A year after Les Paul's death, Jeff Beck saluted the guitar pioneer by staging a rousing tribute show to the great man at Paul’s regular stomping ground, the Iridium Jazz Club. Backed by his current running mates the Imelda May Band, Beck enlisted some heavy-hitters for help – Brian Setzer comes in for the rock & roll, Trombone Shorty for the jazz, Gary U.S. Bonds sings some oldies – all the better to get the party started. Despite its title, Rock 'N' Roll Party skews ever so slightly to the old-fashioned swing and standards that were Paul's specialty and with the notable exception of tightly wound versions of “The Train Kept A Rollin’” and “Twenty Flight Rock,” even the rockers feel closer to jump blues than rockabilly…
This is classic material. 4 CD's loaded with one song after another of magic guitar playing. The sound is terrific and Mary Ford adds great vocals to many of the cuts although there are also many instrumentals. The years covered here are from 1948 - 1957 and includes some portions of the Les Paul Radio Show with songs and dialogue between Les and Mary. In addition to being a guitar genius, Les Paul was also an inventor who developed a variety of techniques still used today (such as multi-tracking) and they are on display in this set of music. Wonderful music, great sound, terrific vocals. This is music made in a different era before rock took over the airwaves. There is nothing in your face about it and there is a 40's feel to the pop tunes but great music stands the test of time and this certainly qualifies. Highly recommended.
It's virtually impossible to imagine modern music without the contributions of Les Paul. Not only was he a brilliant jazz guitarist with no fear of pop or country, he literally laid the framework for how a good electric guitar should be made when he designed his famous Les Paul model for Gibson Guitars. Add in the fact that he single-handedly invented multi-track recording with the release of "Lover" in 1948, and his influence is pervasive, if not always acknowledged, even in today's 21st century hip-hop world. This delightful collection brings together rare 16" radio transcription discs Paul did in 1944 and 1945, shortly after he was discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces. Although billed as a trio, the band here is really a quartet, with Paul on lead guitar, Cal Gooden, Jr. on rhythm guitar, Clint Nordquist on upright bass, and probably Bob Armstrong on piano (Paul used several piano players during this time period, but Armstrong is the most likely candidate for these sessions).
Steve Miller, Kirk Hammett, Warren Haynes, Little Steven.. those were some of the heavy cats in the crowd that night in New York at The Iridium as Jeff Beck and friends raucously saluted Les Paul with a tribute. Sporting a fat hollow-body Les Paul, Beck and the band appear in period attire like they were headed to a bowling alley in the Leave It To Beaver-era. They perform all covers of tracks originally featuring Les Paul or from the original rock n' roll period.
More than just a roundup of the Les Paul Trio's Decca recordings – which by themselves wouldn't add up to a single CD, let alone two – this 50-track set is a bewilderingly diverse compendium of Paul's adventures in show business prior to his string of hits with Mary Ford. In doing so, MCA has made amends for at least four decades of neglect, unearthing ten previously unreleased tracks as part of the deal.
Although from a historical standpoint Les Paul is perhaps best remembered for his invention of the solid-bodied electric guitar and his groundbreaking efforts in multi-tracking, this should not overshadow his considerable talent as a performer and virtuoso master of the guitar. Originally highly influenced by Django Reinhardt, by the time these recordings were made, Les Paul had developed a unique style that has gone on to influence countless others…
Les Paul had such a staggeringly huge influence over the way American popular music sounds today that many tend to overlook his significant impact upon the jazz world. Before his attention was diverted toward recording multi-layered hits for the pop market, he made his name as a brilliant jazz guitarist whose exposure on coast-to-coast radio programs guaranteed a wide audience of susceptible young musicians.