Guitarist Michael Harrington was “surprised and shocked” when he learned that he would be receiving a $1,000 CAFE grant to help fund recording sessions celebrating American jazz guitarists of the 1930s.
Harrington, who is a long-time fan of Django Reinhardt – one of the most famous early jazz musicians — credits fellow guitarist Brian Delaney with introducing him to the lesser known American jazz guitarists.
“Even relatively knowledgeable modern guitarists typically have rarely, if ever, heard much of this groundbreaking music,” said Harrington, “because the bulk has languished on rare shellac 78 rpm recordings, mostly owned by record collectors.“
He and Delaney – who is also a composer and founder of the Royal Garden Trio — decided to record their own collection celebrating the beginnings of jazz guitar.
“The idea of recording duets in the early jazz guitar style sprouted from both playing live and listening to lots of early jazz guitar duet recordings from the 1930s — Eddie Lang and Carl Kress, Eddie Lang and Lonnie Johnson, Carl Kress and Dick McDonough,” said Harrington.
He added that due to COVID, the recording process has been slower than they had hoped.
“With our safety and health as the primary concern, we are pre-arranging most of the music remotely so that we can eventually record and work out everything together in the same space. We’re hoping to get most of the recordings finished by fall of 2021.”
The 10-song recording project will include material from a wide-ranging repertoire of both white and Black artists from the dawn of jazz guitar, Harrington said, and will include two original compositions, including the Chelsea-based “Clocktower Stomp.”
“We’re excited to offer “Clocktower Stomp” to Chelsea Area Festivals & Events for use in future event promotion.”
For more information about Chelsea Area Festival and Events visit www.chelseafestivals.com.