Kenny Burrell and The Jazz Heritage All-Stars play in Hollywood

Jim Santella By

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KennyKenny Burrell and the Jazz Heritage All-Stars
Catalina Bar & Grill
Hollywood, California
Friday, July 13, 2007

While some jazz clubs come and go, Catalina Bar & Grill has continuously brought Los Angeles the best in top-flight music for over 20 years. Local artists as well as influential visiting celebrities closely follow the club's calendar all year round. This night, the attraction was a local artist with a worldwide reputation, as guitarist Kenny Burrell took the stage with his Jazz Heritage All- Stars in a program of standards and originals featuring his unmistakable guitar sound with its smooth, cool tones, tasteful swing, and remarkable technique.

At 75, Burrell has influenced thousands of leading guitarists all over the world. The leader, whose first job was with Dizzy Gillespie in 1951, came up originally from Detroit. His distinctive sound has always harbored a blues-enriched, soulful quality that grew from those Motown roots. As a bebop pioneer, he later moved to New York, next branching out to Los Angeles, bringing with him a coast-to-coast personal mission of teaching young college students about jazz from its very beginnings to present-day avant-garde directions. By keeping in direct contact with jazz's mainstream from a performer's viewpoint and by taking the time to work with college students for over 30 years, Burrell has attracted innumerable jazz fans, performers, collectors and folks who just plain became interested in the music because of the teacher. Ever since he began teaching a course on the life and music of Duke Ellington at UCLA in 1978, the wait-list for his class rosters have been overwhelming. And what college student wouldn't want to jump aboard that "train" to higher learning?

Part of a four-night run from Thursday through Sunday, Burrell's set at Catalina's centered on Ellington with a pure mainstream emphasis. Including favorites such as "Sophisticated Lady," "Cottontail," "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," Night in Tunisia," Gerald Wilson's unforgettable "Viva Tirado" and Burrell's "Mark 1" and "Listen to the Dawn," the program reflected his ensemble's aggressive fire sas well as its fluid legato personality. With a front line of Bobby Rodriguez on trumpet and flugelhorn, Nick DiPinna on trombone, Tibon Pennicott on tenor saxophone and flute, and Jeff Clayton on alto saxophone and flute, the ensemble produced a full, rich harmonic sound that showcased the leader's superb guitar stories well. Bringing up a solid rhythm as well as providing surprisingly strong solo statements were pianist Tom Ranier, double bassist Roberto Miranda, drummer Clayton Cameron and percussionist Mayuto Correa.

Kenny Burrell and the Jazz Heritage All-Stars

Reflecting the mainstream blues and swing of Burrell's latest Blue Note adventure, his set at Catalina's with The Jazz Heritage All-Stars swung hard while showcasing the proud strains of a legendary guitarist with a distinctive jazz sound.

Photo Credits
Top Photo: Scott Mitchell
Group Photo: Jim Santella

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