“Early Jazz and Swing Songs for Guitar”

September 10, 2007

Nicolai Foss

David Hamburger has put together this nice and inexpensive little collection of highly playable classical songs (with lyrics), mostly written prior to the Swing Era. The book includes St. James Infirmary, T’Ain’t Nobody’s Business if I Do, St.Louis Blues, Royal Garden Blues, Ballin’ the Jack (unknown to me but a funny piece), I Ain’t Got Nobody, Hindustan (a very pretty simple melody), Avalon, Poor Butterfly, After You’ve Gone, Rose Room (the prettiest melody of them all), Look for the Silver Lining, Indiana (I realized I had gotten Indiana wrong — arrrrrghh!), Limehouse Blues, and the seldomly played Till the Clouds Roll By. The songs are in both notation and tabs.

If you are into the Hot Club repetoire, and early jazz in general, this collection is indispensable. However, more modernist players should also benefit (after all, Joe Pass and Herb Ellis did Look for the Silver Lining, Barney Kessel has done Indiana and Poor Butterfly, Kenny Burrell did St. Louis Blues, etc.).

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