Many long time guitar fans will recognize the name Lasse Johansson
as one of the bright young talents on the KICKING MULE Records
label....and highlighted on their Ragtime compilations! Lasse's
most recent outing (he's also featured on Acoustic guitar
Highlights Vol. 5)....is a stunning collection of classic songs
arranged by a master....here are his notes....
Notes about the arrangements on the CD-Lasse Johansson
1. Eddie’s Twister is an Eddie Lang original,
recorded by him in april 1927, the first under his own name. Arthur
Schutt( a fellow member of Red Nichol’s Five Pennies ) is accompaning
him on the piano.
2. King Oliver’s Doctor Jazz has been
recorded by many, but the inspiration for my version comes from Jelly
Roll Morton Red Hot Peppers’ 1926 recording with Jelly Roll himself
singing the chorus.
3. Dead Man Blues is a blues by Jelly
Roll Morton. It is basically a New Orleans funeral tune with a slow and
mournful first part where the band plays as the coffin is being carried
to it’s final resting place, followed by a happier tune to get
everybody in a more cheerful mood forgetting all wordly cares and
troubles. The first part is actually a quotation from a New Orleans
funeral favorite, Flee As A Bird, a spiritual song.
4. Alligator Crawl by Fats Waller, with lyrics
by Andy Razaf, first recorded in 1934. I tune my guitar to dropped
D-tuning for this arrangement, to enable me to get the desired
boogie-woogie effect in the first section.
5. Tears is a Django Reinhardt/Stephane
Grapelly original that has carried on ’til today with new versions,
making it a popular standard.
6. Scott Joplin’s Stoptime Rag is more than
your regular, four section, classic piano ragtime piece. This rag has 7
sections and an appeal, in the original sheet music, that the pianist
should stomp his feet in time and thus get the desired stop time feel.
7. The Man I Love by George Gerswin is a duet,
with me playing both parts. First part is played on my 00-18 Martin and
the second part on my Collings OM2H.
8. Feelin’ My Way was originally a duet with
Eddie Lang and Carl Kress, both listed as composers. Eddie Lang plays
the first two sections while Carl Kress does the third. I have taken
the back-up and combined it with the single string solo part to form a
solo guitar arrangement.
9. Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grapelly recorded Blue Drag
in 1935. I have taken their guitar/violin harmony parts and added the
bassline for this arrangement. As a second section I have attempted the
impossible, trying to capture a glimpse of Django’s improvisational
genius in the form of a fingerstyle solo.
10. Way Down Yonder In New Orleans first
appears in the Broadway musical ”Spices of 1922”. It was later recorded
by many bands in the 20’s but my version comes from the Frankie
Trumbauer adaption, with Bix Beiderbecke on trumpet, from 1927.
11. Visa Från Utanmyra is a swedish
traditional folksong. My arrangement is an attempt to transcribe how
the great swedish jazz pianist Jan Johansson played it in the 60’s,
making jazz versions of swedish folkmusic.
12. All That Meat And No Potatoes by Fats Waller and lyrics by Ed Kirkeby, was recorded in 1936 by Fats Waller & His Rhythm.
13. The idea for arranging Singin’ the Blues comes
from hearing one of Bix Beiderbeckes’ classic 1927 recordings, with
Frankie Trumbauer and his Orchestra. Eddie Lang is playing back-up
guitar on that cut.
14. James Scott’s Ragtime Oriole is a
classical ragtime masterpiece published in 1911. James Scott being one
of the three piano ragtime giants – Scott Joplin and Joe Lamb are
the other two.
15. Dixie Knows by Jelly Roll Morton, is the
last under Melrose Bros. copyright, published in 1930. During this time
Morton’s music was published by another publisher, so Dixie Knows might
have been a piece submitted to Melrose at an earlier date.
16. Basin Streeet Blues is a 1928 song by
Spencer Williams that celebrates the center of New Orleans’ nightlife..
Trombonist/singer Jack Teagarden’s recording made it a hit.
17. Well, I thought I ought to include one original tune. This little ditty, Stuck In A Rut, is the result of my noodling around the guitar neck in the key of E.
18. Church Street Sobbin’ Blues, is a
Louisiana Five song which Eddie Lang, recorded in 1928, using the
pseudonym ”Blind Willie Dunn” that he used for the ”race” recordings
with Lonnie Johnson. However, Lonnie Johnson doesn’t appear on this
cut, Lang is accompanied by Frank Signorelli and Justin Ring.
19. The legendary Orson Welles movie The Third Man had a lead motif that has become a real classic – Harry Lime Theme
by austrian zither player Anton Karas. I’m doing my best to make my
guitar sound like Karas’ zither. Guitar in Dropped D-tuning.
20. This is another duet, once again by George Gershwin – Prelude II – A piano composition with an improvised section in the middle. Both guitars are in Dropped-D tuning.
"My talented Swedish
friend plays and sounds like he's from the French Quarter. I demand an
explanation! Great Tunes, Tone and Touch.".....
plays all those pieces with that typical cadenced ragtime feeling.
Truly a gifted guitarist who honours those legendary musicians.
Henk te Veldhuis
Bridge Guitar Reviews
from VINTAGE GUITAR MAGAZINE
Johansson recorded for Kicking Mule Records many years ago,
and specializes in arranging classic Jazz pieces for fingerpicking
guitar. Here he tackles songs from Jelly Roll Morton, King
Oliver, Scott Joplin, Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, Eddie
Lang, Fats Waller and others. George Gershwin's "the Man I Love"
is played as an overdubbed duet, with two Lasses; conversely, he turns
Carl Kress and Eddie Langs' duet "Feeling My Way" into a solo
fingerpicked arrangement. Challenging stuff, and a welcome return
of a great player.....