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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk chefcraig's Avatar
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    Les Paul Documentary on PBS' "American Masters" 7/11/07

    Link for local listings: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmast.../upcoming.html

    Les Paul: Chasing Sound "American Masters"
    Airdate: 7/11/07 9:00pm
    Among inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, his name comes alphabetically after Louis Pasteur. In the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it follows Parliament-Funkadelic. This singular distinction belongs to Les Paul, whose insatiable curiosity and experiments gave us the musical instrument of the modern era - the solid-body electric guitar - and the predominant studio recording technique - multi-tracking. Audacious and indefatigable at every turn of his career - from small-town Waukesha to Harlem music haunts to Hollywood studios - Paul, at age 92, still holds court every Monday night at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City. AMERICAN MASTERS explores the revolutionary results of his drive to create sounds that had "never been heard on earth" when Les Paul: Chasing Sound premieres Wednesday, July 11 at 9 p.m. (ET) on PBS. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmast...ul_l_stub.html


    PBS airs tribute to Les Paul
    BY JOANNE WEINTRAUB
    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
    Posted July 11 2007

    In a career that began in rural Wisconsin and continues eight decades later at Manhattan's Iridium Jazz Club each Monday night, he's jammed with everyone from Art Tatum and Louis Armstrong to Keith Richards and Eric Clapton.

    And even if he'd never played a note, he'd be a music legend for two inventions: the multitrack recording technique and the solid-body electric guitar.

    Lester Polfuss, better known to the world as Les Paul, is the subject of tonight's exhilarating edition of American Masters.

    If Paul's path proves anything, it's that luck favors those who prepare for it. Throughout his 92 years, he has parlayed his natural talent for music and his gifts as an inventor into an extraordinary career through tireless practice and a series of bold moves.

    Paul was gifted, too, with a mother who believed in him — in his description, a free-spirited atheist and communist — and who encouraged his early musical adventures in Waukesha, Wisc.

    Barely into his teens, as a "curious, rotten little kid," Paul tells an interviewer, he cobbled together an amplifier out of a radio speaker, a telephone, a cinder block and a broom. He even fiddled with his mother's player piano rolls to see what would happen if he punched new holes and covered the old ones with tape.

    At 17, he quit high school to go to Chicago with an older musician named Joe Wolverton. Sunny Joe and Rhubarb Red, as they became known, were heard coast to coast on WLS radio; even more important, the "hillbilly" singer and musician, as Paul styled himself back then, discovered jazz.

    "I was just a young guy that you couldn't hold back," Paul says, clearly savoring the memory. "I was a racehorse.

    "If I want to make a living, I'm going to do my country music, and if I want to play jazz, well, then, I'll make my $5 a week and I'll play jazz with the great ones."

    The greats included Tatum, Armstrong and, most of all, Paul's new hero, jazz guitar master Django Reinhardt. To this day, jazz writer Gary Giddins notes in the film, the wizardly Reinhardt, with his lightning runs and impeccable melodic taste, remains Paul's most important influence.

    At 22, newly arrived in New York, Paul talked his way into an impromptu audition with Fred Waring, who hired him and then scolded him for sneaking away to jam "up in Harlem with all these jazz cats."

    Just five years later, deciding that "Hollywood is where everything was happening," the now-seasoned musician decamped for L.A. and — "Who is on top of the heap out there but Bing Crosby?" — quickly got a job backing the great crooner.

    "He's sort of a Segovia con molto accelerando," Crosby says in one of the biography's many well-chosen film clips, as Paul tears off a dazzling riff on Back Home in Indiana.

    At his commercial peak in the late '40s and early '50s, with vocalist and then-wife Mary Ford, Paul's records were seldom out of the Top 10. The multitrack, meticulously overdubbed sound they pioneered — on numbers such as How High the Moon, Mockingbird Hill and many others — still rings with a blend of exuberance and craft.

    Rock 'n' roll, which Paul himself helped make possible by inventing a revolutionary new guitar, spelled the end of his softer sound, and by the '60s his performing career had declined.

    But his 1976 comeback album with Chet Atkins, the ebullient Chester & Lester, won a Grammy. In 1984, he launched a regular Monday gig with his trio in Manhattan, first at Fat Tuesdays and later at his current spot, the Iridium, where old friends and young stars in the making still come around to sing, play and kibitz with him.

    Filmmakers John Paulson and James Arntz (a Miami Beach resident) celebrate this singular life with a rich assortment of period stills and clips; interviews with Paul, Tony Bennett, Bonnie Raitt, Jeff Beck and many others; and new footage, including a segment revisiting Paul's old Waukesha stomping grounds and several performance clips from his current gig.
    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/features...ures-headlines
    "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
    George Bernard Shaw

  2. #2
    Baluchitherium mistere's Avatar
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    Thanx fer the heads up.

  3. #3
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    Saw It!!

    Enjoyed the many tributes to the Living Legend, as well as his own humor.... still Rockin' in the 90's.... because of all that good clean livin' folks ! !

    The Keith Richards and EVH segments were highlights.... as well as the Sunburst tribute, with "Commmunication Breakdwon" playing in the backround...

    ~~8 U.S.C. § 1182(f)~~

  4. #4
    Atomic Punk chefcraig's Avatar
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    One of the few times in recent memory that upon viewing a program, I actually wanted to purchase the DVD of it.

    The brief Eddie Van Halen segment came as a total surprise.

    Splendid program, highly recommended.
    "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
    George Bernard Shaw

  5. #5
    Good Enough
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    Thanks, Chef. This is a TiVo must, for me. I was fortunate enough to witness Les perfoming at Fat Tuesday's (NYC) when I was 16. My friend's Aunt snuck us into the club. When the show was over people lined up to meet him and get autographs - lots of Les Pauls were signed.

    When it was our turn he spent a while talking to us and really seemed to dig that we were so young, relatively speaking, and interested in his playing. Then he told us we should have come the week before because both Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck showed up and sat in! A true genius and a hell of a nice old guy...
    http://www.myspace.com/pennydreadfulnj

    “…and that’s when I learned that waterskiing and Quaaludes do not mix.”

    - Dewey Cox

  6. #6
    Eruption nitefly5150's Avatar
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    Thank you for posting this, I was able to catch this and wouldhave missed it otherwise

 

 

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