Saturday, May 23, 2015

Hank Garland

In the early 2000s I was hosting a music website with live recordings of jazz standards recorded during jam sessions at a cafe called the Crow. Youtube and Spotify did not exist yet and the internet was not saturated with free music. So those recordings went all over the world and lots of people commented on them. I remember being blown away when I saw a comment by Hank Garland in which he said he liked our version of "All the Things You Are" and that it reminded him of his own take. Hank Garland? THE Hank Garland? Yes, it was him all right. Man, was I proud. It must have been just a few years before he died.

Of course you guys know his classic jazz guitar album "Jazz Winds from a New Direction" (1961). And if you don't, you should. Here's a full playlist. Sadly, the album was released in the year of his near-fatal auto accident that was to derail his musical career.

Hank was an amazingly versatile guitarist that was equally at home in country, rockabilly and jazz. He was the number one studio guitarist in Nashville. His guitar work can be heard on countless country and rock hits. His Nashville session logbook at the time reads like a "Who's Who" of the stars of country music. He worked with Elvis from 1958 until his career was tragically cut short by the car accident in 1961 that left him unable to work as a professional guitarist. For over 40 years he lived a quiet life after that, away from music and the studios. He died in 2004. 

Here's a playlist from his album "Velvet Guitar." It was recorded a year earlier in 1960.