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Harlem Nocturne

Another one of my favorite guitar instrumentals is The Ventures' version of Harlem Nocturne. This song was actually composed by Earle Hagen and Dick Rogers in 1939 for the Ray Noble orchestra. It has been recorded many times by a variety of artists. This version is from 1960. I really like the sparse sound of it. The main theme makes use of the minor/ major 7th chord, which gives the song a particularly haunting sound. The melody begins with an E minor chord that starts by being palm muted on the lower strings but rings out on the higher strings. It is a really nice effect. Another great part of this song is the B section in which the melody switches into a major key and becomes more upbeat. It is a really nice contrast. Here is the Ventures' version:

Here are the tabs for Harlem Nocturne.

Not long after I discovered this version, I came across a version by Danny Gatton. If you are not familiar with him, let me just say that, in my opinion, everyone else (and I truly mean everyone!) plays the guitar while this man does something else entirely. I believe that he is possibly the greatest guitarist of all time. I don't think anyone can do with the instrument what he does. I was lucky enough to get to see him once for free at the Montreal Jazz Festival in the early 90's, not long before he died. Danny Gatton recorded a version of Harlem Nocturne but I think seeing is believing, so here is a live version:

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