Song In Blue

Les Paul, Mary Ford

How high the moon? Pretty high


Les Paul, guitar
Mary Ford, vocal

Les, born Lester William Polsfuss in 1915, had a regular Monday night gig in the last years of his life at the Iridium jazz club in Manhattan.

I know it’s an exaggeration, but only a slight one, that EVERY guitarist of any stature at all dropped by at least once to pay homage.

Defining Les is tough.

What was he exactly?

A musician or an inventor?

A pop artist with a country twang or one of the most virtuosic jazz guitarists who ever lived?

If you’ve ever used overdubbing, delay effects, phasing effects, or multitrack recording or even just picked up a solid body guitar, you’re walking down the trail he blazed. As a kid he also made a neck-worn harmonic holder for himself, the design of which is still being used today.

He never learned to read music and had only a few unsuccessful music lessons on the piano as a child.

Interestingly listening to Art Tatum records inspired him massively – to step away from the piano and try his hand at something else.