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This project was made possible by funding through the Canadian Culture Online Strategy and the Heritage Policy Branch of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Canadian Heritage

Barney Kessel


BARNEY KESSEL (guitarist, arranger, producer ) was born October 17, 1923 in Muskogee, Oklahoma and passed away May 6, 2004 in San Diego. The legendary guitarist known for his versatility and responsiveness was largely self-taught, influenced by both “western swing” players and Charlie Christian. One of the first proponents of electric guitar, Kessel’s swinging style saw him working with Charlie Barnet, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Charlie Parker, Mel Torme, and n the Oscar Peterson trio. Chosen as the top ranked guitarist in numerous music polls from 1947-1960, Kessel led his own successful groups in addition to his busy career as studio musician – part of the famed “Wrecking Crew” of first call musicians - for countless pop albums, television and film. Kessel recorded over 60 albums in addition to creating instruction manuals for guitar.