Barney Kessel

Vol. 3: To Swing or Not to Swing

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Guitarist Barney Kessel's string of recordings for Contemporary in the 1950s included some of the finest work of his career. The unusual repertoire on this set -- which includes "Louisiana," "Indiana," and "12th Street Rag," along with four Kessel originals and more usual standards -- would by itself make this bop/cool set noteworthy. Add to that a very interesting lineup of players (trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison, Georgie Auld or Bill Perkins on tenor, pianist Jimmy Rowles, the rhythm guitar of Al Hendrickson, bassist Red Mitchell, and Shelly Manne or Irv Cottler on drums) and some excellent showcases for Kessel, and the overall result is a recording highly recommended to fans of straight-ahead jazz.

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