Barney Kessel, Charlie Byrd and Herb Ellis – 1982

The Great Guitars

 

An exciting set featuring three masterful guitarists

The Great Guitars was first formed for the 1974 Concord Jazz Festival.

The group originally teamed together veteran guitarists Barney Kessel, Herb Ellis and Charlie Byrd with support supplied by bassist Joe Byrd and drummer Johnny Rae.

The Great Guitars, which used different drummers, recorded five albums during 1974-82

After bad health forced Kessel’s retirement, his place was taken in later versions of the group by Mundell Lowe or Tal Farlow in the 1990s.

The original lineup with Chuck Redd on drums is featured on this live set from July 17, 1982 at the North Sea Jazz Festival, performing a surprisingly uptempo “It’s The Talk Of The Town,” “Undecided,” “A Felicidade,” “Manha de Carnaval,” “Nuages,” “Goin’ Out Of My Head,” “Flying Home,” “Speak Low,” and “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out.”

Plenty of fireworks fly between the three guitarists, who bring out the best in each other.

-Scott Yanow

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