In the liner notes of this remastered 1960 album by Barney Kessel, Kessel talks about the musical process that his band went through while this live recording was in progress. It was a time of transition for jazz as the 50’s were over and a new decade was being ushered in. Kessel was excited about all the changes and freshness that was found in the jazz idiom. He embraced the free form assemblage whole heartedly. You will bear witness to that attitude and progression in every track on this CD.
Swingin’ Party seems so appropriate a term for this kind of music party, and it is exactly that, one big musical party. Kessel’s effervescent personality comes pouring through the music and his positive energy rubs is transferred to his band mates most effectively. He reminded me of Joe Pass at times the way he played his guitar. He was very relaxed and fluid without any pretentiousness whatsoever. His confidence and belief in his art is found in every note, you can feel it. This is another wonderful choice for and Original Jazz Classic, it has earned that title.