Barney Kessel – Soaring

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Recorded in 1976 for Concord, Soaring features Kessel on guitar, Monty Budwig on bass and Jake Hanna on drums. Kessel was among the most prolific jazz guitarists, recording on more than 500 known jazz sessions. This staggering career number does not even include all of his many credit-less studio dates for pop and rock singles and albums, or his relentless TV and movie soundtrack work. …. On Soaring, Kessel chose to place an emphasis on his chord technique for the six standards and two originals. Think block-chord piano marvel Milt Buckner–but on guitar–and you get the picture here. Kessel here is at the absolute top of his game. There are no studio gimmicks or commercial trappings, just gorgeous, hard-swinging jazz-chord playing. The result is an album that dismisses all notions that Kessel was merely a sugary studio genius who lacked a burning drive. Here, it’s all drive. (

AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow:
Although guitarist Barney Kessel interprets seven standard ballads on this CD reissue (a trio set with bassist Monty Budwig and drummer Jake Hanna), this is not a ballad album. Most of the songs are taken at faster than usual tempoes with the emphasis on Kessel’s chordal (rather than single-note) solos. The guitarist was in peak form around this era as can be heard on a romping version of “I Love You,” “Star Eyes,” “Like Someone in Love” and “Get Out of Town.” In addition he contributes one of his finest originals, “Seagull,” a song that deserves to be revived. This underrated set is well worth exploring. (

Track listing:

A1 You Go To My Head 4:27
A2 Get Out Of Town 4:55
A3 Seagull 6:11
A4 Like Someone In Love 6:59
B1 You’re The One For Me 4:50
B2 Beautiful Love 6:33
B3 Star Eyes 4:24
B4 I Love You 5:27


Barney Kessel – guitar
Jake Hanna – drums
Monty Budwig – bass


Released: August 25, 1976
Duration: 43:48
Coast Recorders, San Francisco, CA