Kenny Burrell

Then Along Came Kenny

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This disc documents two nights that guitarist Kenny Burrell spent at New York's famous Village Vanguard club, in front of a fine trio consisting of pianist James Williams, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Sherman Ferguson. The tunes are mostly standards -- Monk's "I Mean You," Dizzy's "Manteca," Parker's "Yardbird Suite," etc. Everyone plays with wit, assurance and verve, Burrell especially; his tone is warm and rich, and he chooses notes with wisdom and logic. The problem is that his note choices are so logical that you start to wish he'd take a few more chances. His solo on "Yardbird Suite" is so smooth and assured that the whole band gets infected with mild-manneredness and starts sounding like a cruise ship combo; the glib "Salt Peanuts" quote during Williams' piano solo actually sounds sacrilegious in this context. Then there's the production problem -- this album sounds like it was recorded from the room rather than from the mixing board, and as a result, Burrell's guitar is indistinct and slightly buried. Not bad, but Burrell's done better.

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