A summit meeting of legendary Jazz Guitarists this weekend. Herb Ellis, Charlie Byrd and Barney Kelles in concert at the 1981 Jazz Berlin – recorded at Philharmonie Hall, Berlin – November 8, 1981 and preserved for posterity by RBB Radio Berlin.
Also known as Great Guitars, the trio interchanged on various occasions to include other guitarists of note. Great Guitars was a supergroup formed by jazz guitarists Charlie Byrd, Herb Ellis, and Barney Kessel in 1973.
The trio performed intermittently from 1973 and released several live albums: Great Guitars (1975), Great Guitars 2 (1976), Great Guitars at the Winery (1980), Great Guitars: Straight Tracks (1991), Return of the Great Guitars (1996), Great Guitars Concord Jazz (2005). After a stroke ended Kessel’s career in 1992, Ron Escheté, Mundell Lowe, Larry Coryell, and Tal Farlow variously joined Byrd and Ellis in later concerts.
The following are a few words from Scott Yanow at Pandora:
An excellent bop-based guitarist with a slight country twang to his sound, Herb Ellis became famous playing with the Oscar Peterson Trio during 1953-1958. Prior to that, he had attended North Texas State University and played with the Casa Loma Orchestra , Jimmy Dorsey (1945-1947), and the sadly under-recorded trio Soft Winds. While with Peterson , Ellis was on some Jazz at the Philharmonic tours and had a few opportunities to lead his own dates for Verve, including his personal favorite, Nothing But the Blues (1957). After leaving Peterson , Ellis toured a bit with Ella Fitzgerald ; became a studio musician on the West Coast; made sessions with the Dukes of Dixieland , Stuff Smith , and Charlie Byrd ; and in the 1970s became much more active in the jazz world. He can be heard on the first three releases issued by the Concord label, interacting with Joe Pass on the initial two, and he toured with the Great Guitars (along with Byrd and Barney Kessel ) through much of the 1970s into the ’80s. After a long series of Concord albums, Ellis cut a couple of excellent sessions in the 1990s for Justice, as well as 1999′s Burnin’ on Acoustic Music. After battling Alzheimer’s disease, Herb Ellis died at the age of 88 at his home in Los Angeles on March 28, 2010. ~ Scott Yanow
Goes well with Sunday – click on the player and relax – nothing else to do today, I swear.