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Les Paul Celebrates 91st Birthday at Iridium

As zestful as an artist of any age can hope to be, 90-year-old guitar legend Les Paul reels in his 91st year on June 12 at Manhattan’s Iridium Jazz Club.

Though he officially turns 91 on Friday, June 9, Paul will celebrate the following Monday with sets beginning at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. Paul has long held court at the Iridium on Monday nights, and this upcoming birthday gig will feature the icon’s regular working quartet of guitarist Lou Pallo, pianist John Colliani and bassist Nicky Parrott.

From being a pop celebrity to revolutionizing recording methods and spearheading the electric guitar phenomenon, Paul’s contributions to jazz, rock and pop as they exist today are immeasurable. And while most nearing 91 can’t program a CD player much less record a Grammy-winning CD, Paul did just that last year with American Made World Played, a guest-heavy project featuring guitar luminaries indebted to the man and his namesake instrument. Paul won Best Rock Instrumental with “69 Freedom Special” and Best Pop Instrumental with a surprisingly spacey psych-tinged rendition of Duke Ellington’s “Caravan.”

Paul spent the last year being honored at Carnegie Hall as part of the 2005 JVC Jazz Festival, releasing an autobiography, penning his own liner notes for a compilation of his Capitol sides, winning the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award and choosing Jeff Beck as the first recipient of the MOJO Les Paul Award, part of the trendsetting U.K. magazine’s MOJO Honours awards show.

The Iridium Jazz Club is located at 1650 Broadway (Corner of 51st), New York, NY 10023. Call (212) 582-2121 for reservations or visit

Originally Published