Thursday, May 1, 2008

Jazz Guitarists Should All Know Eddie Durham

I had the privilege of creating a website for a premier member of the jazz world, who passed away over 21 years ago. This guitarist's name should be much better known than he already is. The reason I say that is not because, I worked on the website (although, that might enter into it!) but seriously, it's because Eddie Durham was the first guitarist to play amplified guitar on record.

Eddie Durham played that acoustic guitar on "Hittin The Bottle" with the Jimmie Lunceford orchestra in 1935. He was also arranger for some all women's orchestras and helped mentor them: The International Sweethearts of Rhythm, The Darlings of Swing, etc. He also brought pianist Basie into the Moten Orchestra (which was hard to do because Moten was the piano player!) and when Moten died, Basie became the leader and - as they say - the rest is history! So I guess you could say he was Basie's mentor too!

Besides his pioneering in the presentation of sound, he actually mentored Charlie Christian as a guitarist - now that's saying something! Eddie is best remembered as an arranger - if you've heard "In the Mood" it was his song, which he also arranged and Glen Miller made famous. Part of the Count Basie Band and Jimmy Lunceford's Orchestra, Eddie mostly played trombone, and arranged, but he also showed off his brilliant solo work on guitar on occasion. Please check out more on Eddie Durham at the following:

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