Kenny Burrell – The Road to Love (2015) [HDTracks FLAC 24bit/44,1kHz]

Kenny Burrell – The Road to Love (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 01:12:29 minutes | 800 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Booklet, Front Cover | © HighNote Records
Recorded live at Catalina’s, Hollywood, CA on May 30-31, 2015

Few can claim the title of living legend. Kenny Burrell is just such a person. In fact he’s more he’s living history, past, present and future. His credentials are voluminous and accomplishments staggering, and he hasn’t stopped. Today, he is active recording and performing, a respected educator, and an elder statesman of the music. His legacy is pervasive. His soulful sound and approach have influenced virtually everyone claiming a jazz pedigree but extends to many outside the genre, a la Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Wonder, Steve Howe, Andy Summers, and Freddie King. Here Burrell is backed by some of his favorite West Cost colleagues in a varied program of standards and few originals by the leader himself, including one brand new composition. Also on hand is the exuberant voice of Barbara Morrison who brings her tremendous talent and personality to three tracks.

Still vitally active well into his mid 80s, jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell is as dependable as one’s prized Rolex watch. As the watch can keep time impeccably, so can Kenny, but he can also inspire, and bring on a deep sense of effortless swing.

Witness his latest CD on High Note Records, recorded live at Catalina’s over this past Memorial Day weekend. With a blend of Burrell’s tunes combined with mostly well-known classics, Kenny keeps the Hollywood audience satisfied. Adding saxophonist/flutist, Justo Almario, to a crack LA-based rhythm section expands the sound palette to add some punch to Kenny’s bluesy guitar lines. It is rare to get the opportunity to hear Mr. Burrell provide commentary on a third of the eighteen tracks. It peaks a listener’s interest and provides a feeling of attending the live session.

Pianist Tom Ranier is more than an able accompanist, as he is there every step of the way with piano fills and soloing when the time is right. Reed man Almaro sets no new ground, but also fits right in and can dig in when called upon such as on the opening, “Salty Papa.” On “Serenata” Almaro’s flute section provides a nice addition to Burrell’s Latin lines and Cameron’s percussion. I seldom tire of hearing Neal Hefti’s “Li’l Darlin’” and Kenny does not disappoint. The familiar strumming of the known melody is so sweet.

Clayton Cameron’s brush work is put to strong use on Kenny’s tune,”Brush Magic,” (likely written for Clayton, who has been with Burrell for over ten years). It’s followed by a sublime “Listen to the Dawn,” on which Almaro’s flute is ethereal. It’s a relatively rare opportunity to experience Burrell playing acoustic guitar, and on “Someone to Light Up My Life” and Ellington’s “Single Petal of a Rose,” Kenny puts on a clinic appropriate for a concert hall. Fortunately with warm acoustics we have a front row seat, and on headphones it would be a guitar lover’s dream.

Kenny offers a tribute to his friend, B. B. King, (who passed away just a few weeks before this live session), on “Confessin’ the Blues.” This swinging session concludes with the soulful Barbara Morrison interpreting Ellington and Billie Holiday.

Jazz guitar heaven is keeping a warm seat ready for Kenny Burrell. If we’re lucky it’ll be quite awhile before that time happens. —Jeff Krow, Audiophile Audition

1 Salty Papa 07:26
2 Serenata 06:22
3 Li’l Darlin’ 06:36
4 Spoken Introduction to Brush Magic 00:17
5 Brush Magic 07:27
6 Listen to the Dawn 06:31
7 Teach Me Tonight 04:41
8 Spoken Introduction to Someone to Light Up My Life 00:17
9 Someone to Light Up My Life 05:28
10 Spoken Introduction to Single Petal of a Rose 00:19
11 Single Petal of a Rose 04:11
12 Spoken Introduction to Confessin’ the Blues 00:59
13 Confessin’ the Blues 05:42
14 Spoken Introduction to The Road to Love 00:41
15 The Road to Love 05:16
16 Spoken Introduction to Crazy He Calls Me 00:10
17 Crazy He Calls Me 04:58
18 Things Ain’t What They Used to Be 05:08

Kenny Burrell, electric & acoustic guitar
Barbara Morrison, vocals #15,17,18
Justo Almario, tenor saxophone, flute
Tom Ranier, piano
Tony Dumas, bass
Clayton Cameron, drums
Marvin “Smitty” Smith, drums #15