Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Herb Ellis: Remembering a jazz guitar great

Herb EllisImage via Wikipedia
Herb Ellis, one of the great jazz guitarists in the post Charlie Christian, pre-fusion era died on Sunday.

He was perhaps most famous as part of the Oscar Peterson Trio and for jazz duets with fellow guitarist Joe Pass. Ellis was from Texas and retired to Arkansas.. He had a twangy blues drenched sound and swung like crazy.

Sometime in the 1980s or 1990s, I think, Ellis retired to Arkansas. He continued to play and record. I enjoyed his 1992 Texas Swings on the Justice label, which featured Western swing oriented jazz, including an appearance by Willie Nelson. But it is not my favorite Ellis. That might be Herb Ellis Meets jimmy Giuffre or Nothing But the Blues, which was Ellis' personal favorite.

Here's Herb playing with Barney Kessell, a contemporary who grew up in OKlahoma city and had a similar musical approach

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