Barney Kessel – Kessel Plays “Carmen” {Contemporary}[OJC]


Review by Scott Yanow
This is an unusual set that has been reissued on CD. During an era when many Broadway and movie scores were recorded in jazz settings (thanks in part to the success of Shelly Manne’s best-selling My Fair Lady album), guitarist Barney Kessel chose to interpret nine melodies from Bizet’s opera Carmen. The guitarist is heard in three different settings: joined by five woodwinds and a rhythm section; with five jazz horns (including altoist Herb Geller and trumpeter Ray Linn) and a trio; and with vibraphonist Victor Feldman in a quintet. Kessel also wrote the arrangements, which pay tribute to the melodies while not being shy of swinging the themes. An interesting if not essential project.

Tracklist:
01 – Swingin’ the Toreador 05:52
02 – A Pad on the Edge of Town 06:46
03 – If You Dig Me 04:04
04 – Free As a Bird 05:00
05 – Viva El Toro! 03:15
06 – Flowersville 06:00
07 – Carmen’s Cool 04:43
08 – Like, There’s No Place Like… 03:59
09 – The Gypsy’s Hip 03:56

Personnel:
Barney Kessel – guitar
Harry Betts – trombone
Ray Linn – trumpet
Herb Geller – alto sax
Justin Gordon – flute, alto flute, tenor sax
Chuck Gentry – baritone sax
Buddy Collette – flue, alto flute, clarinet
Bill Smith – clarinet, bass clarinet
Jules Jacob – oboe, clarinet
Pete Terry – bass clarinet, bassoon
Andre Previn – piano
Joe Mondragon – bass
Shelly Manne – drums

Recorded in Contemporary Records studio, Los Angeles; December 19 & 22, 1958.

Label: Contemporary / OJC
Year: 1986
Genre: Jazz
Total Time: 43:34

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

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