If I was asked by someone who had no experience of jazz what album would serve as a good introduction to the music, I would unreservedly recommend Kenny Burrell's 1967 masterpiece "Midnight Blue." This was recorded at a time when the boundaries of the music were being pushed ever further out and the technical aspects were becoming increasingly complex. Whilst these developments were commendable, Burrell simultaneously produced this album that consists of nothing more complicated than either of blues or blues based material such as "Gee Baby, aint I good to you." Of course, in the hands of great jazz musicians, the simple form of the blues offers unlimited possibilities and "Midnight Blues" is , perhaps, the supreme example of what can be achieved. The disc features the leader's deliciously cool guitar licks with the soulful tenor sax of Stanley Turrentine and the two are ably supported by a grooving rythmn section. "Chitlins con carne" will be familiar with many listeners as it has been employed on numerous TV commercials, but it is true to say that there is not a dull moment on the record. "Mule" gets really low down into the blues whilst "Wavy Gravy" is an infectious 3/4 groover. (If your toes are tapping to this one, you must have seriously have a problem!) However, my favourite track is "Saturday Night Blues" where Turrentine cranks the tension up chorus after stonking chorus.
During the 1950's and 60's the Blue Note label produced a stream of brilliant albums, many of which have justly been acknolwedged to be real classics. Kenny Burrell's "Midnight Blue" is rightly considered to be amongst the upper echelon of these great recordings and is flawless in it's execution. Even the cover by Reid Miles is a classic!!
This is one of my all time favourite records and is unreservedly recommended to those who have not yet been acquainted with it.