Barney Kessel

Barney Kessel, October 17, 1923 – May 6th 2004, was one of the most outstanding guitarists after Charlie Christian’s death. He was a consistent bop soloist throughout the course of his career. He was a member of a big band led by Chico Marx (1943), and then he worked with Charlie Barnet (1944-45), and Artie Shaw (1945). Shaw also recorded with Shaw’s Gramercy Five. Kessel was a popular studio musician in Los Angeles, but was always in demand to record jazz records. Kessel toured for one year with the Oscar Peterson Trio (1952-53) before he began a remarkable series of records for Contemporary in 1953. This included several with Ray Brown, Shelly Manne, and a trio known as “The Poll Winners”. Kessel spent a period in London (1969-70) after touring Europe with George Wein’s Newport All-Stars (1968). Kessel began recording and touring with the Great Guitars in 1973. This group included Charlie Byrd and Herb Ellis. Barney Kessel suffered a serious stroke in 1992. However, many of his records, which include dates for Onyx and Black Lion, Sonet, Concord, and many other Contemporaries, are still available. Vestapol also has several video collections. Kessel, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2004, died in San Diego, California. Text contributed by users is available under Creative Commons By–SA License. It may also be available under GNU FDL.

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