If ever there was a player who deserves to be venerated as a true living blues guitar maestro, here is the guy. He pulls off razzle-dazzle stuff that virtually nobody else can muster.
If ever you hear people say that the old blues are crude and primitive, let them hear some of the best of the best, the intricate ragtime guitar pickers of the golden era, like Blind Blake, Blind Boy Fuller, or amazing jazzy blues guitar solo-stylists like Lonnie Johnson. Almost every blues fan in the early stages asked the perennial question when hearing these string giants, “Yeah, but who is the other guy playing with him?” Of course, there was no “other guy.” Those mind-boggling “muscianers” were brilliant super virtuosos, en par with the best musicians of all times in any genre. They played such intricate and complicated fingerpicking with a walking bass beat on the top strings and snazzy solo lines on the treble strings while miraculously playing melody in the middle that it sounded like a string ensemble. Most guitarists today just marvel at their breathtaking demigod skills and even those daring mortals who attempt to emulate those maestros can spend a lifetime working at it and just get “pretty good” – but there are a few people on the planet who come close to mastering the styles of those geniuses of bygone days.
Foremost among them is a diminutive guy in Pennsylvania who is really an acoustic guitar monster, the biggest meanest of them all, the Sauroposeidon of the acoustic blues guitar. They failed to include him in the Rolling Stone Top 100 best guitarist list, but don’t let that fool you. It shows you what they know. Ari Eisinger was left off because only he plays old, archaic, unpopular music.
Close your eyes and listen to Pennsylvania bluesman Ari Eisinger play and sing and you will enjoy a thoroughly rewarding musical experience. You will believe unquestionably that he is the walking reincarnate of the old time ragtime pickers. He plays with such dazzling, seemingly effortless mastery, feeling every nuance and inflection while effortlessly whipping out the most complicated fingerpicking patterns. You will think there are three people playing and he not only hits every note, he plays so beautifully, so heartfelt and stunningly, all you can do is gasp for air. Realistically, within all reason and without doubt, Ari Eisinger gets as close to perfection as any player on the planet when it comes to mastering the old ragtime & country blues style.
"Lonnie Johnson was the father of all the early blues guitarists. Everyone listened to him. He played and sang like a minister, with a very spiritualfeeling that went right through me and that I could immediately relate to and understand... Lonnie would play with people from other musical styles like jazz and gospel, which inspired me to stretch as a player." - B.B. King
Lonnie Johnson pioneered the single-string solo guitar styles that we are accustomed to hearing today in rock, blues and jazz music. He played with blues and jazz greats including Texas Alexander, Duke Ellingon, Louie Armstrong and Bessie Smith, and used the guitar as a solo instrument in jazz bands years before Charlie Christian. His recorded blues and jazz solos, including his famous duets with the early jazz guitarist Eddie Lang, are exemplary both for their incredibly beautiful guitar tone and for their sheer, jaw-dropping virtuosity. His To Do This You Got To Know How remains one of the most amazing guitar solos ever recorded.
Although he was influential beyond measure, his reputation has lately taken a back seat to more famous blues players whose influence is often exaggerated as much as Johnson's is underestimated.
In this double DVD, the first devoted in its entirety to the guitar style of Lonnie Johnson, Ari Eisinger explores Lonnie Johnson's blues style in detail, presenting stylistic hallmarks of Johnson's playing including a discussion of left hand fingerings, use of diminished chords and Lonnie's blues playing in the Key of D. Ari teaches eight guitar breaks from some of Lonnie's best tunes. These include his instrumental masterpiece To Do This You Got To Know How, his jazzy Uncle Ned Don't Use Your Head, his evocative Woke Up With the Blues In My Fingers and I'm So Tired Of Living All Alone, Lonnie's version of the song Skip James recorded as I'm So Glad.
A detailed tab/music booklet is included as a PDF file on each DVD. As well, the original old recordings of all the tunes are included.
167 minutes - Level 3 - Detailed tab/music PDF file on the DVD
Review: Another winner! A great introduction to the music of Lonnie Johnson by an experienced instructor. Patient teaching, including close up of both hands as well as step by step breakdown make this another winner from Stefan Grossmans' productions. Over the years the camera work, lighting and set have improved nicely. For intermediate players it is challenging. Ari is an experienced teacher who takes his students step by step through the more challenging areas. - Peter Hyatt/Amazon Customer Review
Review: Excellent Instruction and Another Gem from the Stefan Grossman Catalog. If you're a fan of Lonnie Johnson's guitar work, this double disc set is sure not to disappoint. Great split screens, alt. tuning help and insight, walkthroughs on a ton of scale work and chord/solo positioning as well as insight as to what made the man who invented the modern solo tick. Very satisfied with the product and will continue to purchase from this camp. - SK/Amazon Customer Review