Text Box: guitarist autographs


Price: $250.00



Autographed and inscribed 8” x 10”  photograph of the first jazz guitarist, holding his famous namesake Gibson guitar.

Lucas (1897-1982) was born in New Jersey to an Italian immigrant family (Lucanese).  When he was nine his brother taught him solfege and he picked up a mandolin in order to accompany his brother who played the accordion. He next learned the banjo and guitar and found in his teens, the acoustic guitar was drowned out in the jazz orchestras he played in, so he utilized a banjorine (hybrid banjo with mandolin neck) which could be heard. He played in the Paul Whiteman sponsored, The Vernon Country Club Orchestra.  In 1922, at the age of 25, he recorded some duets and quartets with his brother, but his solo two sides for Pathé, released on the Brunswick label, “Pickin’ and Guitar” and “Teasin’ the Frets” which were the first jazz records ever made.  They are widely available on-line, today you will think of them as the ragtime genre, but that was the sound of the time. They marked them as “The Newfangled Sound of the Guitar”.  Interestingly he had made some test pressings at fifteen for Edison which were never released.

From the Vernon Country Club Orchestra, he went to the Don Parker Trio which played clubs and also recorded for Pathé.  From the Trio, he went to work for Sam Lanin’s Orchestra at the Roseland Ballroom in NYC. When not playing with Lanin, he was busy recording with the Bailey’s Lucky Seven for Gennett Records.  At this point in band performances he was playing the tenor banjo. While recording with Lanin one day, Lucas pulled out his guitar and against Lanin’s better judgement he let him play as an experiment.  The experiment worked and the recording stood.  In 1923 he went to Chicago to play the summer with the Russo-Fiorito Orchestra in Chicago, bringing “Yes, We Have No Bananas” which was new at the time as a novelty song.  He ended up staying in Chicago for two years with that Band at the important Edgewater Hotel on Lake Michigan as the house band.  By this point he was singing with the band and recording solo, both singing and playing.  In 1926 his records were so popular that he made his first solo tour in Europe, London and Paris, where he sold out the Palladium and also played the Café de Paris and the Kit Kat Club.  His success led to two command performances, one for The Prince of Wales (Edward VIII) and the Queen of Spain. While at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles in 1929, he was signed by Warner Brothers to appear in their new talkie, “Gold Diggers of Broadway” one of the earliest color films, where he sang “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” for the first time which was to become one of his calling cards.  He sang in falsetto which was later influenced and was mimicked by Tiny Tim.  Tiptoe Through the Tulips ended up a hit and Lucas sold over two million records, a first in 1929. In 1947, Lucas was one of the first to record side by side tracks of his own voice and issue a record, “Side by Side”. 

Lucas began recording in cylinder and lived long enough to record in stereo!


Phone: 212-860-5541  *  Fax: 917-677-8247