Barney Kessel was one of the great jazz guitarists of his generation. Few realize that he was also an important voice on the pop-music scene in the 1950s and '60s. Indeed, his recordings with Ricky Nelson, the Righteous Brothers, and others show the great diversity of this guitarist.
On BLUE GUITAR, listeners are treated to 14 renditions of jazz standards such as "Willow Weep for Me," "How High the Moon," "Honeysuckle Rose" and the always-infectious "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got The Swing)." The Burt Bacharach pop tune "The Look of Love" is also performed here as a delicate bossa nova. Kessel's style is silky and understated throughout. His quintet is made up of bass, drums, rhythm guitar, and violin, but unfortunately, no personnel is listed. One doesn't need liner notes, though, to realize that the mystery violinist is likely the great Stephane Grappelli. Overall, BLUE GUITAR is sophisticated, romantic music.