April 17th, 1977..a good day in San Franscisco for jazz guit
P.J. Le Faucheur | Canada (ex- U.K. resident) | 08/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The final live recording for George Barnes done on April 17th,1977 at "Bimbos" in San Franscisco and a continuation of the same session issued as the CD "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" (formerly known as the vinyl album "Blues Going Up" Concord CJ-43 in 1977). Barnes died very suddenly on Sepetember 5th,1977 and this recording "Plays So Good" had been issued posthumously in tribute to him.
Barnes's cheeky,vivacious and bluesy style is equalled by his humourous remarks as he jokes in between songs.
George Barnes (like Les Paul) had a sizzling blues based style centered on lightning paced glissandos that end with bluesy string bends that have you gasping for more. His style would sink most other jazz guitarists (and even most rock guitarists) into the ground.George had played on rock'n'roll/blues sessions as well back in the 50s and like Howard Roberts had done snippets for commercials, T.V. ads/programmes etc. Aside from his flashy speed and quirky licks George had the ability to phrase in the most beautiful and lyrical way so as to have you begging for mercy .(as evident on the tracks "I'm Coming Virginia" and "St Louis Blues")
So many jazz guitarists sadly sound very similar and resort to the same predictable tricks (e.g. octaves, tri-tone subs, cycle of fourths etc). If you played a track from each in succession you'd hardly know the difference. Everyone calling himself a jazz guitarist today wants to sound like Wes Montgomery (although none get close to sounding like him) or Django.
But with George Barnes it was different. He relied on just single string runs, no gimmicks, and in this respect he followed the distinctive masters of jazz guitar and there have only been a handful the rest being imitators. The masters like Charlie Christian, Eddie Durham, Tiny Grimes, Oscar Moore, Eddie Lang etc. Like them , George formed the link between jazz guitar and blues guitar that had been pioneered by Lonnie Johnson/T.Bone Walker/Eddie Durham.
But is some respects he took it abit further."