Personnel: Barney Kessel (guitar); Bud Shank, Buddy Collette (alto saxophone, flute); Arnold Ross, Claude Williamson (piano); Harry Babasin, Red Mitchell (bass); Shelly Manne (drums).
Recorded in Los Angeles, California. Originally released on Contemporary (3511). Includes original liner notes by Nesuhi Ertegun.
Other than four songs apiece released by Onyx and Verve, the CD reissue of Easy Like, Vol. 1 has guitarist Barney Kessel's first sessions as a leader, performances which launched his longtime association with the Contemporary label. Augmented by two "new" alternate takes, the set features Kessel in boppish form with quintets in 1953 and 1956 featuring, either Bud Shank or Buddy Collette doubling on flute and alto. Kessel shows off the influence of Charlie Christian throughout the performances, with the highlights including "Easy Like," "Lullaby of Birdland," "North of the Border," and the accurately titled "Salute to Charlie Christian." ~ Scott Yanow