Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Hollow-Body & Soul

We'll put July to bed in high style, with a birthday tribute to a legend of legends.
I was reading where he has fallen on hard times healthwise and financially; hopefully he is getting the help he needs.
Born way back in 1931, he is turning 88 today after a decades-long career at the forefront of Jazz guitar.
In fact, the case could be made that today's hero is the primary living exponent of the guitar in Jazz, having helped to solidify so much of the vocabulary of that instrument in the context of improvisation.
His deeply soulful, quintessentially human lines and round, bluesy tone are instantly recognizable in a sea of imitators, even now.
It's almost synonymous, really. You say Jazz guitar, you think of the name of Kenny Burrell. At least I do, and I know I am not alone.
To celebrate his big day, I've got another of those deliciously vintage NPR "Jazz Alive!" broadcasts from back through the mists of time.
This 40 year old gem of a show features KB out front of an all-star group that includes a rhythm section of none other than Leroy Vinnegar and Shelley Manne, the latter of which gives a fascinating interview at the start of the program.
Kenny Burrell & The West Coast All-Stars
1st Annual "Friends of Jazz" festival
Irvine Bowl
Laguna Beach, CA

01 "Jazz Alive" intro & Shelley Manne interview
02 The Common Ground
03 band introductions
04 A Child Is Born
05 Blues In the Closet
06 It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing
07 Now's the Time
08 "Jazz Alive" outro

Total time: 51:58

Kenny Burrell - guitar & vocals
Jerome Richardson - saxophones & flute
Conte Candoli - trumpet & vocals
Art Hillery - piano
Leroy Vinnegar - bass
Shelley Manne - drums

master reel of the original 1979 NPR "Jazz Alive" broadcast
That will about cover it for the month of July... I am hard at work, selecting more fruits of the Big Tree to hit with in August as we heat things up to a feverish archival boil here. 
There's plenty of big birthdays and anniversaries to get to, of this you can be assured.
Don't sleep on this wonderful birthday blast of the exquisite Kenny Burrell though; it's a six-string summer spectacular for certain.--J.

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