Kenny Burrell

Stormy Monday Blues

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One doesn't place a Kenny Burrell CD in the disc player and worry, "Will this be good?" One just waits to see what kind of treasures the new disc will hold. Stormy Monday Blues, taken from two mid-'70s recordings on Fantasy -- Stormy Monday and Sky Street -- features Burrell playing his bluesy guitar in small-group settings. On the first set, he's joined by pianist Richard Wyands, bassist John Heard, and drummer Lenny McBrowne on standards like the title cut and "One for My Baby (And One More for the Road)." Heard offers an inconspicuous kickoff to "Stormy Monday Blues," outlining the melody with his bass. This quiet, unobtrusive beginning lays down the right groove for an extended, all so bluesy solo by Burrell. Wyands' tasteful support and lead on "Paris Blues" holds to this late-night mood. The only variation arrives unexpectedly on "Why Did I Choose You?," a lovely piece that Burrell plays solo. Saxophonist Jerome Richardson, electric pianist Kirk Lightsey, bassist Stanley Gilbert, and drummer Eddie Marshall are featured on the second set. Originals like Richardson's "Three Thousand Miles Back Home" sound very '70s-ish, meaning funky keyboards and basslines date the material. This is the type of jazz that crossed over onto albums by rock bands like Steely Dan in the mid-'70s. While the four cuts from the second set aren't bad, they really don't hold up to the earlier material. Stormy Monday Blues finds Burrell in the midst of change, swinging hard on one album and adapting to new sounds on the next. Either way, he plays beautifully and this album shouldn't be missed.

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