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George Barnes



  • Blue DragBlue Drag S.F. Bay Area✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 55
    Welcome, Alexandra. I was the person that made the "used car salesman" comment, I meant that George seemed like a very un-affected guy and a real kick to talk with. I only wish I had the opportunity to study and "jam" with George. From the time I first saw and heard him on the Tonight Show with Bucky Pizzarelli he (and Django) were my favorite Jazz Guitarists. I did study with Duncan James, his rythym guitarist and I leaned alot and heard a lot of good anecdotes about George. Have you contacted Duncan, I still see him around the S.F. Bay Area?

    What I would like to know is: you had a website that listed all the session work that he had done, is that still active, I couldn't find it again. What a kick it was to see how many Rock and R&B classics he had played on. Most particularly all the Sam Cooke tunes. Sam was another early idol of mine and it was a real treat to know that George had "graced" the records that I loved so much. As someone else above put so well there was just a lot of Joy (and hard swinging) in George's music, a true pleasure to listen to.

    I look forward to your site. I trust that you'll let us know when it's up and running.

  • StevearenoSteveareno ✭✭✭
    Posts: 349
    George was one of the greats and seems like a real character. Having been thru the polyester double knit leisure suit era, I must say (in spite of the bad rap) they were extremely comfortable and popular at the time, although sometimes a bit loud. The fabric was super light, it stretched, didn't need ironing and was considered appropriate office attire (wide poly tie optional). With a white belt and matching white leather loafers you were set for a swinging life of leisure. The short sleeve safari suit and sansabelt (built it stretchable belt) were also hits at this time. 8) Best of luck with your project. As you have noticed from this site and others, there's a big resurgance of interest in swing and jazz guitar from the 30's-60's, with some very talented contemporary players carrying the flame. It's great, timeless music that appeals across a wide and diverse audience.
    Swang on.
  • alexandraalexandra New
    Posts: 3
    Greetings again, from Alexandra Barnes lack of response to Blue Drag, Steveareno, et al is due to the fact that I've been immersed in developing and launching THE GEORGE BARNES LEGACY COLLECTION (as well as helping my mother through a chronic health issue)...but the website is live, and I'm happy to share the link with you all: For those of you on Facebook, please join your fellow guitarists on the George Barnes, Guitar Legend page, if you wish.

    The first release from The Legacy is GEORGE BARNES: THE METHODS, a collection that includes his beginners' course, as well as the masters' course he was producing when he died. A special treat: several recordings of his private lessons with a handful of Bay Area guitarists who took master classes with him. If anyone wants to learn how to play -- or if any player wants to learn more -- it's always a good idea to learn from a master!

    There'll be much more to own, and much more to enjoy on the site (Blue Drag, I'll be posting a list of his session work in the next few days). I do hope you'll join us in the long-overdue celebration of this guitar master! All my best...and, as Mom used to say to Dad before he'd go to work: "Play nice!"
  • Archtop EddyArchtop Eddy Manitou Springs, ColoradoModerator
    Posts: 589
    Hi Alexandria. Congrats on launching the George Barnes Legacy Collection. I just checked out the website. It sounds like you're offering a lot of rare and unique George Barnes products. This is very exciting news indeed.

    A couple of months ago a friend of mine invited me to go to lunch in Colorado Springs with legendary jazz guitarist Johnny Smith. Johnny will be 90 years old this year. While eating lunch, he suddenly stopped and looked me dead in the eye and said, "I loved playing the guitar. I still love the guitar!" When a man that's a living legend and nearly 90 years old tells you this, there is no greater truth!

    Johnny went on to share with me his thoughts about Charlie Christian, Django Reinhardt, and of course -- George Barnes. He told me about when he first received a cut-away guitar from John DeAngelico. He said George and his wife entered the club so Johnny went up to George to show him the guitar. While they were gloating over the guitar, George's wife suddenly turned to them and said, "That guitar looks like a woman with only one hip." He told me how one time he and George had a ton of students in a music store in NYC and George suddenly has to leave and go out west, leaving Johnny with all his students. There apparently were a lot of students, leaving Johnny a bit overwhelmed. It was clear Johnny thought highly of George both as a musician and as a friend. If I understood him correctly, he said that George and his family actually lived in Colorado Springs for a while and taught at Johnny's store. Can you imagine, walking into your local music store and being able to take lessons from either Johnny Smith or George Barnes? Wow! In the end, we had fun talking about Johnny's past but eventually the lunch had to come to an end. Johnny picked up three french fries, wrapped them in a paper napkin and placed them in his shirt pocket. As he was leaving I asked Johnny's son about the fries, and he said, "Oh, that's for his dog." It was a fun day for sure and George was a big part of it. AE
  • StringswingerStringswinger Santa Cruz and San Francisco, CA✭✭✭✭ 1993 Dupont MD-20, Shelley Park Encore
    Posts: 442
    Hi Alexandria,

    Duncan James (a great jazz guitarist) and I have played a few gigs together, he is a friend. If you need to contact him for your project (He isn't getting any younger!), send me a PM and I will send you his home phone number.


    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass
  • alexandraalexandra New
    Posts: 3
    Hi, Guys...thanks for your responses to the GB Legacy Collection!

    Marc, I have Duncan's number, thanks very much...after my father died, his quartet and I performed at Half Moon Bay -- it was one of the concerts the GB Quartet was booked to play, and we transformed it into a memorial. Duncan played Dad's parts, and Glen Deardorf played Duncan's. I sang with them on a few tunes Dad and I used to do together. Toughest gig I've ever played. Then, when I got a call in 2002 from David Grisman's label, Acoustic Disc, about releasing Dad's last recorded performance, I got in touch with the guys to let them know about the CD (which, by the way, Acoustic Disc is re-releasing in HD very soon).

    AE, I didn't know Johnny in NYC -- he moved to Colorado Springs when I was 4 years old, so I didn't meet him 'til we went on the road in 1967, when Dad was developing his beginners' teaching method -- which was originally published in 1970, and is now available through The GB Legacy Collection.

    Over a 10-month period, we lived in Aspen (where he played and recorded with pianist Ralph Sutton), Colorado Springs (where Dad sat in at Johnny's school), Arlington, Texas (another guitar school) and Mahwah, New Jersey -- where we lived at the request of Les Paul for 8 months while Dad helped Les with the "Les Paul Now!" album (which Mom calls "George Barnes Now!" -- if you've heard it, you know why!).

    Earlier in this thread, someone asked how Les has treated my father badly. I can tell that story; I was there.

    Dad never had any students in NYC before 1968, when he founded Taped Instruction International, so Johnny must have been talking about his store in Colorado Springs, which Dad left to go to Texas. I was a kid, so I'd have to ask Mom the circumstances around our departure. I do remember that Johnny was gentle and soft-spoken...and there was something kind of brokenhearted about him, probably due to the loss of his wife. Those were tough times for my dad, as well...again, another story for the legacy...stay tuned :)
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