Personalities | Eddie Lang | Twenties | Jazz & Blues

(Guitar, 1902–33)

Philadelphia native Salvatore Massaro joined the Mound City Blue Blowers in 1924 and by the mid-1920s had become jazz’s first in-demand session guitarist, backing various blues and popular singers. A single-note virtuoso, he was also jazz’s first guitar hero. In 1926, Lang teamed up with high-school pal Joe Venuti for some classic guitar-violin duet sessions that predated Stéphane Grappelli’s work with Django Reinhardt. Lang recorded prolifically during 1927, appearing on commercial sessions and also playing in more jazz-oriented settings with Jean Goldkette, Frankie Trumbauer, Red Nichols and Bix Beiderbecke. In 1928 he teamed up with fellow guitarist Lonnie Johnson for some historic duet recordings and in 1929 joined Paul Whiteman’s Orchestra, which featured a young Bing Crosby. When Crosby left to launch his solo career in 1932, Lang became his full-time accompanist. The guitarist’s career came to an end with his untimely death the following year.

Styles & Forms | Twenties | Jazz & Blues
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Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel


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