Clarinet, Saxophone [Alto], Saxophone [Bariton] - Harry Carney
Clarinet, Saxophone [Tenor] - Barney Bigard
Drums - Sonny Greer
Piano, Leader - Duke Ellington
Saxophone [Bariton] - Wellman Braud
Trombone - Joe Nanton
Trumpet - Arthur Whetsol , Bubber Miley
Violin - Baby Cox , The Palmer Brother
17. Paducah (New York, October 13, 1928) - 3:00
18. Star Dust (New York, October 13, 1928) - 3:01
The Chocolate Dandies
Guitar - Lonnie Johnson
Banjo - Dave Wilborn
Bass - Escudero
Clarinet - Don Redman , George Thomas , Milton Senior , Prince Robinson
Drums - Cuba Austin
Leader - Don Redman
Piano - Todd Rhodes
Saxophone [Alto] - Don Redman , Milton Senior
Saxophone [Tenor] - George Thomas , Prince Robinson
Trombone - Claude Jones
Trumpet - John Nesbit , Langston Curl
Vocals - Dave Wilborn , Don Redman , George Thomas

19. Jet Black Blues (New York 30.04.1929) - 3:05
20. Blue Blood Blues (New York 30.04.1929) - 3:02
The Blind Willi Dunn's Gin Bottle Four
Cornet - Joe "King" Oliver
Drums - Hoagy Carmichael
Guitar - Lonnie Johnson, Eddie Lang
Piano - J.C. Johnson
Vocals [Scat] - Hoagy Carmichael
21. Sitting On The Top Of The World (New York, Sep 9, 1930) - 3:06
22. Kansas City Man Blues (New York, September 9, 1930) - 2:58
Clarence Williams' Jug Band
Guitar - Lonnie Johnson
Clarinet - Charlie
Cornet - Ed Allen
Jug - Clarence Williams
Piano - Charlie
Saxophone [Tenor] - Charlie
Trombone - Charlie
23. I'm Nuts About That Gal (New York, Aug 12, 1932) - 3:14
24. Racketeers Blues (New York, August 12, 1932) - 3:12
Guitar, Vocals - Lonnie Johnson

Hot Jazz and cool Blues

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