“There is no excess in Jimmy's music. Melodies trail off into silence; harmonies are expressed with two well-chosen notes. Silence is just as important as sound and it all comes off sounding like what Bartok might have written if he was born of Cajun parents and schooled with Texas swing.”
- Larry Koonse
“My father had a very clean style. He developed his own fingering technique with his left hand - being left-handed he had a lot of strength. He could sustain tones and move voicings around. He had a pianistic sound to it. And that is what he was known for, but he was doing that way back when.”
- Kay Van Eps
“I first encountered his work as a 6 string player when I bought his Decca album of solos that he recorded in 1939. I bought it around 1944. Kress' harmonies on this album were unique among jazz guitarists at that time as he incorporated speedy triad and 4-note stride, boogie-woogie bass and shuffle rhythms. Kress did not base his style on chains of eighth notes, but rather chorded statements. His shuffle beat in half steps on Nichols’ “Dinah,” behind Benny Goodman’s solo, is a delight.”
- Marty Grosz
One of the most singularly identifiable jazz guitarists is George Barnes. Possessing a style and tone that leave an immediate lasting impression, guitar lover or not, his playing will follow the listener into memory, a musical fulfillment bestowed on a minute number of players.
George Barnes was born on July 17, 1921, in Chicago Heights, Illinois, into a family of musicians. He was encouraged to be musical and thus began playing the piano at the age of 6. However, the Depression would take his beloved instrument and the family's home as well.
This monumental moment of despair and survival may have planted the seeds of determination into his soul. Remarkably, a Sears Roebuck Silvertone guitar was plucked from the rubble of desperation.
It would become the exceptionally gifted young boy's new musical voice. In a few years, his destiny would rapidly unfold.
“Barney Kessel is definitely the best guitar player in this world, or any other world."
- George Harrison
Considered one of the greatest jazz guitarists in the history of jazz, Barney Kessel possessed a musical vocabulary that was without peer. Every note in Kessel's harmonic thesaurus could easily speak volumes in a variety of applications. His limitless knowledge and personal connection with the guitar made them one-and-the same.
Born in 1923, Tony Rizzi grew up in Los Angeles, California. Originally a violin player, Rizzi did not take up the guitar until he was 19 years old. He subsequently transferred his reading ability to the guitar. This put Rizzi in a unique position as guitar players that could read at that time were scarce.
For the most part it is a total “live" recording. The TECHNICAL DATA insert on the back cover of the album states: "You are listening to an album that could be considered a LIVE performance recording, in as much as seven of the tunes were "completed takes" (no splices). Only 32 bars of the guitar fugue from A New Baby were lifted from Take 1 and spliced into Take 2."
During his 31 years, Eddie Lang recorded true Americana music. Like starting a path into an uncharted valley, Lang was one of the sole creators of a particular guitar playing style during an era of musical innocence. He recorded over 60 classic instrumentals and accompanied and influenced one of the most popular singers of all time, Bing Crosby.
“Eddie Lang was a ‘guitarist's’ guitarist during his time. He led the evolution of the guitar from the role of rhythm guitar to a more advanced level of a solo voice as well. He was the precursor of guitarists such as George Van Eps and Allan Reuss, who each took the guitar to the next role that evolved into the '40s.
The Lang/McDonough, Lang/Venuti and Lang/Kress duets were, and are, timeless as were Eddie's blues exploits using the pseudonym Blind Willie Dunn with Lonnie Johnson. Eddie Lang was one of the greatest acoustic jazz guitarists ever.”
- Mitch Holder