Jazz Birthdays: Guitars Galore | October 17, 2012

Luis Bonfa  1922-2001

Immensely talented Brazilian guitarist and composer who played a pivotal role in the broad introduction of bossa nova music, best known for his collaboration with Antonio Carlos Jobim for the music to the movie Black Orpheus.  Bonfa composed over 500 songs in his 4-decade career.

Bonfa plays the guitar like no other, in a very personal, charismatic style. His guitar is a little orchestra.”-Antonio Carlos Jobim

Barney Kessel  1923-2004

One of the great jazz guitarists, Kessel was influenced by Charlie Christian and the sounds of the black bands in Kansas City.  He was only 14 when he joined Ellis Ezell’s band, playing black clubs in Oklahoma.  Barney went on to LA and worked with the Chico Marx Orchestra and Les Brown, as well as stints with Artie Shaw and Charlie Barnet.  He stayed on to become the first-call guitarist for movies and television programs, and was a member of the group of session musicians informally known as The Wrecking Crew.

“Charlie Christian showed me a lot, and was a great help, but even then, I realised that if I was going to make it, it was no use copying Charlie.” – Barney Kessel

Howard Alden  1958

California-born Alden was influenced by Barney Kessel and Charlie Christian, but his true mentor was the great George Van Eps; and like Van Eps, he specializes in 7-string guitar.  For the 1999 Woody Allen movie “Sweet and Lowdown”, starring Sean Penn,  Howard not only played all the guitar solos, but also coached Mr. Penn on playing the guitar for his role in the film.

Howard Alden belongs to a small, élite group of the very best jazz guitarists in the world.”  – Johnny Smith


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    A blog about Jazz, Blues, Latin Jazz, New Orleans, musician's stories and more. My name is Robin Lloyd and I've been involved in jazz radio and the music business for over 30 years. This is my personal blog.

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