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Guitars Galore

George Barnes

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Album Review

George Barnes' work as a jazz guitarist is sadly underrated, though this Mercury LP is not really indicative of his career. Recorded in 1961 near the beginning of the stereo era, Barnes is heard with three separate soloists, trumpeter and flügelhornist Clark Terry, tenor saxophonist Al Cohn, and clarinetist Hank D'Amico, none of whom is identified on the album jacket. The arrangements frequently add numerous unidentified guitarists in portions of nearly every song, and in one case ("Jeepers Creepers"), a bizarre honky tonk piano, though Terry saves the day. Originally part of an LP with a dozen tracks, this reissue deletes two of them. Without the gimmickry of the additional guitars, this long unavailable record might have been an outstanding release, but it will still have some value for jazz fans.

Biography

Born: July 17, 1921 in Chicago Heights, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

A major player who has always been underrated, George Barnes was one of the first to record on electric guitar (accompanying blues singers) and was a top studio guitarist during much of his career. His style was very much based in the 1930s, and his single-note lines predated Charlie Christian, although he had much less of an impact. A professional by the time he was 13, Barnes was working on the staff of NBC by 1938. Based in Chicago, he recorded with Big Bill Broonzy, Washboard Sam, and other blues...
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Guitars Galore, George Barnes
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