Carl Kress

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Carl Kress
Carl Kress, June 1947 (Gottlieb 13331).jpg
Carl Kress, c. June 1947
Background information
Born (1907-10-20)October 20, 1907
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
Died (1965-06-10)June 10, 1965
Reno, Nevada
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1926–1965
Associated acts Dick McDonough, George Barnes, Paul Whiteman, Eddie Lang

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

Music career[edit]

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.[1]

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.[1]

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.[2] Carl Kress died of a heart attack in 1967 while he was on tour in Reno, Nevada.[1]


Kress sometimes tuned his guitars in all-fifths tuning, which has perfect fifth intervals between its consecutive strings.

B-F-C-G-D-A.[3] All-fifths tuning is used by mandolin, violin, mandola, viola, mandocello, and cello.[4]



  • "Afterthoughts" (Kress)
  • "Chicken a la Swing" (Kress/McDonough)
  • "Danzon" (Kress)
  • "Feeling My Way" (Kress/Lang)
  • "Pickin' My Way" (Kress/Lang)
  • "Love Song" (Kress)
  • "Peg Leg Shuffle" (Kress)[5]

As sideman[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Yanow, Scott (2013). The Great Jazz Guitarists. San Francisco: Backbeat. pp. 113–114. ISBN 978-1-61713-023-6. 
  2. ^ "Helen Kress". Seacost Online. 6 March 2011. Retrieved 9 August 2017. 
  3. ^ Lieberson, Richard (1996). "Swing Guitar: The Acoustic Chordal Style". In Sallis, James. The Guitar in Jazz: An Anthology. Lincoln [u.a.]: University of Nebraska Press. p. 92. ISBN 978-0-8032-4250-0. 
  4. ^ Sethares, Bill (2001). "Regular Tunings". Alternate Tuning Guide (.pdf). Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Department of Electrical Engineering. pp. 52–67. Retrieved 19 May 2012. 
  5. ^ "Carl Kress | Songs". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 August 2017. 
  6. ^ "Carl Kress | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 August 2017.