peoplepill id: carl-kress
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Carl Kress

Carl Kress

American musician
Carl Kress
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American musician
Was Jazz musician Guitarist Musician Jazz guitarist
From United States of America
Type Music
Gender male
Birth 20 October 1907, Newark, USA
Death 10 June 1965, Reno, USA (aged 57 years)
Star sign Libra
Peoplepill ID carl-kress
The details (from wikipedia)


Carl Kress (October 20, 1907 – June 10, 1965) was an American jazz guitarist.

Music career

Kress started on piano before picking up the banjo. Beginning in 1926, he played guitar during his brief time as a member of Paul Whiteman's orchestra. For most of his career, he was a studio musician and sideman buried in large orchestras, and his name was little known. His work in the 1920s and 1930s included sessions with The Boswell Sisters, The Dorsey Brothers, Bix Beiderbecke, Hoagy Carmichael, Miff Mole, Red Nichols, Adrian Rollini, and Frankie Trumbauer.

Outside of orchestras, Kress played in several guitar duets with Eddie Lang (1932), Dick McDonough (1934, 1937), Tony Mottola (1941), and George Barnes (1961–1965). In 1938 and 1939 he made some solo recordings, the songs "Peg Leg Shuffle", "Helena", "Love Song", "Sutton Mutton", and "Afterthoughts". During the 1940s, he played Dixieland jazz with Bobby Hackett, Pee Wee Russell, and Muggsy Spanier.

Kress was married to Helen Carroll, a native of Bloomington, Indiana, who moved to New York City to become a singer. She was a member of the Satisifiers and sang with Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, and Jo Stafford. Carl and Helen Kress lived in Manhasset, New York. Carl Kress died of a heart attack in 1965 while he was on tour with his partner George Barnes (musician) in Reno, Nevada.


Like many early jazz guitarists, Kress played on the banjo before switching to guitar. The tenor banjo tunes its consecutive strings in intervals of fifths,


and Kress adapted this all-fifths tuning for his guitar


although he down-tuned the A-string an octave.

Before switching to fifths tuning, Kress had used other tunings on the banjo and tenor guitar. His fifths-tuning gave Kress's playing "fuller chords and baselines", according to Lieberson (1996, p. 42). When Kress's duets with Dick McDonough were published, they were transposed from his fifths tuning to standard tuning.

All-fifths tuning is used by other instruments besides tenor banjos. For example, it is used by mandolins, violins, mandolas, violas, mandocellos, and cellos.


  • Guitar Stylist (Capitol, 1953)
  • Something Tender with George Barnes (United Artists, 1962)
  • Guitar Galaxies (Mercury, 1962)
  • Town Hall Concert with George Barnes (United Artists, 1963)
  • Guitars, Anyone? Why Not Start at the Top? with George Barnes (Carney, 1963)
  • The Guitar Genius of Dick McDonough & Carl Kress in the Thirties (Jazz Archives, 1976)
  • Two Guitars Volume 1 with George Barnes (Stash, 1983)
  • Two Guitars and a Horn Volume II with George Barnes, Bud Freeman (Stash, 1983)
  • Pioneers of the Jazz Guitar (Yazoo, 1992)

As sideman

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 10 Apr 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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