Listening to the music of Lonnie Johnson is like listening to the history of jazz guitar. Despite his reputation of being a world-renowned blues player and singer, Lonnie Johnson was a precursor to the genius of Charlie Christian. His few solo recordings are proof that he could play the guitar like no one before him.The recordings with the also legendary Eddie Lang (aka: “Blind Willie Dunn”) he was the first to play fully developed “jazz lines”. One must have to believe that Charlie Christian heard these sounds and utilized some of it for his own playing. Considering that Christian arguably was the pioneer of “Be-Bop”, Johnson would have to get a lot of attention for his uncanny lines as well. My own view is that the jazz guitar is organized in the following way: Lonnie Johnson: Django Reinhardt: Charlie Christian: Barney Kessel: Johnny Smith:Tal Farlow:Wes Montgomery: etc.
Whatever your personal views, Lonnie Johnson is someone to be admired, enjoyed, and studied.
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Article "Lonnie Johnson"