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Les Paul Still Doin’ His Thing

All fans of music would enjoy the pleasure of hearing an innovator like Les Paul. With a weekly Monday night gig at the Iridium there is no reason anyone should miss this musical icon. Turning ninety years old this June, Les still has that sweet sound that made him famous. The first selection of the evening was the classic All of Me, sung by the other guitarist on the gig, Lou Pallo. This was followed by the rhythmically complex Brazil and a compelling version of Up a Lazy River. On these numbers Les proved why he is such a draw, making everything seem so simple, yet sound so good.

Dark Town Strutter’s Ball featured the piano work of John Colliani, who ripped through the chord changes like he was playing a piano roll. There was a definite New Orleans’ feel to his playing. Les introduced Tennessee Waltz by saying they were going to change it from the way it was done originally. It started off with a slow introduction and moved into an uptempo piece that featured Les getting extensive use out of his whammy bar.

Les than asked the bass player, Leon Tate to show him what he had. Leon was filling in for Nikki Parrot. He chose a number that is based on the chord changes of I Got Rhythm. Quite talented and charismatic, Leon sang "Me o my (I got myself a problem, and the problem is you)" and played catchy bass lines along the way. Les was quite impressed but comically commented afterward, "I thought you were going to play a bass solo." He then asked Leon to play and sing the notes to the song. Leon did so unaccompanied, moving the audience with his ability to sing and play them simultaneously.

Guitarist Lou Pallo then sang Baby Won’t You Please Come Home. For comic relief Les Paul responded to the lyrics by singing about a fictitious relationship between him and Lou. Les was in quite a jovial mood and throughout the evening added a good dose of humor. Lou’s vocals were also featured on the classic Embraceable You. Meanwhile, Les was bending notes in the high frets of his instrument.

Bill Gravitt, a gentleman from Texas, was called up from the audience to play his banjo on several tunes, including Shake, Rattle and Roll. A fun-loving atmosphere characterized this section of the evening. The quartet closed out the show with a series of jazz standards, including Blue Skies, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, How High the Moon, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, and Sweet Georgia Brown. These tunes were particularly enjoyable as the band was in full swing. It is a treat to see one of the innovator’s still doin’ his thing and having a hell of a good time doing it.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Les Paul
  • Concert Date: 4/25/2005
  • Subtitle: Monday Nights at the Iridium
  • Venue: Iridium
  • City State Country: New York, New York, USA
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