Friday, July 15, 2016

George Barnes - The Complete Standard Transcriptions (1946-1951)

Jazz guitarist George Barnes made his reputation playing in a variety of formats—guitar duets with Karl Kress and others, a memorable quartet with Ruby Braff, solo guitarist, and pick-up bands. His chamber music octet of the late 40's combined elements of light classical music, 1930's novelty music, and Lester Young-inspired small band swing. John Kirby, Alec Wilder (octets), and Raymond Scott created music in a similar vein. Of the four the Barnes octet undeservedly remains the least known.
Barnes' writing is the key to the octet. He liked to let the reeds (mostly clarinets) establish a rhythmic feel and suddenly interrupt with a guitar break, improvised or written. The reeds would then ease back in behind him supportively for the last half of his solo or maybe play riffs for him to play against. Sometimes the reeds would split into subsections for call and response of their own. Things never stayed in one place long—the tempo picked up, the lead passed to another instrument, or a previous theme reappeared in variation. The clarinet lines formed intricate, well-timed countermelodies. Though the arrangements were carefully crafted they do not sound contrived, and there is a sense of spontaneity. The music has a light, friendly sound (The drums usually whisper.) in contrast to contemporaneous bebop.
Barnes is the only soloist, and he does not stretch out much, preferring to serve the whole. The tunes are varied and short. Some pieces ("Blondie Buys a Boat," "Kilroy Is Here") were titled with a programmatic references, often to the popular culture of the times. "Suite for Octette" is at once the most conservative (Bach-inspired counterpoint) and most advanced (polytonalities akin to George Russell's Lydian approach) piece. "South Side Blues" is recalls the period boogie woogie rage.
Of the 48 tunes (2-CD set) 16 appeared on a 1970's Hindsight LP. The remainder are now available for the first time. Considering the musical selection, sound quality, liner notes, and packaging Soundies has issued their usual first-rate product.
Graig Jollay

Source :

George Barnes
The Complete Standard


Cd. 1

1 Twinkle Twinkle (Anonymous)  1:37
2 A Good Night for Murder (Barnes)  1:36
3 Hickory Dickory (Maupin)  2:29
4 London Bridgework (Anonymous)  2:56
5 Concerto for Three Minutes (Barnes)  2:29
6 Man Riding Bicycle Down The Street Meets Fair Lady (Barnes)  1:32
7 Girl In a Picture Hat (Barnes)  2:50
8 Intricacies of a Threshing Machine (Barnes)  1:35
9 Afternoon of a Billy Goat (Barnes)  2:47
10 Parade of The Wooden Easter Bunnies (Barnes)  1:54
11 Evening in London (Barnes)  2:46
12 Blondie Buys a Bonnet (Barnes)  2:35
13 Misty Morn (Barnes)  3:18
14 Sunday Drive (Barnes)  2:26
15 Private Life of a Vulture (Barnes)  2:03
16 Fast And Fancy (Barnes)  2:15
17 Jumpin' Jack (Barnes)  2:06
18 Sunny Day in May (Barnes)  2:43
19 Children on a Picnic (Barnes)  2:09
20 Muskrat Ramble (Ory, Haggart)  2:12
21 My Blue Heaven (Donaldson, Whiting)  2:01
22 The One I Love Belongs to Someone Else (Jones, Kahn)  1:40
23 It Must Be True (You Are Mine, All Mine) (Barris, Arnheim, Clifford)  2:55
24 Jeepers Creepers (Mercer, Warren)  3:23
25 All Of Me (Simons, Marks)  3:05
26 The Love Nest (Hirsch, Harbach)  2:17
27 Always (Berlin)  2:06


Cd. 2

1 Ain't She Sweet (Ager, Yellen)  2:16
2 When I Take My Sugar to Tea (Fain, Kahal, Norman)  1:38
3 Aren't You Glad You're You (Burke, VanHeusen)  2:06
4 Kilroy is Here (Barnes)  3:08
5 Chicago (Fisher)  2:32
6 Priority on a Moonbeam (Taylor)  2:41
7 I Can't Give You Anything but Love (Fields, McHugh)  1:52
8 Starlight Interlude (Barnes)  2:37
9 Zebra's Derby (Barnes)  2:58
10 Somebody Loves Me (Gershwin, DeSylva, MacDonald)  2:00
11 Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (Kern, Harbach)  2:51
12 South Side Blues (Barnes)  2:04
13 Suite For Octette (Part 1. "Allegro Moderato") (Barnes)  2:31
14 Suite For Octette (Part 2. "Andante") (Barnes)  3:54
15 Suite For Octette (Part 3. "Scherzo") (Barnes)  1:58
16 Suite For Octette (Part 4. "Allegro") (Barnes)  3:21
17 September in The Rain (Warren, Dubin)  2:22
18 Something to Remember You By (Schwartz, Dietz)  2:13
19 Imagination (VanHeusen)  2:22
20 Jazz Band Ball (LaRocca)  2:06
21 Undecided (Robin)  1:46


George Barnes - g
Earl Backus - g
Jack Fascinato - p
Bob Morton & Eddie Swan - cl & bs cl
Phil Wing - english hrn, ob & cl
Tommy Miller - alt fl, cl, fl & pic
Hal Taylor - b
Frank Rullo - dr or vb

Recorded at RCA Victor's Studio, Chicago ; between 1946 & 1951

See also


kristophermc28 said...

Many thanks Mel!

glinka21 said...

Wow: more George Barnes, and relatively early, interesting stuff, too. Thanks!

neil said...

Only heard George Barnes - Don't Get Around Much Anymore (1977), so fat, Mel; so many thanks for the opportunity to hear these tracks...

neil said...

That should have bee 'so far'!

Wilbert said...

Mr. Mel, thank you for constantly widening my musical horizon. I had never heard of Barnes before. These arrangements are delightfully inventive and full of humor. Listening to this album I found myself with a huge smile on my face.

jose arboleda said...

Thank you very much,I'm also looking for Duke Jordan Kiss of Spain and the recordings of jack Mcnuf and Bill jennings perhaps you might have them , José.

deGallo said...

Thank you. Nice upgrade.

Orbyt said...

Exceptional post, Mel. Thank you.

Michele B said...

George Barnes is legendary...thanks for share

musician3 said...


Jazzsoulman said...

Thank You

danair said...

Top post i have this one but just wanted to comment .Nice one Mel.

AmyBRAINS said...

Many thanks, Melanchthon.

ldd180 said...

I'm so excited to find these tunes. I just discovered Burns, and was blown away by the Octet samples I heard. Can't understand why he's not better known. Un mil gracias.

Melanchthon said...

sep troelstra said...

Many thanks!!

Anonymous said...

George Barnes would have passed me by if not for you, MM. His music with Ruby Braff that you gave us sit on top of the CD/flac pile in my commuter car. Thank you.

The Jackal said...

Very much appreciate this historic material Mel

Guitar history

Kovina Kris said...

Another fine upgrade. Thank you!

Jazz Padd said...

Enjoying the recent George Barnes you shared. Any chance of getting a re-share on this one? Thanks!