Remembering Les Paul and Rashied Ali

From today’s New York Times:
Les Paul, Guitar Innovator, Dies at 94
By John Pareles

In 1940 or 1941 — the exact date is unknown — Mr. Paul made his guitar breakthrough. Seeking to create electronically sustained notes on the guitar, he attached strings and two pickups to a wooden board with a guitar neck. “The log,” as he called it, was probably the first solid-body electric guitar and became the most influential one. “You could go out and eat and come back and the note would still be sounding,” Mr. Paul once said.

The odd-looking instrument drew derision when he first played it in public, so he hid the works inside a conventional-looking guitar. But the log was a conceptual turning point. With no acoustic resonance of its own, it was designed to generate an electronic signal that could be amplified and processed — the beginning of a sonic transformation of the world’s music.

Paul died today, after a bout with pneumonia, in White Plains, New York.

Philadelphia-born jazz drummer Rashied Ali, a veteran of sessions by John and Alice Coltrane, Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp, Pharoah Sanders, and the leader of his own Rashied Ali Quintet, died yesterday at the age of 74.

Ali and Ponderosa Stomp fave James Blood Ulmer worked together in the groups New York Art Quartet and Phalanx. Go here to read a great interview from Jazz Weekly.

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