Eddie Lang & Lonnie Johnson: Hot Fingers
Pioneers of the Jazz Guitar (Shanachie)
Recorded: New York, October 9, 1929
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
"Hot Fingers" is an appropriate title for this track, as these two ultimate masters of jazz and blues guitar in the 1920s take this member of their remarkable series of duets at a fast pace, with a lively, energetic feel and dancing fingers. This is one of those wonderful recordings where the listener with a good ear appreciates the instrumental mastery and superb musical creation, and comes away with spirits lifted and feet dancing along.
With bright, spangly-sounding strums on his uniquely tuned 12-string guitar (as in another gem from the duet series, "Midnight Call Blues"), Lonnie Johnson starts this track, leading into the catchy, rollicking main theme, played with Johnson's extraordinarily nimble fingers. Eddie Lang provides his usual fine harmonic and rhythmic foundation for Johnson's instrumental acrobatics, in this case a rolling, deep-toned foundation. At several points, the two guitarists jibe so perfectly at the rapid tempo in their respective roles—while improvising through the basic prearranged structure—that they seem to have a mystical connection. This is sparkling stuff.
Reviewer: Dean Alger