Happy Birthday, Mr. Polsfuss
Last week contained the 92nd birthday anniversary of Lester Polsfuss. Lester is a musician of some success; as would be expected, his days of topping the charts were many years ago (although he recently released a Grammy Award winning CD.) He was also responsible for many improvements in the design of musical instruments and recording apparatus (The Smithsonian wants his home studio.) In the Nineteen thirties, he played country music by day (see photo above) and jammed with all the top jazz musicians at night. He has performed with Nat Cole, Bing Crosby (#1 hit), Chet Atkins (another Grammy award), Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and many, many guitarists, most of whom will gladly admit that they've stolen freely from his vast array of signature licks.
But Lester's greatest contribution is to Pop Music. His songs were fun. They had outlandish arrangements, were almost novelty tunes at times, but were always founded on a deep, joyous musical understanding. Lester always enjoys meeting with fans and is often found playing at the Iridium, a Jazz club in New York City, as he did Monday. I didn't get the chance to be there, but then I've already got his autograph.
In fact, I've got two of them, but one is on the headstock of one of my guitars: