Carl Kress was an American jazz guitarist born on October 20, 1907 in Newark, New Jersey.

Carl Kress began his musical career by playing piano in the early 1920s and later with banjo and tenor guitar. In 1926, he performed with a popular American orchestral leader ‘Paul Whiteman’ and continued his career as a studio guitarist. Carl Kress has performed with many musicians in the late 1920s and 1930s, which include Red Nichols, Bix Beiderbecke, Miff Mole, Frankie Trumbauer, Eddie Lang, Jimmy, Adrian Rollini and Tommy Dorsey. Carl’s early recordings were made with the tenor guitar.

Carl Kress
Carl Kress

Carl Kress shifted to six-string guitar in the early 1930s. He is known for his chordal style on acoustic guitar and introduced a new way of playing rhythm guitar. Carl has left major number of recordings of his playing as he was in great demand by studios and orchestras. At the same time he was working with radio stations and recorded some of the finest duet songs with Eddie Lang, Tony Mottola and Dick McDonough.

Carl Kress has played duo with Muggsy Spanier in 1944, Pee Wee Russell in 1945, Tommy Dorsey and Bobby Hacket in 1949 and Pearl Bailey. He worked with Gordon Jenkins orchestra along with Louis Armstrong. After the death of McDonough in 1938, Carl joined with the swing jazz guitarist ‘George Barnes’ in 1961 and recorded duo.

In 1940s, Carl Kress worked as a record producer for Capitol Records. He was a co-owner of the “Onyx Club” on 52nd Street in New York City.

Carl Kress died of a heart attack on 1965.

Some of his albums include;

  • ‘Afterthoughts’ (Part 1) and ‘Afterthoughts’ (Part 2 & 3) in 1938
  • ‘Helena’, ‘Peg Leg Shuffle’, ‘Sutton Mutton’ and ‘Love Song’ in 1939