5 stars for Barney and 3 for the DVD
A musician | Denmark | 07/02/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Let's say it right out: Video material with this wonderful musician is scarce, for some strange reason Barney Kessel seem to be a bit underrated, which isn't fair at all to a guitarist who helped shape the jazz-guitar in so many ways.
Kessel belongs to the `old school' coming out of the era with Charlie Christian, and was among the first to acknowledge and play the electric guitar (Christian was the first). But Kessel surely evolved over the years and because of his open mind, he wasn't afraid to involve himself in projects of all kinds (he even plays on Beach Boys renown album - Pet Sounds). And where maybe some people dislike that, I personally find it refreshing. You couldn't call him avant-garde or just simply swing, but maybe some place in between - though more swing.
Barney was not the polished kind of player and he surely wasn't afraid of taking chances, which sometimes makes he's playing a bit on the edge, but that just makes it so more exiting in my opinion. Two of my favourite albums with him are "Poll Winners Three" (1959 - with Ray Brown and Shelly Mann) and Soaring (1977 - concord Records). But I think that most of his albums are more than worth listening to... really this man was always 100% dedicated and he had a very personal style. His imaginative melodic phrases, swinging drive, fabulous chord playing and great sound made him stand out. And I think that maybe he was actually the first guitar player that really used the "sweeping technique".
Well, about this DVD. First and most important: 5 stars for Barney. These recordings are actually all great and so are the quality both of the pictures and sound, which of course change along the way, as we starts out before they invented colours in pictures and into the eighties I think... And here is my complain: there is no information on this DVD. Nothing about who he is playing with, nothing about the year or location - nothing, NOTHING! No narration, no info whatsoever! There is a little interview with Barney in the beginning, which is good, and in the end you see him making a little speech in connection with a prize he receives, but that's it.
BUT taking in consideration how little video there is available with Barney Kessel this DVD is a MUST!!! Because the music speak for itself and there is many wonderful moments in this DVD and to be honest, we are better of with a DVD where the music plays uninterrupted, rather than one with talk all over it, but it would had been so nice with a little information about the background for these recordings, with so many change of personal along the way."
Great DVD for any Jazz Guitarist!!
R. Hui | 02/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love Barney Kessel's music and thought he was an amazing player. This DVD showcases some rare clips that show how he earned so much respect from the Jazz community and how he helped push the guitar as a solo instrument."
Great Player, Quality footage, the playing isn't always up t
Jimmy Sheenan | 04/04/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"And by that standard I'm referring to the poll winners discs. Some of the stuff on here is downright horrible, for example in Seven Come Eleven he nearly stops playing (it was way too fast and he just wasn't keeping up) and his rhythm chops are pretty sloppy at various points throughout. Maybe I just wasn't feeling it tonight, usually I don't write bad reviews, but from what I know of Barney Kessel I would say this isn't his prime stuff.
Still, I agree with the other reviewer who said there isnt much else available and thus would have to recommend this to fans of his. I'll say there is some really nice playing in the beginning and he does a stunning version of Heres That Rainy Day, so its a mixed bag. Definitily get it for yourself if you want (the interviews are nice historical documents too) but I wouldn't use this DVD to try and turn on a fan who doesn't already like him. Not that thats the definition of a good music DVD, but I can only give this two stars because of how many times I thought to myself "wow, he really sounds rusty".
Great player, musician, I do appreciate having the footage but his legacy deserves so much more than this!"