"Without Eddie Lang the guitar would be no-where near
as advanced as it is today:he was a pioneer"Indeed,
Lang's sophisticated concept of accompaniment and
advanced single string abilities,which were highly
progressive for the 1920s paved the way for countless
jazz players.including Django Reinhardt,Charlie christian
and Tal Farlow.In the eight brief years Lang produced
his most significant recordings from about 1926 to
his untimely death in 1933 he managed to start the
trend that would ultimately result in the development
of modern jazz guitar.
Eddie's ability to play in any musical context everything
from blues and hot jazz to classical music made him
one of the busiest sideman and studio players of the
1920s.He even influenced the kind of guitar that many
players used:the Gibson L-5 .
Its very fair to call Lang the father of jazz guitar.
Who did he have to listen to?He had to develop his
individuality by himself.His sound came from inside
his head.Eddie didn't have anyone to copy.
On occasion Langs's rhythm playing has been criticized,
and he has been unfairly compared to guitarists who
came after him.In 1934 the french jazz critic Hugues
Panassie wrote in a book (The Real Jazz)published by
S&M :"There is no white guitarist in America comparable
to Django.The most famous is Eddie Lang.He has a beautiful
instrumental technique,but swings in a mediocre way and
lacks imagination in his solos."But keep in mind that
Lang lived in the 1920s and had to develope his style
without example .Django,on the other hand had the benefit of Eddie's ground breaking playing.Les Paul adds:
"Django told me joe Venuti and Eddie Lang gave him the
idea for the group The Hot Club Of France.
The accusation that Lang didn't swing is equally
without merit In his autobiography (Jazz Band:My Life in Jazz)
Eddie Lang Born Salvatore Massaro in South Philadephia
on oct 25. 1902.
yours truly Mark Toman