GEORGE VAN EPS RARE MONO RECORDINGS; Impossible to find
the guitar of ... George Van Eps
Jump presents The Guitar Of George Van Eps Jump JA-1, 1949. Orange label. Recorded in Hollywood
The is a RARE recording of guitar legend George Van Eps on Jump Records. Its the real deal. While the cover binding is torn, but the discs are in VG+ condition
George Van Eps is perhaps best known as the guitarist who pioneered the seven-string guitar which became his trademark, but his contribution to the art of jazz guitar was both important in itself, and one with a far reaching influence. He became a regular on the jazz and big band scene in the Thirties. His employers included band-leaders Benny Goodman, Ray Noble, Fats Waller and the Dorsey brothers, and he also played and recorded with small groups led by Adrian Rollini and Red Norvo. Much of his work, however, was done in the recording studios, firstly for radio in New York, and later in the film and recording studios of California, where he eventually settled in the late Thirties.
He had the Epiphone guitar company build his first seven-string guitar in 1938, adding an additional low 'A' string which permitted him to play extra bass lines below his chords, a development which greatly enhanced the solo possibilities of the guitar. The expanded range and richer textures of the instrument, which he referred to as his "lap piano", allowed him to make even more orchestral use of his subtle and inventive harmonic imagination.
Van Eps remained a player of great distinction, and was regarded with veneration by his fellow guitarists, but did not make as significant a reputation with the general public as he might have done had he not chosen to pursue the relative obscurity -- and security -- of the studio as his principal workplace, both as a player and as a recording engineer (he was fascinated by minature engineering as well, having studied watchmaking as a youngster). He spent much of the ensuing decades working in that environment, but his direct influence was felt by a number of important younger practitioners of the instrument. Several of them became his pupils and adopted the seven-string guitar, including Ron Eschete, Howard Alden and Bucky Pizzarelli.
He surfaced at times to play intermittent gigs and make occasional records, including now rare and much sought after albums for Columbia and Capitol and Jump, like this one.
- Once in a While J103-5
- Tea for Two J102-5
- Kay's Fntasy J104-5
- I wrote it for Jo J101-6
Complete liner notes Jump JA-1
The Van Eps Guitar
by Mel Blackburn <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
One of the highest compliments that a musician can offer in criticism of the artistry of another musician is that "he finds a lot of music in his instrument." This comment had coupled George Van Eps and his guitar regularly and frequently through the past several years so it was decided to look into the phenomenon.
Van Eps, it appears, is in his middle 30's, of medium stature and retains - happily enough - a rather becoming modesty. Back of him are some five generations of serious musicians, jewelers and watchmakers from Amsterdam. Sure enough, George was schooled in watchmaking but does not practice the profession other than in his hobby of building model steam locomotives which requires the precise skills of fine watch manufacture.
George, starting in New York some 20 years ago, is a graduate of the Freddie Martin, Benny Goodman, Ray Noble, et al bands. Since World War II he's been fortunate in assisting on a full-time basis Peggy Lee, Jo Stafford, Dick Haymes and others with their radio shows and records.
A reason for his being able to "find notes on the guitar that just aren't there," to quote one of his impressed students, is that around 1938 Van Eps decided he wasn't happy with the conventional six string Spanish guitar. So, being of an inventive turn of mind, George adapted an ancient Grecian idea by making the fingerboard one half inch wider and adding an A string below the E. The Van Eps guitar, then, has a more potent range, permitting the performance of treble, i.e., melody and harmony, all while playing bass. Incidentally, this is the first structural modification of the instrument since 1790 when a German named Otto greatly augmented the guitar's power by increasing the strings to six, one more than the five of the Arabian EL AUD.
When the jump people learned that there were no Van Eps solos on wax, they couldn't contain their enthusiasm any longer. Finally, in order to have a little peace around his establishment he consented to this recording date for Jump - a first album for both.
George was given carte blanche in selecting the tunes. We are favored to present two of his original compositions. "I Wrote It For Jo" was written in 1942 for his wife. Eddie Miller gets credit for the title. Note the simple melody and the abundance of rich harmonics. The concluding 12 - 16 bars are flat-foot, a music style preferred by Mrs. V.E. The other original is "Kay's Fantasy" done in 1949 for his 11-year-old daughter. We think it is sprightly, especially the drum effect which serves as an opening and a closing of the piece.
"Once In A While" and "Tea For Two" are old friends with distinctive personalities. George found these particularly engaging the day he mirrored their shining faces for us at the studio.
All in all we are confident you will enjoy this experience in listening to a "musician's musician" as much as we enjoy bringing him to you!
Jack Ryan plays bass on Tea For Two and I Wrote It For Jo while Phil Stevens is on Kay's Fantasy and Once In A While. Nick Fatool is on traps on all four sides.
Cover by Wayne Smith
Photograph by Howard
Please contact me with any questions about the item.
VERY GOOD PLUS (VG+) :...Record has noticeable surface marks and/or a scratch or 2 but no major imperfections (warp, dents or deep gashes). Still will display some gloss. Label can show some wear and some noticeable imperfections, but no major wear. Record wil play with some very slight surface noise, but nothing that will impede and/or distract too much from the overall sound.
Buyer must pay with in 3 days of the close of the auction. Will be sent without insurance unless you specifiy that you want it and will pay for it. Paypal is preferred. If you pay by check I will wait for it to clear before I mail. Foreign buyers are OK as long as you are willing to pay for additional shipping. Again, funds must clear before I ship. No Nigerian or Chinese bidders please. Thank you.
Satisfaction is guaranteed. The record has been photographed and described to the best of my ability, but have not been played to check for skips or scratches. If the items are not as described please put the record back in the box and send it back. When the package arrives I will send you a refund for the price of the record, less shipping.
Shipping is $5.47 in the continental US, International shipping depends on location.