Barney Kessel

Barney Kessel ( born October 17, 1923 in Muskogee, Oklahoma; † 6 May, 2004 San Diego, California ) was an American jazz guitarist.


Barney Kessels career began at the age of 14 in his native Muskogee. There he played the only white in a swing band. His first job in Los Angeles, where he moved in 1942, he had in 1942 in the Chico Marx Orchestra, which had founded the comedian Chico Marx. One of his first recordings can be heard (1944 May) in the short film Jammin 'The Blues with Lester Young. His first singles came out in the small record label Atomic Records, recorded on June 7, 1945 in Los Angeles, namely nuclear Buster / What Is This Thing Called Love ( Atomic 209) and Slick Chick / Man I Love ( Atomic 210). By December 1945, he worked in the band of Charlie Barnet, until 1946 even with Artie Shaw, was involved in over 70 titles for the. With musicians from Shaw's band like Dodo Marmarosa and Herbie Steward first recordings were made under his own name. He first appeared on 26 February 1947 in the cast at Charlie Parker's New Stars for the LP The Bird Loves The Blues. Later he played together with Benny Goodman, Lester Young, Billie Holiday and Oscar Peterson (LP Peterson Plays Cole Porter, recorded on 25 November 1951) with. Barney Kessel is regarded as the dominant guitarist of modern jazz of the 1950s. On March 28, 1955, he had compiled his Barney Kessel Septet, with whom he Swing Or Not To Swing recorded the LP Barney Kessel, Vol 3, To. The Barney Kessel Quintet recorded the LP Barney Kessel, Vol 2 and Vol 1. In addition, the boiler worked on countless recordings with as Red Norvo, Roy Eldridge, Harry Sweets Edison, Ben Webster, Stuff Smith, Woody Herman and Buddy DeFranco. From 1953 on, he published a series of albums; this project especially the Trio LPs with the Poll Winner lineup with bassist Ray Brown and drummer Shelly Manne out that emerged from 1957 to 1959. On August 30, 1957, he first appeared as a sideman by Peggy Lee on with their Single Listen To The Rockin 'Bird / Uninvited Dream.

Session musicians

The resulting on April 24, 1961, Duane Eddy Instrumentalhit Ring of Fire was the first session of Barney Kessel in the recording studios of Los Angeles with other renowned musicians under the name Wrecking Crew. This work was henceforth to be his main occupation. So he changed stylistically from jazz to pop-rock, California, because he accompanied artists such as Elvis Presley, Dean Martin, Beach Boys and Frank Sinatra. He was part of the created by Phil Spector Wall of Sound, such as at the coming of the Righteous Brothers You've Lost That Lovin worldwide hit ' Feelin '. Boiler was involved in almost all the hits this artist, also on albums like Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys. This group is for Would not It Be Nice intro for 4 beats his unusual game with the 12- string guitar sound.

In early 1969, gave kettle on his studio work and played the programmatic album Feelin ' Free ( February 1969 ) with Bobby Hutcherson and Elvin Jones a. As a freelance musician, he played in a duo with Herb Ellis and Charlie Byrd Trio with. He also published the Unterrichtswerk The Guitar, wrote more music didactic works and gave master classes around the world. His most famous seminar was The Effective Guitarist.

Boiler could not occur since a stroke in 1992. He died of a brain tumor and was survived by his third wife Phyllis Van Doren boiler and the two sons Dan and David Kessel.


Inspired by Charlie Parker's style renewed Barney Kessel the type of jazz guitar playing. He is one of the first guitarists who played the jazz style bebop on this instrument. Boiler is also one of a number of jazz guitarists such as Tiny Grimes, Oscar Moore, Irving Ashby and Chuck Wayne, who play in the tradition of Charlie Christian. As Jimmy Raney he developed his innovations to his own style, in which he especially the chordal playing Christian in his style integrated ( Attila Zoller ).

The musical instrument manufacturer Gibson dedicated boiler in 1961 its own signature guitar model. The Gibson Barney Kessel Custom, an archtop electric guitar with double cutaway, was produced until 1970. Three other signature models had been devoted to Barney Kessel previously in 1957 by guitar manufacturers Kay; the endorsement, however, had only been to 1960 inventory.

Discography (selection)

  • Vol 1: Easy Like (Contemporary Records, 1953/1955 )
  • Vol 2: Kessel Plays Standards (Contemporary Records, 1954/1955 )
  • Vol 3: To Swing or Not to Swing (Contemporary Records, 1955) with Sweets Edison, Georgie Auld, Jimmy Rowles
  • The Tatum Group Masterpieces Vol 5 ( Pablo, 1955)
  • Music to Listen to Barney Kessel by (Contemporary Records, 1956)
  • The Poll Winners (Contemporary Records, 1957) with Shelly Manne, Ray Brown
  • Let's Cook! (Contemporary Records, 1957)
  • The Poll Winners Ride Again (Contemporary Records, 1958) with Shelly Manne, Ray Brown
  • Kessel Plays Carmen (Contemporary Records, 1958)
  • The Poll Winners Three! (Contemporary Records, 1959) with Shelly Manne, Ray Brown
  • Some Like It Hot (Contemporary Records, 1959) with Art Pepper
  • The Poll Winners - Exploring the Scene! (Contemporary Records, 1960) with Shelly Manne, Ray Brown
  • Workin ' Out with the Barney Kessel Quartet (Contemporary Records, 1961)
  • Feeling Free (Contemporary Records, 1969) with Bobby Hutcherson, Elvin Jones
  • The Poll Winners - Straight Ahead (Contemporary Records, 1957) with Shelly Manne, Ray Brown
  • Solo ( Concord Records, 1981)
  • Spontaneous Combustion (Contemporary Records, 1987) with the Monty Alexander Trio
  • Red Hot and Blues (Contemporary Records, 1988) with Bobby Hutcherson, Kenny Barron, Rufus Reid, Ben Riley

Pictures of Barney Kessel