Thursday, May 1, 2008

Where Wayne Wright Went Wrong!

You can thank Wayne Wright for getting Les Paul out of retirement over 24 years ago. It was Wayne that approached Les and said, “Hey, I can get us a gig at Fat Tuesdays on Monday Nights” Les told Wayne, that he was feeling some pain from arthritis and he had already retired, so why would he want to play again. Wayne’s answer is classic Wayne Wright “Because you need the therapy and I need the gig!” So, for about two and a half years Wayne Wright played rhythm guitar with Les at Fat Tuesdays.

Joe Pass introduced Wayne and me over 20 years ago, knowing that we both had a zany sense of humor and he told us, you two will be good friends and he was right. You can’t help but like Wayne. This Detroit Native grew up playing the guitar backwards – yeah, he’s a lefty. And that’s where Wayne Wright went wrong. But without all the books that many of us had for forming chords, Wayne learned to play by ear. The 19 hours a day playing must have helped, because he has played with some of the greats, like Tony Bennett, Peggy Lee, Sammy Davis Junior and seven albums with Ruby Braff and George Barnes.

Wayne opened up my ears to Art Tatum’s harmonies and Carl Kress’ wonderful rhythm playing also. Coming from Detroit gave Wayne some opportunities to play with the great Wes Montgomery.

If you are interested in hearing some really great jazz check out the following.

  • Ruby Braff and George Barnes Play Gershwin
  • Ruby Braff and George Barnes Quartet Plays Rogers and Hart

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