Lasse Johansson made several records for Kicking Mule in the 1970s. The music was ragtime and early jazz arranged for solo or duet guitar. He has a book with his arrangements: Early Jazz for Fingerstyle Guitar published by Mel Bay Publications. His record Fingerstyle Guitar Classics was released by Solid Air Records in 2006. The DVD Early Jazz for Fingerstyle Guitar was released in 2009. And in 2013 his CD with a 72 page tab/music PDF booklet King Porter Stomp/The Music of Jelly Roll Morton was released.
Lasse plays and teaches at seminars and festivals in Europe and the US and has his own Fingerstyle Guitar Seminar in Hungary every summer.
Tablature/music is available as a PDF file for each lesson. Lessons are filmed with multiple cameras and consist of a performance, explanation, and conclude with a slow tempo split screen that follows the tab/music.
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Fats Waller's classic, it first appeared in the 1929 Broadway hit Hot Chocolates with Louis Armstrong singing it from the bandstand. Lasse has included the seldom heard verse and intro. All three sections are in the key of C.
This blues is named after the cornetist of the first known jazz band, Buddy Bolden. The chord progression of the main theme has been used by other composers of that era. For instance Barney and Seymore's St Louis Tickle is one rag with this progression that was arranged for guitar by Dave van Ronk.
Buddy Bolden Blues is basically a one theme song with variations. It is not a regular 12 bar three chord, blues, it's more in line with the ragtime/jazz chord structure of the early jazz times. It's in the key of C.
The song My Creole Belle goes way back to the turn of the century when ragtime and jazz were being born. It was later made popular in the 1960s by Mississippi John Hurt. In this cakewalk composed by J. Bodewalt Lampe in the year 1900 the song My Creole Belle is the second of the three sections. The first section is in the key of G and the other two in C. Lasse's arrangement comes from the piano sheet music but the tune also has a brass band feel to as it was often played by bands that marched in New Orleans.
The Original Dixieland Jass Band recorded this tune in 1917 making it one, if not the, very first jazz tunes to be recorded. It was composed by the bands trumpet player Nic la Rocca but the third section is a ragtime tune called That Teasin' Rag by Joe Jordan. The inspiration for Lasse's guitar arrangement comes from listening to it on a record by the 6 7/8 Stringband of New Orleans, a band that played jazz in New Orleans on mandolin, guitar, dobro and bass. It's in three sections all of them in different keys. D, G and C.
This is Lasse's solo guitar version of a duet by early jazz guitar pioneers Eddie Lang and Carl Kress. Both these guitarists were involved in making the guitar an important instrument in jazz during the 30's, when new recording techniques made the soft sounds of the guitar heard on recordings.
Together with Dick McDonough, Lonnie Johnson and a few others they shaped the jazz guitar sounds in the early days. In Lasse's arrangement he has used the bass lines and melody from the two guitars and turned it into a fingerstyle solo guitar piece. It's in the key of A and F.
One of the first blues being published. W.C. Handy first wrote it 1909 as a campaign song for E.H. Crump in his run for mayor of Memphis and a piano version was published 1910. Lasse's arrangement stems from listening to The Original Memphis Five recording and to some degree from Doc Watson's recording of Memphis Blues in the 1970s. It starts in the key of A and the last section is in the key of C.
Russian Rag is a piece Lasse arranged from piano sheet music. George L. Cobb composed it as a ragtime version based on the C# minor Prelude by russian composer Rachmaninoff. Lasse first heard it on record played by Dave Apollon’s Mandolin Orchestra. It is interesting to note that early jazz guitar pioneer Eddie Lang also made a solo guitar version of this Prelude. Keys are F major and D minor.
Chords and bassline move a lot during the piece so it’s not that you be in the same neck position for many measures. There are also some fast melody runs and chord changes. But, all in all, it’s a beautiful melody and stands out as a very special composition.