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Danny Barker - Save the Bones (REVIEW - Guitar Player)

During the 1930s, New Orleans' Danny Barker played guitar and banjo behind some of the biggest names in jazz - Teddy Wilson, Lionel Hampton, Louis Armstrong, and Cab Calloway, to name a few. Now, at age 80, he faces the microphone alone, singing standards such as "Bill Bailey," "Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out," and "When You're Smiling" while accompanying himself with warm, straight-ahead comping on acoustic guitar. Danny's relaxed approach, intriguing chord vocabulary, and anything-goes attitude towards lyrics (he works his "reefer-head friends" and 16 chorus girls from the Apollo into "St. James Infirmary") leave his personal stamp on every song. And isn't that, after all, what the essence of jazz is all about?

---JO

 

Originally published in Guitar Player, June 1989.

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