Sunday 17 April 2011

Ronnie Singer

I'm a big fan of René Thomas and in particular his later work from the Sixites and Seventies. In his early career he pretty much adopted the style of Jimmy Raney wholesale. Jimmy was a very cool guitarist who improvised brilliant melodic lines. He was a big influence on the the post-Django guitarists in France, notably René and Sacha Distel. An American with a style very like Jimmy was Jimmy Gourley, a who settled and made a career in France (there are plenty of videos on YouTube from French TV). In the Forties, the two Jimmys hung out in Chicago with another guitarist, Ronnie Singer, who was apparently the most gifted of the three.

Ronnie was never officially recorded and he died tragically young - just 24, he (a heroin addict) and and his wife committed suicide by asphixia in a gas oven. The three tracks here were recorded live c. 1950 and they show a confident and inspired soloist.

Note that the two Jimmys, René and Ronnie all played the Gibson ES-150 that Charlie Christian made famous with the Christian pickup.

I'd love to transcribe a few of Ronnie's choruses - in fact, I'll put that on the To Do list!


Anonymous said...

Wow! What fluid and inventive playing. Sounds like Bird would have done if he would have played guitar instead of sax.

John Clarke

John Harris said...

Cheers John. I thought it was special, not only because of its obscurity. Really impressed with the sound of that Gibson ES-150 too. I'd love to own one!


Félix said...

Hi John,

Thanks for linking my blog!

I did a transcription of Tea For Two, check it out if you're interested.

I've heard of four other tunes, still waiting for them!

Ronnie was the hell of a guitarist, probably the best bop player on this instrument and one of the bests all instruments taken together. Even Barry Harris talks about him now he's heard the tapes!

Thanks for your words, peace,


John Harris said...

I've downloaded your transcriptions. Many thanks!


Jim Glantz said...

Hey guys, Ronnie's my uncle and I have his guitar. Axel Hagen has been great about keeping us up to speed on a resurgence of interest in Uncle Ronnie's playing, and it warms my heart - thanks to all, very much appreciated!
Jim Glantz -

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable, man...