Compiled in 1995 and re-released in 2001 on the Rounder/Umgd label,
“Legends of Jazz Guitar, Volume Two” is a relatively short, 58-minute DVD.
Like Volume One, it showcases many of the top names in jazz guitar, and
features performances from Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, Kenny Burrell,
Barney Kessel, Charlie Byrd, and Grant Green. There are 10 different
selections, dating from the mid 1960’s (Wes Montgomery) to the late
1980’s (Kenny Burrell).
The opening number, “Blue Mist,” is unique in that it features Kessel,
Burrell and Green playing together, trading tasty solos and backed up by
a small rhythm section. Unfortunately, this is the only time that Grant
Green is featured on this DVD. Barney Kessel plays one solo tune, and
each of the other players perform two numbers on this disc. For the most
part, the venues are intimate, and the camera work captures their
performances nicely. With the exception of Wes Montgomery’s two
numbers that were taken from the BBC’s “Jazz 625” program, all of the
sets are in color.
Charlie Byrd’s two performances from the 1970’s were unique in that his
guitar was the only one that truly sounded “acoustic.” In his rendition of
“Isn’t It a Lovely Day?” he played without any backup musicians, as did
Joe Pass during his two selections. An interesting point mentioned in the
accompanying booklet notes that during 1954, Charlie Byrd studied with
Some of these guitarists were also featured in Volume One of this series,
and I understand that there is more footage of Barney Kessel and Charlie
Byrd in Volume Three. The performances in Volume Two are all fine ones,
featuring each musician’s unique ideas about phrasing, blue notes, solo lines,
chords and the like. The sound is acceptable for the most part; however,
Kenny Burrell’s two selections had an annoying interference in the left channel.
“Legends of Jazz Guitar, Volume Two” is essential listening for jazz guitarists
and aficionados of this medium.