Legendary guitarist Lou Pallo, who anchored Les Paul Trio, dead at 86

Legendary guitarist Lou Pallo, who anchored Les Paul Trio, dead at 86

Guitarist Lou Pallo, “the man of a million chords” who anchored the Les Paul Trio for nearly three decades, died Wednesday. He was 86.

The New Jersey resident was part of the unofficial “Jersey Guitar Mafia” that dominated New York-area recording sessions during the 1950s and 1960s, NorthJersey.com reported.

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Pallo and his recording contemporaries got their nickname from Les Paul, who often staged late-night recording sessions from his home in Mahwah, New Jersey, the website reported.

Pallo played rhythm guitar in the Les Paul Trio from the 1980s through the 2000s and also played lead on guitar and mandolin, NorthJersey reported.

Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones called Pallo “the man of a million chords.”

“He could find a chord for every note you were singing,” Richards said. “It always fascinates me.”

Other musicians called Pallo “the man of a million inversions,” NorthJersey.com reported.

Pallo anchored the Les Paul Trio, and Paul even sat in on many of the sessions. Bassist Gary Mazzaroppi said Pallo was “a master.”

“We never really rehearsed,” Mazzaroppi told NorthJersey.com. “Les wouldn’t tell you what he was going to play. He wouldn’t tell you what key he was playing in. We would just start playing. Lou had no problem with that whatsoever.”

After Paul’s death in 2009, Pallo remained active, recording a Jersey Guitar Mafia album with Pizzarelli, Frank Vignola and Al Caiola, North Jersey.com reported. He also anchored a “Thank-You, Les” tribute album, recording with Richards, Steve Miller and Slash.

The Les Paul Foundation paid tribute to Pallo on its website.

“He is admired by many of the world’s greatest musicians and made his mark on many of us,” the foundation wrote. “What he has left us is an abundance of amazing musical sounds, memories of shows that just can’t ever be duplicated and a sense of an era that profoundly changed the music industry.”