Monday, May 18, 2015

Listening to Prestige Part 111: Jimmy Raney

Jimmy Raney double-tracks his guitar on these tracks, using a technique that Les Paul had started to experiment with in the 30s, but had not been able to convince a record label to release a record using the technique until 1949. Interestingly, that meant that Paul was not the first artist to put out a record with multi-tracked instruments--Sidney Bechet did it in 1941.

Outside of the studio pyrotechnics, there doesn't seem to be much to connect the progressive ideas of Jimmy Raney with the more trad-focused licks of Les Paul, but it's not hard to think of them together, if one puts one's mind to it. There's a joy and a brightness in the playing of both guitarists. And, of course, wizard-like technique combined with technical wizardry.

Here again, Raney is joined by Hall Overton, and as with the Teddy Charles sessions, it's a case of the student overtaking the professor (Raney and Charles had both studied with Overton and Juilliard). But not really. Overton was an enigmatic and adventurous musician, and he prods Raney into some very cool things here.

Art Mardigan may be best known as a mainstay of the red hot Detroit jazz scene, working as the
house drummer at the Blue Bird Inn, but he did a lot of work in New York, too, with some major musicians.

I knew Teddy Kotick at the end of his career, when he was working a day job as a mailman in his native Massachusetts, and playing some great jazz with J. R. Monterose in Albany. He had been one
of Charlie Parker's favorite bassists, and was always reliable. He didn't solo much, but he has some moments here, on "Some Other Spring" and "On the Square," and he shines.

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