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Steel Guitar Jazz

Buddie Emmons

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Album Review

Buddy Emmons wasn't the first musician to be featured playing a pedal steel guitar in a jazz setting, but it is unlikely that anyone else recorded an entire date playing one prior to this 1963 session. Although both he and the instrument are indelibly associated with country music, Emmons makes it work for several reasons. He's surrounded by some top players, including Bobby Scott, Jerome Richardson, Art Davis, and Charlie Persip; he also interacts with the band rather than overdoing the special effects available to him, especially the horn-like sounds obtained from his use of the slide. Emmons also chose an intriguing mix of material. Obvious highlights are the loping treatment of "Where or When," featuring Richardson's delicious soprano sax trading off with the leader, and Emmons' hot playing of "(Back Home Again In) Indiana." Equally rewarding are the jazz classics: Ray Brown's soulful "Gravy Waltz," an intricate romp through Sonny Rollins' "Oleo," and Horace Silver's toe-tapping "The Preacher." This was pretty much a one-time affair for Emmons, who returned to country music, though he did record some additional jazz with guitarist Lenny Breau during the 1970s. Although the instrument never really caught on in jazz, this highly recommended album, which was finally reissued on CD in 2003, is well worth checking out.

Customer Reviews

a novelty session?

Buddy played a tremendous amount of jazz and he could do it as well as the beboppers themselves. For those of you curious, dig around a little and you'll see what I'm talking about. Don't listen to the previous review. Buddy was a master and he could play anything.

A slightly obscure session for those who like variety

Buddie Emmons gets very jazzy while still sounding a little country. It's nice sometimes to hear jazz w/ different instrumentation. I wish he would have continued in jazz and develped a style further separated from country that would show just what a unique and versatile instrument the steel guitar is. Emmons is one of the best steel guitarists and demonstrates plenty of technique and skill here. All the musicians solo and sound surprisingly inspired for what is essentially a novelty session.

Steel Guitar Jazz

A historic session. Also - just to me, it captures that calibre of musicians working the various studio scenes of the U.S.A. early ‘60s from Detroit to L.A. to New Orleans to Nashville. Making hit records during the day, hitting jazz jams at night or when they could. Richardson & Emmons probably knew each other from the day gig. LOL

Biography

Born: January 27, 1937 in Mishawaka, IN

Genre: Country

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Buddy Emmons earned a place among Nashville's elite as one of the finest steel guitar players in the business. Born in Mishawaka, IN, he first fell in love with the instrument at age 11 when he received a six-string lap steel guitar as a gift. As a teen, he enrolled at the Hawaiian Conservatory of Music in South Bend, IN, and began playing professionally in Calumet City and Chicago at age 16. In 1956, Emmons went to Detroit to fill in for Walter Haynes during a performance with Little Jimmy Dickens;...
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Steel Guitar Jazz, Buddie Emmons
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