Kenny Burrell

Jazzmen Detroit

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As Detroiters like Kenny Burrell, Pepper Adams, and Tommy Flanagan were migrating to New York in the mid-'50s in a modern jazz takeover, Pittsburgh drummer Kenny Clarke made known his intentions to support these new Young Lions by being their drummer of choice. This album is nearly the same as the equally excellent and highly recommended effort Kenny Clarke Meets the Detroit Jazzmen, save one extra selection. Burrell is the ostensible leader on this six-track set, but the members of this finely honed quintet (including dual Detroit/Pittsburgh claimant citizen bassist Paul Chambers) can all take equal roles, and eventually would as frontmen in their own right. The guitarist's contributions "Your Host" and "Tom's Thumb" contrast in style, with the former an ultimately cool tune as Burrell leads out, Flanagan's vibe-like piano chords and Adams' whiskeyed baritone shining through, and the latter a kind of cute blue song, in many ways precluding what Grant Green would establish as a signature sound. As polite as "Afternoon in Paris" is in a semi-shuffle mode under Flanagan's elegance, the bluesy swinger "Apothegm" from Adams and the standard "You Turned the Tables on Me" have the low horn and Burrell's guitar cleverly switching roles, either in unison or in and out of the melody spontaneously. "Cotton Tail" is the burner of the set, as Adams, Burrell, and Flanagan trade main lines, riffs, phrases, a second chorus, and solos. Unquestionably a marvelous effort, albeit a short one (there must be alternate takes somewhere), this is an essential LP, and previews the further grand efforts of all of the participants.

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