Kenny Burrell

On View at the Five Spot Cafe

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Kenny Burrell and Art Blakey played together infrequently during their careers, so this meeting of jazz minds is a welcome occasion. On View is a rather short set issued from club dates at the Five Spot Cafe in New York City. No matter the configuration, this is come-what-may jazz that has no pressurized content, and a relaxed atmosphere allowing the music to organically breathe and come alive naturally. This feeling comes to the fore right away on Dizzy Gillespie's "Birk's Works," a rather polite version as Burrell tosses out his discriminating versions of the melody. Incorrectly identified as "Lady Be Good," this is actually an adaptation reworked by Thelonious Monk titled "Hackensack." It's a fast jam kicked off by a signature Blakey solo, where the band flies by the seat of their pants, and good feelings are fostered through the simple and solid tenor work of Tina Brooks. Though not penned by Duke Ellington, the elegance he displayed and Burrell revered is quite evident during the ballad "Lover Man." Randy Weston's "Beef Stew Blues," Ray Brown's obscure "Swingin'," and the classic Tadd Dameron ballad "If You Could See Me Now" further illuminate how good this group could have been had they turned into a working unit. As the dawn of the '60s saw new breed jazz fomenting, Burrell, Blakey, and company proved you could still swing and remain melodic while creating new sonic vistas.

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