The story of George Van Eps is one of a musician a few steps from fame who never received his due. A wunderkind of the guitar, he played in the Benny Goodman Orchestra when the band landed on the Let’s Dance radio show. But before they went on tour, and on to greater recognition, Van Eps opted for a better-paying job with Ray Noble, who didn’t make quite as big a splash. A devotee of the acoustic guitar until the ’50s, Van Eps played numerous dates in postwar Los Angeles but was often relegated to strumming rhythm behind Barney Kessel and Dave Barbour. Yet legions of young guitarists flocked to see him up until his death in 1998, and he’s best known today as an innovator of the seven-string jazz guitar tradition.
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