Chuck Redd

Chuck Redd Remembers Barney Kessel: Happy All the Time

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Vibraphonist Chuck Redd came to prominence as part of the Charlie Byrd Trio and made a wonderful contribution to one of Byrd's last albums, Au Courant. Here, Redd pays tribute to Barney Kessel, another great guitarist who came to the forefront in the 1950s. He's joined by two guitarists, Howard Alden and Gene Bertoncini, but neither make their appearance before the fourth cut. Redd's vibraphone, then, takes the place of the guitar on "Laura" and "Cry Me a River," providing a mellow, fluid reference to Kessel's bop-based style. Redd is joined by a number of players, but only bassist Hassan Shakur joins him on every track. Alternately, pianists Monty Alexander and Robert Redd appear on three-quarters of the tracks, and drummer Jeff Hamilton plays on all but two of the selections. The collection really takes off when Alden joins Redd for an upbeat take of "On a Slow Boat to China" for an incendiary workout. The two players are a remarkable match on cuts like Kessel's "Swedish Pastry" and "64 Bars of Wilshire." Bertoncini, on the other hand, provides a much lighter, acoustic touch, reminding one of Redd's old partner, Byrd. Remembers Barney Kessel is a good and enjoyable recording, and folks will want to stick around for the ten-minute take on "Slow Burn" at the very end.

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