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Bluesy Burrell

Kenny Burrell

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Album Review

This session is valuable for the majestic playing of tenor great Coleman Hawkins, who performs on half of the eight tracks. While originally released on the Prestige subsidiary Moodsville — a label that specialized in recordings with an intimate, reflective atmosphere — the Moodsville sound doesn't sit comfortably on Hawkins. His playing is brilliantly relaxed, but it's not mood music. Leader Kenny Burrell's playing is much more in line with the Moodsville groove. The guitarist is not amplified as much as he is on his Prestige dates from this time. In fact, he performs on a nylon-string instrument almost as much as he does on his hollow-body electric. Unlike Hawkins, Burrell's subdued contribution is made to measure for this date. Listeners expecting to hear Burrell the hard bopper won't. The key moments come during the interaction between the guitarist and tenor player, especially during their exchanges on Burrell's "Montono Blues." The rhythm section, Hawkins' working band from this period (pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Major Holley, and drummer Eddie Locke), provide impeccable, sublime support. The CD is rounded out with an up-tempo performance of the standard "I Never Knew," from a date led by pianist Gildo Mahones. This is where Burrell gets a chance to cook in his classic hard bop style, along with the fine alto player Leo Wright.

Biography

Born: 31 July 1931 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the leading exponents of straight-ahead jazz guitar, Kenny Burrell is a highly influential artist whose understated and melodic style, grounded in bebop and blues, made him in an in-demand sideman from the mid-'50s onward and a standard by which many jazz guitarists gauge themselves to this day. Born in Detroit in 1931, Burrell grew up in a musical family in which his mother played piano and sang in the Second Baptist Church choir and his father favored the banjo and ukulele. Burrell began...
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