453

Kenny Burell/John Coltrane: Kenny Burrell and John Coltrane

David Rickert By

Sign in to view read count
Kenny Burell/John Coltrane: Kenny Burrell and John Coltrane Albums in which one jazz great "meets" another jazz great hold a special fascination with listeners and usually the collaboration itself is enough of a selling point to include it as the title. Consider Gerry Mulligan, who tended to record his best playing in tandem with another, like Ben Webster, Paul Desmond, and Stan Getz. Another frequent collaborator was Coltrane, who recorded with Ellington, Hawkins, and Hartman; however, his brilliant quartet recordings for Impulse tend to overshadow recordings such as Kenny Burrell and John Coltrane, which has recently been remastered in 20 bit.

Both Coltrane and Burrell were at pivotal stages in their career at the time of this session. Coltrane, currently with Miles Davis, wasn't afraid to dine with the jazz giants but still couldn't stop putting his elbows on the table from time to time. Burrell was a highly respected sideman, able to fit seamlessly into any context, who also recorded sturdy sessions as a leader. However, what makes this record stand out is the contributions of all five members, who seem to have an equal amount invested in it; this record, which could easily turn into a showcase for the two leaders, ends up as a group effort where everyone gets a chance in the spotlight. Coltrane and Burrell frequently trade off the first solo chair, never hogging the spotlight, and on "Big Paul" the rhythm section is allowed to navigate the changes for a few minutes while the two leads sit out. The end result is a record in which the best is brought out in five musicians rather than three musicians helping two reach new heights.

As you might expect, the soloing is fine throughout; Coltrane's bold tone, marked by dense arpeggios, is a harbinger of early classics like Giant Steps. Burrell, who plays with more of an edge than other guitarists of the era, pulls multiple riffs out of his bag of tricks. We get all this and a bowed solo from Paul Chambers. The highlight of the session is "Why Was I Born?," a duet between Trane and Burrell, which is intimate and beautiful. It's a treat to hear Trane accompanied solely by guitar, a setting that he only explored once. (In Coltrane's case, the answer to the question posed in the title is to record Kind Of Blue.)

Both artists went on to other things after this recording, but it would be interesting to hear what would happen had they recorded again a few years later. Both artists reached their most personal statements in 1964; Coltrane, the spiritual A Love Supreme and Burrell the criminally unrecognized Guitar Forms. In both albums each artist was branching out into new territory and another recording together would certainly have been rewarding. Still, though, we should be glad that we have this session as an example of what can happen when these two great minds came together.

Track Listing: Freight Train, I Never Knew, Lyresto, Why Was I Born?, Big Paul.

Personnel: Kenny Burrell, guitar; John Coltrane, tenor saxophone; Tommy Flanagan, piano; Paul Chambers, bass; Jimmy Cobb, drums.

Title: Kenny Burrell and John Coltrane | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Fantasy Jazz


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Company I Keep CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ma De Re Sha CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ask Seek Knock CD/LP/Track Review Ask Seek Knock
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Air and Light and Time and Space CD/LP/Track Review Air and Light and Time and Space
by John Eyles
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read "Poetry For The Beat Generation" CD/LP/Track Review Poetry For The Beat Generation
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: December 11, 2016
Read "Intenso!" CD/LP/Track Review Intenso!
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 1, 2016
Read "Caipi" CD/LP/Track Review Caipi
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 9, 2017
Read "Tony Kadleck Big Band: Around the Horn" CD/LP/Track Review Tony Kadleck Big Band: Around the Horn
by Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Published: November 11, 2016
Read "Dharma" CD/LP/Track Review Dharma
by Dave Wayne
Published: August 19, 2016
Read "682/681" CD/LP/Track Review 682/681
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 5, 2017

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.