Friday, January 29, 2016

Barney Kessel & Friends

The late jazz guitarist Barney Kessel was well-know for his straight ahead jazz playing primarily. However, unlike his contemporaries, Kessel during his long carreer often went in the direction of attempting to make crossover records that skirted pop music of the 50's, 60's, and 70's. These were primarily rock-tinged oriented recordings of then-current pop hits-stuff like music from "Hair" and the "Age of Aquarius" type things. Listening to them years later kind of revealed these recordings to be less than artistic attempts to tap into a more youthful market and the pop mainstream. Those particular recordings (and I have a couple of them) sound horribly dated-I couldn't really picture too many people listening to them nowadays to be honest. In fact those offerings sound much more dated than Kessel's recordings of straight-ahead jazz made even 15 years or more before the commerical sidetrips. However, as a result of Kessel's keeping up with the contemporary music scene also meant he had bigger ears-and indeed would take biger chances than most of the jazz musicians of his generation and backround. In the case of this recording Barney Kessel & Friends we have some really nice jazz with a bit of a contemporary vibe (of the era) that actually works for the most part. Perhaps true classic jazz recordings are often hard to tell exactly what era they were recorded in, this one does speak very much of the mid 1970's-when it was recorded, and there's one or two slips into a dated "hip" sound. But for the most part, the music works and the band is small enough to hear the individual musicians, but big enough for enough variety of sound to keep the date from get too boring or samey sounding.
Although the CD itself lists no recording date (very unusual for Concord Records, or any Jazz label to not list a date), 2 tracks from this were later released on a very good Kessel compilation of The Concord Records Years and both tracks were listed as being from April 1975-so i'll guess the other tracks are from the same sessions and time period.
A nice band with some real nice flute work featured as well, the music ranges from straight ahead mainstream jazz, to mellow easy listening (actually my favorite tracks) to a bit more modern almost Fusion flavored things.
This is also the only Kessel recording i'm aware of (though there may be others) that features only original compositions by Kessel himself-which, for me, adds to the overall positive listening experience.
Also a great great band : Herbie Steward-reeds & flute, Barney Kessel-guitar, Jimmy Rowles-acoustic & electric keyboards, Vic Feldman-vibraphone, Chuck Domanico-Bass, Milt Holland-percussion, & Jake Hanna-drums. One of the few recordings of Kessel with some electric keyboards, vibraphone, percussionist, and flute, so it stands out as a pretty unique carrer offering.
Phasedin (New Jersey)

Source :

Barney Kessel


1 Sea Miner (Kessel)  5:36
2 For My Love (Kessel)  4:36
3 I'm on My Way (Dent, Jackson, Kessel, Trad.)  4:21
4 Here's That Sunny Day (Kessel)  5:18
5 Holiday in Rio (Kessel)  4:47
6 Down in the Swamp (Kessel)  4:43
7 Love of My Life (Kessel)  4:58
8 Goin' Through Some Changes (Kessel)  5:41
9 Brazilian Beat (Kessel)  5:45


Barney Kessel - g
Herbie Stewart - as, ss & fl
Victor Feldman - vb
Jimmy Rowles - p
Chuck Domanico - b
Jake Hanna - dr
Milt Holland - perc

Recorded at Western Studios, Hollywood, California ; [April ?] 1975


deGallo said...

Thank you for "The Great Barney Kessel" favorite jazz guitarist.

desperado said...

big thanks mel my man . this one is for that giant of real jazz guitar --- barney kessel . thanks again

rm said...

merci beaucoup

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot, mel.

Blue Eyes said...

Great post, I like this cool session of Barney!

P.S: Alternate LP front cover "Barney Kessel & Friends Plays Kessel"

LaroSwing said...

Merci beaucoup! Muchas gracias! Thanks a lot!

ita diegues said...

Thank you Melanchthon.

jazztap said...


danair said...

Missed this first time round, thanks Mel for re upping.

neil said...

Likewise; many thanks, mel...

jose arboleda said...

Muchas Gracias.

Fernando said...

THank you

Prof. Yaffle said...

Thank you

Melanchthon said...

Fred Archtop said...

Great post Mel. Thank you.

francisco santos said...


AmyBRAINS said...

Thanks a lot, Melanchthon.

musician3 said...

AMAZING.........................THANK YOU FORALL

kristophermc28 said...

Thanks Mel!

Axel.T. said...

Another great Kessel album. Thank you so much for this one.