Lou Pallo may not be a household name but if you are a Les Paul fan, then he is instantly recognizable as the longtime rhythm guitarist of his backing trio. He met Les Paul during 1963 and they formed a music relationship shortly afterward. Beginning in 1984, until 2009, he took the stage with Paul every Monday night; first at Fat Tuesday’s in Greenwich Village and then for the last 15 years at the Iridium Jazz Club in Times Square.
He has now put together a new album which is a tribute to his former friend and mentor. Thank You Les gathers a number of Les Paul’s classic tracks, plus a few more songs from The Great American Songbook for a grand total of 21. While he may not be a household name, most of the cast of supporting musicians are very well-known. Steve Miller, Keith Richards, Billy Gibbons, Jose Feliciano, Nokie Edwards, Slash, Johnny A, Bucky Pizzarelli, and a number of others were all willing to lend a hand to honor one of music’s brightest stars and guitar/recording innovators. Also contributing were other long time members of his trio, including pianist John Colianni, guitarist Frank Vignola, and a trio of bassists: Paul Nowinski, Nick Parrott, and Gary Mazzaroppi.
The album begins appropriately with former trio members Vignola, Pallo, and Nowinski just being backed by drummer Vince Ector. It makes one quickly realize just how much talent the trio members had in their own right. “Avalon” is a good introduction of Pallo’s style and technique and he demonstrates his ability as both a lead and rhythm guitarist. His lead guitar work on “Tennessee Waltz” has a soulful jazz feel to it.
When guest stars are present he is wise enough to step into the background to provide rhythm support unless called upon to share the lead guitar chores once in a while.