One week ago in New York, Jason and I went to see Les Paul perform at the Iridium Jazz Club. Neither of us would normally classify ourselves as jazz fans, but although Les Paul is often called a jazz guitarist, he is so much more than that. His songs are the ones I grew up hearing my dad play (on his 1953 Gibson Les Paul!!), and Les Paul is also rightly considered a father of rock’n’roll because his innovations in the field of electric guitar design are often said to have made rock’n’roll possible.
Plus, he’s 93 years old. I usually think my Aunt Gertie is doing pretty well for 93 by living in her own house and carrying on relatively sensible conversations, but Les Paul is amazing. He’s this frail, ancient-looking little guy who sits up on a stool with the guitar that bears his name and plays two one-hour shows every Monday night, backed by a jazz trio and featuring a celebrity guest (the night we were there, it was Steve Miller). Pretty impressive.
Here’s a photo of Jason meeting him, and a video clip of Les playing “Tennessee Waltz” (If you go on YouTube there are much better video clips of his performances at the Iridium, but I posted the one we took ourselves).