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This is lovely music that conveys a lovely theme of peace, tolerance, understanding and self-reliance. Although it draws on Jazz for inspiration, and several Jazz musicians are involved including composer/guitarist Burrell, it's not really Jazz, nor is it classical, blues or gospel, but rather a combination of those elements and others woven together to make up the fabric of Burrell's warmhearted message, which is summed up in the disc's candid title, "Love Is the Answer." Its centerpiece is the 17-part Love Suite, whose various sections - "We Must Solve Our Problems," "Try Each Day," "We Must All Work Together," "Loving Is a Natural High," for example - denote clearly Burrell's intentions. Featured throughout is the remarkably well-rehearsed Boys Choir of Harlem (age range, 8-18) who lend a perfect air of dignity and charm. Sandwiched around the Suite are four shorter pieces, "Listen to the Dawn," "Be Yourself," "We Must Find a Way" and "I'm Gonna Do" (on which Kenny chats with the choir), all written by Burrell and all but the first arranged by him (Benny Golson scored "Listen to the Dawn"). If it all sounds like a sermon, that's exactly what Burrell had in mind. The music is as inspiring as it is entertaining. While the Jazz content is minimal, its beauty and purpose shine brightly from beginning to end. A charming gift for one's world-minded friends.
Track listing: Listen to the Dawn; Be Yourself; Love Suite, first movement; Love Suite, second movement; We Must Find a Way; I'm Gonna Do (57:09).
Kenny Burrell, acoustic & electric guitars; James Williams, piano & synthesizer; Ray Drummond, bass; Ben Riley, drums; Greg Ryan, electric bass (9). Guest artists: The Boys Choir of Harlem, directed by Dr. Walter J. Turnbull.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.