Monday, April 12, 2010

Jazz Appreciation Month: Guitar

cover of Jazz Icons DVD: Wes Montgomery 1965 The earliest jazz ensembles used the banjo and piano for making chords but with the development of electrification, the guitar replaced it in post-War jazz. Inventor-craftsmen with now-famous names like Gibson, Fender, Les Paul and Rickenbacker turned the soft-sounding instrument into one capable of holding its own against trumpets, saxophones, pianos, and drums. The Smithsonian owns many innovative guitars, and has posted pictures of some important and interesting guitars here. For books on developments in guitar-making, use the subject keyword search guitar and history.

Wes Montgomery (left) was an Indianapolis native who lived from 1923-1968. His idol was Charlie Christian, and he is credited with influencing many of today's guitar players, so he is indeed a "central" figure in guitar history. Critics and afficianados alike consistently place him near the top in lists of the greatest jazz guitarists of all time. Between stints in touring ensembles, he played in many of the Indianapolis jazz clubs of his day while also working first shift in a local factory. He died in his hometown, from a heart attack, at age 44, and is buried in New Crown Cemetery. Indianapolis named Wes Montgomery Park in his honor.

Famous early guitarists:
Les Paul
Charlie Christian (right)
Django Reinhardt

Cover of Charlie Christian CD

Guitarists of the 1950s-1960s:
Wes Montgomery
Kenny Burrell (right)
Herb Ellis
Charlie Byrd
Tal Farlow
Bucky Pizzarelli

photo of Kenny Burrell playing guitar

Modern stars of jazz guitar include:
Pat Metheny (right)
George Benson
Al DiMeola
Lee Ritenour

picture of Pat Metheny playing guitar

No comments:

Post a Comment