Monday, August 18, 2008
When my great good friend and musical colleague Al Viola — who played guitar on every album Frank Sinatra recorded from 1956 to 1980 — passed away last year, the jazz world lost one of its greatest musicians
At 87, his nimble fingers were as fast as ever. His “chops” were so strong that you could hardly see his hands move.
I worked with him several weeks before he died, and he never missed a note. He played as well that night as he had when he’d been at the top of his career, a Los Angeles studio musician in a small league that barely exists anymore — when music was real, and real musicians played it.
Al took good care of himself, drank a lot of red wine and never developed arthritis. His fabulous late wife Glenna took good care of him, too. And he took good care of us, the lucky ones who got to work closely with him.
He cared so much, and he gave so much of himself.
Bobby Troup, the pianist and composer best known for writing “Route 66,” used to say that if Al was your friend you really didn’t need any others.
Al mostly played rhythm… Read the full story »