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George Van Eps


George Van Eps was a quiet legend among jazz guitarists, one who as far back as the 1930s pioneered a harmonically sophisticated chordal/lead style that was eclipsed in influence by the single-string idioms of Charlie Christian and Django Reinhardt. Yet Van Eps, like his brassy colleague Les Paul, also stood apart from them as an iconoclastic inventor, designing a seven-string guitar in the late 1930s that adds an extra bass string. Thus, Van Eps was able to play bass lines simultaneously with chords and lead solos, a jazz equivalent of fingerpicking country guitarists like Merle Travis and Chet Atkins. Van Eps puckishly referred to his style of playing as "lap piano," and his seven-string guitar has been adopted by a select few figures like Howard Alden and Bucky and John Pizzarelli. Van Eps came from a talented musical family; his father Fred was a famous master of the ragtime banjo and a sound engineer, his mother played the piano, and he had three brothers, Bobby, Freddy and John, who were also professional musicians

ARTICLE: TAKE FIVE WITH...

Take Five with Boaz Marva

Read "Take Five with Boaz Marva" reviewed by Boaz Marva

Meet Boaz Marva Boaz Marva is a distinctively accomplished jazz and rock guitarist, vocalist and composer. He plays in DOR SAGI band (who recently recorded an EP with keyboardist Jason Lindner as producer), worked with Amir Segall and Ben Silashi in their project Zzajeerf, gigged with Andreas Toftemark, Elam Friedlander, Naama Gheber, Joni Paladin, Sammy Weissberg, ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Nat "King" Cole: Nat "King" Cole: Hittin’ the Ramp: The Early Years (1936-1943)

Read "Nat "King" Cole: Hittin’ the Ramp: The Early Years (1936-1943)" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Before pianist/vocalist Nat King Cole had a career as a pop crooner—his many hits included “All for You," “The Christmas Song," “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66," “(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons," “Nature Boy" and “Mona Lisa" (the No. 1 song in 1950)—he led a successful jazz trio which featured both his piano playing and ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Bill Frisell: Music IS

Read "Music IS" reviewed by John Kelman

The tradition of solo jazz guitar recordings is a long one, with guitarists like Johnny Smith, Al Viola, George Van Eps, Lenny Breau and Joe Pass demonstrating just how far a mere six (in some cases, seven) strings could be taken on their own as far back as the 1950s. Subsequent guitar soloists like John Abercrombie ...

Steve Herberman, Hristo Vitchev, Rick Stone and Harvey Valdes

Read "Steve Herberman,  Hristo Vitchev, Rick Stone and Harvey Valdes" reviewed by Dom Minasi

Welcome back to Guitarists Rendezvous, our third installment in a series that introduces readers to emerging or established guitarists who fly just under the radar of public recognition. Each will field the same four questions and we've included audio and video so you can sample their music. This installment includes a diverse group ...

NEWS: RECORDING

Recent Listening In Brief…

Recent Listening In Brief…

Frank Zappa (1940-1993), a gifted musician who dipped his toe into jazz, never demonstrated more than a smidgeon of what he knew about the genre. But he left us with the memorable observation, “Jazz isn’t dead. It just smells funny.” A web search shows that lesser wits have adapted Zappa’s line to all kinds of topics ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Howard Alden - Andy Brown: Heavy Artillery

Read "Heavy Artillery" reviewed by Angelo Leonardi

Chi cerca indicazioni sulle nuove tendenze della chitarra jazz può anche cambiare pagina ma se volete deliziarvi con dell'ottimo straight-ahead jazz questo è il disco che fa per voi. La musica sa infatti coniugare perizia tecnica, feeling, gusto melodico, intenso drive e fantasia interpretativa. Protagonista dell'opera è un quartetto guidato da due chitarristi ...

ARTICLE: EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Fred Fried: Core Bacharach

Read "Fred Fried: Core Bacharach" reviewed by Geannine Reid

As a kid in New York, Fred Fried enjoyed everything from early rock and roll to show tunes. He remembers listening to cast albums of Oklahoma, South Pacific and West Side Story. He loved Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue and pretended to conduct the orchestra in front of the record player. From age 12, Fried played clarinet ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Jonathan Kreisberg: ONE

Read "ONE" reviewed by John Kelman

The liner notes may say no overdubs or loops were used, but Jonathan Kreisberg might just as easily have included that “No guitars were harmed in the making of ONE." Beyond work with artists like vibraphonist Joe Locke on Sticks and Strings (Music Eyes, 2007) and organist Dr. Lonnie Smith on Spiral (Palmetto, 2010), the guitarist ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Kenny Poole: Heritage

Read "Heritage" reviewed by Jack Huntley

Kenny Poole was a guitarist's guitarist. He never sought the limelight that others with his talents achieved, but his much admired jazz chops attracted musicians in the know. He performed with such luminaries as Jack McDuff, Tal Farlow, Joe Pass, Howard Alden and Jack Wilkins. Sadly, Poole lost his fight with cancer in 2006. But with ...


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