[Dixielandjazz] Ruby Braff & George Barnes.

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Sat Feb 15 09:41:12 PST 2003

List Mates:

Loved Jim Beebe's recollection of Braff. Especially the part about his
relationship with Guitarist George Barnes. For me, Barnes was one of the
genius single string guitar soloists. He worked with Braff for about two
years and they produced several quartet albums which I think are under
Barnes's Name.

The instrumentation was Braff, Barnes, Wayne Wright on rhythm guitar and
Mike Moore on Bass. These albums date to 1973, 74 and 75 and are
wonderful. In 1975, Barnes and Braff had a falling out. Barnes moved to
California and died there in 1977. The falling out was probably Barnes's
fault as he had a history of not wearing well with fellow musicians
throughout his life.

George Barnes, a master player, was one of those guys who had to be in
control. A real freak about it. For example, in a big band setting, as a
sideman, he would re-write the section parts and demand they play it
that way etc., much to the dismay of the arranger or leader. You can
imagine how he and Braff got along.

Barnes also played extensively in groups with two guitars as he did not
like to play "rhythm". So there are a lot of recordings of him along
with Carl Kress, or Bucky Pizzarelli and others.

Strangely enough, George Barnes did not even have a Bio in Chilton's
first edition of Who's "Who in Jazz". Hope that has been corrected as he
was active from about 1938 to 1976 and one of the innovators.

I think, perhaps, the work he did with his single string soli guitar and
a rhythm guitar plus bass and horn (Braff) in large measure influenced
what Kenny Davern currently does with Harold Alden and Bucky Pizzarelli
plus bass (Greg Cohen after Haggart's death) and Tony DiNicola on drums.

Steve Barbone

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