Les Paul with the GJB (GJB 3/9/86) is a live recording of our 1986 two-night anniversary celebration at the Millpond Taverne. Our featured guests were the Les Paul Trio (with Les Paul , Wayne Wright, and Gary Mazzaroppi) Jane Campedelli, Joel Helleny , and Craig Grant. Born in 1915 as Lester William Polfuss, Les was 71 years old at the time of this recording. He continued performing for another 23 years, passing away on August 12, 2009 at the age of 94. The wonderful ever-wisecracking left-handed Wayne Wright was the rhythm guitarist for Judy Garland, Tony Bennett, Peggy Lee, George Barnes, as well as Les Paul and a host of others; he passed away on May 9, 2008.
Joel Helleny performed with Dick Hyman, Buck Clayton, Roy Eldridge, Frank Wess, Benny Goodman, and many other luminaries. He also played on sound tracks for Woody Allen films, and was a featured soloist on the soundtrack of the 1984 movie The Cotton Club. As Michael Steinman so aptly put it, "he could do it all: purr, shout, cajole, sweet-talk or say the nastiest things, all through his trombone." Joel passed away on 6/20/2009. We miss Joel, Les, and Wayne terribly; this CD is a tribute to their memory.
Just as in the original performance, the CD begins with a rousing number by the GJB and a vocal by Jane. Les Paul is then invited to the bandstand to do a few numbers with his trio, and then the whole band joins them for some spontaneous, un-rehearsed jamming. At the end of the CD you hear Mr. Paul start to tell a story about his days with Gene Autry when suddenly he cuts his finger on the sharp end of a guitar string, leading to a hilarious exchange with Dr. Allan Mermin, who was right there with some band-aids. (See the photo below.) That episode leads Mr. Paul to recall an old song that he could sing and play with three fingers. Some of the material on this recording was originally issued on cassette, and some has not been heard in 23 years. All of it has been digitally re-mastered with more than 79 minutes of music, stories, and laughter. To download a sample track in MP3 format click on "After You've Gone" in the tune list below. The slightly abridged downloadable version features Jane's vocal, the full band, and the Les Paul Trio. There is also a very short downloadable version of "Dark Eyes" by the trio. For a You-Tube photo montage of the session accompanied by another track from the recording, click HERE:
Sweet Georgia Brown
I Had Someone Else (Before I Had You)
Medly by the Les Paul Trio
The Best Things in Life are Free
After You've Gone
Basin Street Blues
There'll Be Some Changes Made
New Orleans Shuffle
Put On Your Old Grey Bonnet
Sailin' Down the Chesapeake
I Want My Rib
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It works best in CD players.