Eddie Lang (October 25, 1902 – March 26, 1933) was an American jazz guitarist, regarded as the Father of Jazz Guitar. He played a Gibson L-4 and L-5 guitar, providing great influence for many guitarists, including Django Reinhardt.
Lang was born Salvatore Massaro, the son of an Italian-American instrument maker in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At first, he took violin lessons for 11 years. In school he became friends with Joe Venuti, with whom he would work for much of his career. He was playing professionally by about 1918, playing violin, banjo, and guitar. He worked with various bands in the USA's north-east, worked in London (late 1924 to early 1925), then settled in New York City.
Lang was the first important jazz guitarist. He was effectively able to integrate the guitar into 1920s jazz recordings. He played with the bands of Joe Venuti, Adrian Rollini, Roger Wolfe Kahn and Jean Goldkette in addition to doing a large amount of freelance radio and recording work.
On February 4, 1927, Lang featured in the recording of "Singin' the Blues" by Frankie Trumbauer and His Orchestra featuring Bix Beiderbecke on cornet. Lang traded guitar licks while Beiderbecke soloed on cornet, in a landmark jazz recording of the 1920s.
In 1929, he joined Paul Whiteman's Orchestra, and can be seen and heard in the movie The King of Jazz. In 1930, Lang played guitar on the original recording of the jazz and pop standard "Georgia On My Mind", recorded with Hoagy Carmichael and His Orchestra. Joe Venuti and Bix Beiderbecke also played on this recording.
When Bing Crosby left Whiteman, Lang went with Crosby as his accompanist, and can be seen with him in the 1932 movie Big Broadcast. Lang also played under the pseudonym Blind Willie Dunn on a number of blues records with Lonnie Johnson.
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