Deaths Elsewhere

May 09, 2004

Barney Kessel,

80, a jazz guitarist who performed with Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker and Art Tatum and backed other music greats, died of brain cancer Thursday at his San Diego home.

His early style was heavily influenced by electric guitarist Charlie Christian, but he branched out in his early 20s, working with the big bands of Artie Shaw, Charlie Barnet and Benny Goodman. He was the only white musician in the 1944 jazz film Jammin' the Blues produced by Norman Granz.

He served as a music ambassador during the Carter administration, becoming only the third person to be named to that office, along with Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie. His performing career ended with a stroke in 1992.

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