Every musician and music fan knows the name Les Paul. The Gibson Les Paul is one of the iconic guitars of the last fifty years, especially in rock music.
But what lots of people don’t know is that he was first and foremost a jazz guitarist, and a very good one.
If you’ve never heard this guy play a guitar, whether electric or acoustic, you don’t know what you’re missing. He was easily decades ahead of his time. Speed, dexterity, melody, power, style, subtlety, he had it all.
Ask any big-time guitar player, whether rock, jazz, country, or anything else, and they’ll tell you all about Les Paul. While his name is so well known, his music and legacy is not, and that is a crime.
Not only was he an amazing player, he also invented the solid body electric guitar, multi-track recording, and countless other things related to music performance and recording. See, for example, this list.
If there was a Music Recording Hall of Fame, he’d be the charter member.
The word genius is often misplaced, but not in this case. Les Paul was certainly a genius.
And even at age 94, he still had a weekly gig in New York City, every Monday night.
He will be missed. R.I.P.
Check out one of his anthology recordings some time. You won’t believe what this guy could do with a guitar back in the 40s ad 50s.