A fantastic addition to the Barney Kessel catalog of the 50s – a never-heard live set that has the guitarist in form that's every bit as strong as his famous albums for Contemporary Records! In fact, the strength of the recording may well capture Kessel at a level that beats those sessions – as Barney's playing live, with a bit more bite – and really grabs us with the strong tone on his solos – and the sense of energy he gets in a quartet that also includes a young Pete Jolly on piano! The recording quality is excellent – crystal-clear, and very focused – and the set isn't one of those lost tapes that should have stayed "lost" – but instead a real lost chapter in Barney's tremendous career.
Reissue with the latest remastering. Comes with liner notes. One of Barney Kessel's greatest albums ever – a rare Italian-only session that has a sparkly Brazilian groove! The record was recorded in Rome in 1970, and it's got Kessel's guitar fronting a combo with organ and some very tight percussion – all dancing around in a fast samba mode that's different from virtually anything else he ever recorded – very groovy, very upbeat, and very much what you might expect when the talents of a west coast guitar giant meets the best of the Italian studio scene of the time! There's loads of original tracks on the set – like "Freeway", "Lison", "BJ's Samba", and "On the Riviera" – and the whole thing has a breezy dancing feel that's really wonderful!
The second Great Guitars album features guitarists Charlie Byrd, Barney Kessel, and Herb Ellis matching wits and generally inspiring each other throughout this studio set. The trio, along with bassist Joe Byrd and drummer Wayne Philips, are heard together on four numbers (best are "Undecided" and Ellis' "H & B Guitar Boogie"; Ellis and Kessel duet on "Down Home Blues"; Byrd has two features to himself; and a medley combines together short versions of "Benny's Bugle & and "Latin Groove" with the typically exuberant "Charlie's Blues" A fine all-around effort.