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Prestige Profiles:Kenny Burrell Vol.7 by Kenny Burrell

It's a wonderful treat to hear Kenny Burrell, one of the world’s outstanding guitarists, in his formative years, playing with legendary greats, as well as contemporaries who would develop into the world’s best.

Jazz fans get this chance with the issue of this CD in the Prestige Profiles series. In this project, Fantasy and Concord are bringing back recordings put out by Bob Weinstock during his over 20 years at the helm of Prestige Records, from 1949 into the early seventies.

This selection from Burrell's releases, recorded 1956 through 1963, show the young guitarist's evolution as he developed his unique style, influenced by Charlie Christian and Oscar Moore. The stature of his playing evoked this quote by young guitar star, Russell Malone: "He can take one note and just lay you out."

One of the pleasures in listening to the CD is hearing Burrell performing with legendary figures--trading bars with tenor great Coleman Hawkins, wailing in a duet alongside organist Jack McDuff. As well, Burrell appears here in various configurations with such emerging stalwarts as John Coltrane, Donald Byrd and Hank Mobley.

For example, in "It’s A Wonderful World," Burrell lays down the rhythm for the soaring sound of McDuff. Just the two, and you can literally feel the sound even at normal volume. On "All of You," by contrast, Burrell begins slowly and meditatively, soon joined by pianist Tommy Flanagan. Then the tempo warms, fueled by Doug Watkins on bass and Elvin Jones, drums, and they're cookin' until it's done.

"Boo Lu" displays Burrell in a septet setting. This Mobley original begins with an infectious riff on flute by Jerome Richardson. With the driving beat of drummer Arthur Taylor, the number evolves into a swinging solo stretch on flute. Burrell comes in, followed by trumpeter Donald Byrd and tenor Mobley who all make their substantial contributions.

Coltrane is featured on "I Never Knew." His powerful tenor spurs Burrell on to one of his best improvisations. Coltrane also joins in on "Minor Mishap," which features Idrees Sulieman's blistering trumpet run.

The CD’s climax comes with the 19-minute "All Day Long." In the beginning, Burrell again sets a leisurely, bluesy pace with each musician taking the cue, stretching out for his soulful turn-trumpeter Byrd, pianist Tommy Flanagan-but Frank Foster steals the show with his burry-toned, Lester Young-influenced lament.

As with each record in the series, buyers get a bonus CD with their purchase. This one features numbers by Tal Farlow, George Benson, Jimmy Raney, Jack McDuff, Rusty Bryant and Jo Jones.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Kenny Burrell
  • CD Title: Prestige Profiles:Kenny Burrell Vol.7
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2005
  • Record Label: Prestige Records
  • Rating: Four Stars
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