Out of This World: Kenny Burrell

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Every so often an unexpected gem is discovered.

This magnificent album arrived the other week as a makeweight purchase in with another LP which I tracked down on eBay. When I was looking for something to add to my purchase of Yusef Lateef’s Detroit Latitude 42 30 Longitude 83, I hit on this. Kenny Burrell’s credentials as a jazz guitarist are out there for all to see (nearly 100 albums to his name) and it is great that he is still with us. In all the time I used to play tenor sax (very badly), I had never listened to Coleman Hawkins, although I was aware of him as an early great. I had long wondered about his legendary sound. Shame on me! This LP would give me the opportunity to rectify that. If it was a good listen, that would be a bonus.

First released in 1962 on the Prestige Moodsville imprint, and originally entitled Bluesy Burrell, my copy was re-released in 1968 with the new title, Out of This World, and a fresh cover. This pairing of Kenny Burrell, 31 years old at the time and Coleman Hawkins then aged 58 brought together two extremely proficient musicians.

The band etc:- Kenny Burrell (guitar); Coleman Hawkins (tenor sax); Tommy Flanagan (piano); Major Holley (bass); Eddie Locke (drums); Ray Barretto (conga). Recorded 1962 by Rudy Van Gelder at Rudy Van Gelder Studio. Sleeve Notes (Re-release edition): Chris Albertson. Cover art: Irving Riggs. Cover Design: Don Schltten. Re-released as Prestige 7578.

The track that you need to hear lives at the end of Side 1. Without further ado- Montono Blues brought to you courtesy of grooveaddict on You Tube.

This would have been the opener on many a set. Here it just makes me go ‘Wow, wtf is this!’

What of the rest of the set? Tres Palabras (Three Words- guess which three, it isn’t too hard) is a Latin ballad played on acoustic guitar with plenty of evidence of Hawkins’s robust reedy sound and an elegant solo from Tommy Flanagan. Coleman Hawkins sits out the next two tracks. No More is a short solo guitar piece while Guilty is a much recorded American standard, a version of which by Al Bowlly is featured in Amelie– a great French film from 2001. Then its time for Montono Blues. Its got the feel of Green Onions several years before Green Onions was written. The bass player sings a dialogue with his bass and it sounds as though a bow is used. Coleman Hawkins plays low down and funky. It gets my hips swaying and my fingers clicking. I would love to see a good jazz dancer or two hoof it to this. A wonderful track.

Side Two’s I thought about you is essentially a duet between Hawkins and Burrell while Out of This World is a bit polite but showcases interplay between Kenny Burrell and the percussion. Finally, It’s Getting Dark gets us out of the bar and on route to the edgy night town jazz club of your imagination. Actually, I’ve never been to an edgy jazz club- I’m not sure if they exist in unsanitised form anymore (please advise us all if you can recommend one).

So there you have it. A makeweight purchase (once the initial US postage and the packaging has been paid for, an extra album in the parcel will only add its purchase price plus another couple of dollars to the postage) but I want to tell all my friends about it and encourage them to track it down and buy it.

My copy is vinyl, on the Prestige label, sounds wonderful, is near mint and cost me less than a fiver. The original Moodsville release (Bluesy Burrell) is likely to cost a fair bit more but has a superb abstract art cover that you can find on Google. I want to listen to more Coleman Hawkins- any recommendations? Don’t forget that you can sign up for email notifications of new posts on this site below.

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