In the 21st century, High Note Records has distinguished itself as a purveyor of exceptionally high-quality offerings by seasoned jazz veterans still playing at the top of their game. This date by Kenny Burrell, Live at Dizzy's Club Coca Cola (a club within the Lincoln Center) is no exception. It was cut on September 9, 2008 during his one-week stand at the venue -- his first extended engagement in the Apple since leaving it for California to head UCLA's jazz program a decade ago. Burrell is accompanied by his regular drummer (and session ace) Clayton Cameron, brilliant pianist Benny Green, bassist Peter Washington, and 24-year-old newcomer Tivon Pennicott on tenor saxophone and flute. While this marks Burrell's debut for High Note, it is the first ever recorded appearance for Pennicott. The band gets right to work on an extended reading of Chano Pozo's "Tin Tin Deo." Burrell introduces it gently, but within a minute, Washington enters and then Cameron. The full band enters at two minutes and the gorgeous Latin groove begins to assert itself in waves beginning with Pennicott's swinging tenor solo. Burrell works all of his harmonic magic on the tune, stretching its rhythmic and lyric possibilities but keeping that loping groove in the center. Another standout is the burning-down-the-house read of Kenny Dorham's "Blue Bossa," with wonderfully inventive work by Cameron and Burrell knotting up his own solo in a multi-faceted chord workout. Green is always in the pocket, pushing Washington and Cameron; and though he plays a backing role, Pennicott's roiling tenor solo is impressive. Washington gets a real chance to shine on Burrell's famous "Bass Face." He not only drives the tune but his solo is rich and multidimensional. (The tune was written as a showcase for Ray Brown.) There are three tributes to Duke Ellington here: the first a strident, rhythmically adventurous take on Billy Strayhorn's "Raincheck," a deeply intuitive, supremely lyric version of "In a Sentimental Mood," and Burrell's solo guitar ballad "Be Yourself." The set closes with a fingerpopping "Bag's Groove." Despite the band's introduction near the beginning, the call-and-response between Pennicott and Burrell, with Cameron's gradually layer-building swing is a fantastic send-off. This is trademark Kenny Burrell: creative, disciplined, and full of melodic blues and grooves.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek