Archive for June, 2008

René Mailhes

June 26, 2008

Nicolai Foss

Although I much admire the playing of Stochelo Rosenberg, Moreno, Tchavolo Schmitt et al., I am growing a bit tired of the standard gypsy jazz instrumental set-up — that is, two guitars and a bass, possibly supplemented with a violin or an accordeon. And, yes, Minor Swing, Sweet Georgia Brown, I Can’t Give You Anything …. etc. etc. are surely great melodies … but ..

I guess I like jazz manouche the best when it oversteps the boundaries, as is sometimes the case with Birelli, Angelo Debarre, and Patrick Saussois. There are, of course, also those gypsy players who have never really adhered to the fixed (and tired?) format, such as Christian Escoudé and René Mailhes. Mailhes is, I believe, out of the the famous Malha clan (Gusti Malha) and is today in his 70s. He has done at least three CDs, only one of which (forthcoming in July on French “Iris”) is currently available. Mailhes is a fabulous, melodic player with a strong influence of free jazz. Here is a youtube clip with him, playing his 175.


Kay Prototype?

June 24, 2008

Nicolai Foss

The seller of this guitar says that he “is almost sure” it is a Kay. Perhaps. Anyway, if in fact this is a 1938 Kay (then presumably a prototype), it is amazingly avantgarde for its day (but check that action … !).

What’s This?

June 24, 2008

Nicolai Foss

Ever heard of a Gugino archtop? Me neither. Could it be the same Gugino who holds (well, probably held) this 1930s patent?

Tal and the Youngsters

June 22, 2008

Nicolai Foss

Here (and here for part 2) are John Abercrombie, Larry Carlton, Larry Corryell, and John Scofield, all tuxedoed, paying homage to Tal Farlow. Different styles, indeed! Tal opens with the very low key and chordal style that he developed in his later years. Corryell, well … plays like Larry Corryell. Abercrombie’s solo is characteristically thoughtful. Sco adds some great outside playing, and Carlton’s strat screams. Not exactly coherent, but fun to watch and listen to. And you gotta admire the adaptability of the drummer and the bassist!

Warren Greig

June 21, 2008

Nicolai Foss

Sometime ago I blogged on the great Irish guitarist Louis Stewart. Warren Greig is a fine player whose style is rather reminiscent of Stewart, with a strong nod to Wes and Joe Pass. On this hard-driving clip with Warren in the classic jazz guitar/organ setting he plays a 1949 ES-175. Also be sure to check out the samples on his audio gallery.

Swing Valse

June 16, 2008

Nicolai Foss

I am a great fan of the interwar and wartime swing musette tradition. In particular, I love the waltzes of Tony Murena and I am strongly intrigued by the quirky and brilliant “bebop waltzes” penned by Baro Ferret. Baro also wrote (with Gus Viseur) one of the classics of this repetoire, the beautiful “Swing Valse.” Here are the tabs.

Update: Here is Murena’s “Indifference.” The Bach of Swing Musette!


June 16, 2008

Nicolai Foss

I lived in Paris for 6 months in 2002. One of my fondest memories is witnessing the incredible playing of manouche super-guitarist, Moreno Winterstein in the Bistro St. Eustache (unfortunately, because of neighbour complaints, they don’t do live music anymore). I hadn’t heard Moreno play previously, and remember being completely blown away by his energy and force. Certainly, nobody in le jazz manouche is more technically accomplished than Moreno. Here is a clip with Moreno shredding over a well known tune.

Mirabella Archtops

June 14, 2008

Nicolai Foss

Richard Autenzio draws my attention to the work of Christian Mirabella:

There is a young man in New York called Cristian Mirabella and he is making very fine arch tops and I have to confess that I have got my eye on one of his arch tops. For the real lover like my sef, he makes what I will call a few modern arch top guitars, which surprise, surprise do not have pick ups fitted. What this means is that the guitar is made totally in the intrest of the acoustic sound and not the plugged in sound and his work is beautiful. As with is name. So for all those other lovers of arch tops out there and for your your enjoyment look up Mirabells guitars and see our future.

Here is a recent NYT article on Mirabella. And here is website. Strongly D’Aquisto inspired, but taking that dominant design quite significantly further, as witness the fantastic “Johanna Model.” There is even a D’Aquisto style bass. And check out his link on “cool jazz guitars.” We better not discuss the prices of those beaties 😦

The Maccaferri Internal Resonator Bleg

June 12, 2008

Nicolai Foss

It is well known that the early Selmer-Maccaferri guitars came equipped with an “internal resonator.” Here is a 1970s CSL copy, complete with the resonator box which can be seen through the soundhole. The resonator had a tendency to rattle after some time of playing, and players usually had them removed. Apparently, few Selmer-Maccaferris survive intact with the resonator.

I have not been able to figure out the functioning of the resonator. The stated purpose was to increase volume, but how did the resonator bring this about? What are the underlying acoustic principles? I have been unable to find info on this, but perhaps some O&M readers know?

Eldon Shamblin and Herb

June 9, 2008

Nicolai Foss

Here. Playing “There Will Never Be Another You.” Herb takes care of the main part of the solo work, Eldon throwing in a few bassy licks near the end, illustrating his signature style (i.e., the blend of chords and bass runs). Here is a tribute to Shamblin.