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The Bebop Players

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Tal Farlow

A late bloomer who didn't start playing guitar until he was in his 20s, Tal Farlow is a self-taught player who didn't read music. Nevertheless, by the time he was 30, the inventive guitarist had scored gigs with clarinetist Buddy De Franco and vibraphonist Red Norvo. Blessed with blinding speed, an unerring knack for great melodies and a deft touch, he won critical acclaim in the early '50s for his work with Norvo and trumpeter Artie Shaw. He led his own trio until a distaste for the music business led him to return to North Carolina for work as a sign painter. By the late '60s, he was making irregular appearances at festivals, and by the '80s he had resumed his partnership with Norvo, surprising audiences who had never heard his now-out-of-print seminal recordings.

The great Jazz Guitarist died on July 25, 1998 at 6.00am at the Memorial Sloane-Kettering Cancer Centre in Manhattan, NYC, USA. Please visit Andy Sheppard's, Tal Farlow page for more information and guitarist Dan Axelrod's eulogy, spoken at Tal's funeral service on Jul 29, 1998. Tal will be sadly missed by all of us.

Autumn in New York - Tal Farlow
This album comes from one of Tal's most fertile periods' featuring Gerry Wiggins, piano, Ray Brown , Bass and Chico Hamilton, Drums Tal plays the tunes:
bulletI Like to recognise the tune
bulletStrike up the band
bulletAutumn in New York
bulletAnd She remembers me
bulletLittle Girl Blue
bulletHave you met Miss Jones
bulletTal's Blues

Featuring some of Tal's best playing ranging from great chord melodies to lightening fast tempos.

Get the Talmadge Farlow videoTalmadge Farlow (1996) - Lorenzo DeStefano

This video features Tal Farlow, talking about his life and work, and preparation for a concert. Great historical document and a must for all Jazz guitarists.

Jazz Style of Tal Farlow : The Elements of Bebop Guitar by S. Rochinski

Steve 's book is an indepth look at Tal's playing style and harmony. The book is divided into four sections, Single Line Solo Construction, Chord-Melody Reharmonization Techniques, Special Effects and Solo Transcriptions. Steve studied with Tal and has some real insights into Tal's way of thinking.

Barney Kessel

The Poll Winners - Barney Kessel

coverOne of the finest guitarists in jazz history, Barney Kessel was largely self-taught after just three months of lessons at the age of 12. By the early 1940s he was working in big bands, playing in 1943 with the Chico Marx orchestra directed by Ben Pollack, and then in a succession of prominent swing bands including those of Charlie Barnet, Hal McIntyre, and Artie Shaw. Kessel also appeared in Shaw's small group, the Gramercy Five. By the late 1940s, he was doing substantial radio work in New York City, and his long career was divided between commercial studio work and more straight-ahead jazz playing. In 1952 he joined the Oscar Peterson trio with bassist Ray Brown. He remained with the group for a year, touring extensively with Norman Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic, including a European tour backing Lester Young and Ella Fitzgerald. Kessel's flexibility made him a natural for studio work, and he appeared anonymously on countless pop records and TV and film soundtracks, recording with a Who's Who of American pop music that included Elvis Presley, the Coasters, the Beach Boys, Cher, Judy Garland, and Frank Sinatra. His jazz credits stretched from Kid Ory to Sonny Rollins, touching on almost every major figure in between, and he recorded with a variety of fellow guitarists, including T-Bone Walker and Duane Eddy. Though Kessel was a consummate swing and bop musician, his instrument lent itself to the cooler textures of the West Coast style. He became one of the most popular jazz artists of the 1950s, often working with Andre Previn and Shelly Manne on jazz versions of musicals. In the 1960s he took sabbaticals from studio work to play clubs and concerts, and increasingly incorporated Brazilian rhythms into his work. In the 1970s he appeared with Herb Ellis and Charlie Byrd in a group called the Great Guitars. A stroke in 1992 ended his playing career. consistently won readers' polls in Down Beat, Metronome, and Playboy. Among the most talented of Charlie Christian's disciples, he combined great swing, rhythmic inventiveness, a steady flow of melodic ideas, and a technical flare that was evident whether soloing in single notes or chords. His immersion in studio music occasionally colored his own projects, which are sometimes diminished by abysmal pop fare, even including a jazz version of the musical Hair. However, despite decades of work in commercial music, as an arranger and producer as well as a guitarist, Kessel remained a great bop soloist, and there are excellent examples of his work from every decade of his career.

Get the Barney Kessel 1962-91 VideoBarney Kessel 1962-91 This video captures almost 30 years of rare performances from 1962 to 1991. Barney is seen playing in a trio setting, solo and with jazz guitarists Herb Ellis and Charlie Byrd.
Get the Barney Kessel Elementary VideoElementary Guitar (1981)cover

This video featues Barney talking about his approach to basic guitar playing.


Jazz for Dummies (For Dummies) - by Dirk Sutro, Barney Kessel

coverA new book out, Barney was involved in producing. It presents a history and overview of Jazz. Great for the beginner in this field.


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