If I’m to be honest, I have to admit that I’ve never been a huge jazz fan. Probably I’m just a little to thick to understand it. Or, maybe I’m too thick to realize that you don’t have to understand it, but rather just enjoy it. In any event, it’s not like I hate jazz or anything, I just never found my way into it.
But then I stumbled upon the video below of Barney Kessel appearing on a show called “Jazz Scene USA.” It really has nothing at all to do with rockabilly except for the influence jazz had on rockabilly musicians and the fact that this is almost achingly cool–just like great rockabilly!
I love the part where Barney explains why he needs so many different guitars. I gotta get my wife to watch that part! And Oscar Brown, Jr….well, he’s the coolest host I think I’ve ever seen!
So, if you came today for rockabilly, I hope you don’t mind some jazz instead. And if you can’t stand it not being rockabilly, then watch and listen closely as Barney rips through solos and flies through stabbing chord progressions. You’re bound to recognize some patterns, riffs, and phrasings that hint at rockabilly and make it easy to see how jazz influenced the rockers. Check it out at about 19:00 for the song “One Mint Julep” to see what I mean. And if you’ve ever wondered where Rockabilly god Brian Setzer picked up that technique for flicking his pick into the fold of his index finger while he switches to finger picking and then back when he wants to flat pick again, then watch closely during “Danny Boy” as you see the master at work.
As Oscar so eloquently puts it, “Later!”