Bucky & Marty Workin’ Out

August 22, 2009

Nicolai Foss

It is a sad fact that arguably all the truly major innovators in classical jazz guitar playing — Eddie Lang, Django Reinhardt, Charlie Christian and Wes Montgomery — died much too young. Perhaps only bass players have been hit to the same extent (Jimmy Blanton, Paul Chambers, Scott LaFaro).

Luckily, Les Paul — who as you all know died on August 13 — made it to the age of 94. And there are quite a number of old timers among us who play with gusto and excellence. Case in point: Bucky Pizzarelli and Marty Grosz engaging in an impromptu duet, playing the great Dick McDonough 1934 number, “Stage Fright.” Bucky is 83 and Marty is 79 (and looks 10 years younger). (Apropos, anyone knows of tabs, charts, etc. of “Stage Fright”?).

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5 Responses to “Bucky & Marty Workin’ Out”

  1. Yuri Says:

    I would argue that with deaths of Brown, Navarro and Morgan (great innovators all) the jazz trumpet suffered an equally severe, if not even more devastating blow, from which it didn’t really recover.

    And that’s on top of Beiderbecke and Berigan in the (maybe not chronological, but musical) generation before them.

  2. Nicolai Foss Says:

    Yuri — Excellent point!!! But Armstrong, Gillespie and Davis didn’t die young. And those 3 were the top innovators (i.e., the equivalents of Eddie, Django, Charlie & Wes), weren’t they?

    • Yuri Says:

      True, without these there would be no trumpet in jazz as we know it, but the three I mentioned were just about to take it to the next step of development; the step didn’t happen, and now we find ourselves with the dyed-in-the-wool traditionalist as the standard-bearer for the instrument.

  3. REW Says:

    Have you seen the YouTube video/slide show of McDonough and Carl Kress performing Stage Fright?

  4. Michele Ariodante Says:

    The sheet music for ‘Stage fright’, although not a note-for-note transcription (is an arrangement for one guitar, without chords but has tablatures)is published on page 52 of ‘Masters of the plectrum guitar’ edited by Mel Bay. It should be a reprint of the 1935 edition (I presume the tabs have been added from the editors). Even with a lot of missing stuff the solo line is much similar to the original and fun to play.
    P.S.For the Kress-mcDonough fans: if you’re looking for a real gem, check out the cd ‘Saturday night swing club’ by Memphis Archives: radio transcription from the 1937 and Kress/McDonough play a live version of ‘Chicken a la swing’ backed by a big band. Following, always with big band,other two minutes of pure swing with ‘I know that you know’. If they only had recorded more in that format!


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