on 5 May 2004
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.
on 17 August 2001
This is a gem of an album and should be in every guitar player's album collection. I can't believe it hasn't been reviewed!! Chitlin's Con Carne was covered by Stevie Ray Vaughn who cites Kenny as one of his major influences. A brilliant essay into the jazz blues idiom. Every track is a killer. Jazz buff's, music lovers and musicians alike will love this classic record. Sparse, tender, and tasteful. Enjoy.
Hynotic, subtle and the same time wonderfully soulful this record surely sits within the top five of all time Blue Note releases. It's the ultimate late night session. The consistently wonderfully Kenny Burrell who makes the difficult sound effortlessly simple gives a masterclass in Jazz guitar playing with an endlesss tapestry of smooth licks that melt into the instinctive groove of Stanley Turrentine's sax. It's a partnership made in heaven, they work so languidly off each other on, "Mule" The way Burrell brings in the track on,"Soul lament," with his emotive twanging are classic bars of music. I am also particularly fond of the waltz tempo on,"Wavy Gravy."
This record is wonderfully focussed, Burrell's musical philosophy is stamped all over the music. The rhythm section do some great work too. On,"Midnight Blue," Ray Barretto's conga which keeps the groove skipping along.
Credit must also go to producer Alfred Lion who allowed Burrell scope and time to work through the tracks when at the time it was unusual to give the guitar so much exposure.
This record has a unique mood and feel to it that you simply won't find on other records. If you are just starting a Jazz collection make this one of your essential first purchases.
on 30 December 2003
Wonderful indeed… and worthy of inclusion on anyone’s shortlist of the best late night albums ever made. Kenny Burrell’s & Stanley Turrentine’s superbly cool playing combined with strong blues based melodies and lock-tight backings produce music that completely captures the ambience of a smoky club on a hot summer night. Unobtrusive, unforgettable and packed full of low-key jazz virtuosity at its very best.
This 1967 recording is deservedly Kenny Burrell's best known album; jazz/blues guitar par excellence. The playing from every member of the quintet is creative and restrained, and makes for a sublime and high-quality listening experience. It's perfect to set the late-night mood or for that matter, any other time of day and almost any occasion.
The whole album is so consistently good it's almost impossible to pick out any particular highlight: it just flows, effortlessly. Burrell's playing is virtuoso, understated and minimalist; the perfect counterpoint to the fine sax playing of Stanley Turrentine. Together they weave intricate conversational pieces of intelligence and humour, backed by a clever and interesting rhythm section: Major (`The Mule') Holley Jr on bass, Bill English on drums and the excellent conga playing of Ray Barretto whose inclusion, unexpectedly, adds much to the overall sound. If the listener chooses to become involved the rewards are great, and yet the music is overall so mellow and non-intrusive it might qualify as `easy listening' without any of the usual pejorative associations with the derivative or bland.
If your taste is beginning to mature into an appreciation of jazz, the greatest musical genre of all, then you will never regret adding this minor classic to your collection. If you like `Kind of Blue', the chances are you'll like this too.
on 16 January 2010
I am coming from blues, rock and recently was introduced to Pat Metheny, then one thing
led to another and I got this album by Kenny Burrell. I cannot add anything to other reviewers'
stuff that has not been said: this is marvellous, one for the desert island. This album joins SRV's
Texas Flood, Mighty Joe Young's Sonet Blues Story, Metheny's Road to You, Robert Johnson,
and a few others in my pantheonic guitar album collection. A guitar masterpiece by any standard.
on 29 October 2003
I bought this from Amazon because the sax player is Stanley Turrentine, whose "Blue Hour Sessions" (check that one out too readers) is one of my all time favourites. This CD is in a similar vein. Blues rhythms with a jazz feel, but never losing sight of the blues. Every track, including the 2 bonuses is a winner, taking you to the jazz club you wish you had visited last night when you heart was breaking. Kenny Burrell's funky guitar, together with Turrentine's smooth as velvet sax cooks up a bluesy sleazy recipe for the musical gourmet.
From those good people at Blue Note comes yet another classic session, remastered lovingly (by Rudy Van Gelder, to whom jazz lovers` eternal thanks are due for these releases) and reissued in the original cover, with old and new sleevenotes, along with the stylish, instantly recognisable back cover layout.
The line-up on this 1962/3 date under the name of tasteful, well toned & honed guitarist Kenny Burrell includes Stanley Turrentine (1934-2000) on tenor sax, his sinewy, nicely placed interjections aptly complementing the bluesy ambience of the tracks on which he plays. Burrell himself plays with his customary succinct restraint, his mix of gently strummed chords and always to-the-point improvisatory runs a pleasure to hear.
I don`t always take to jazz guitar, simply due to the somewhat spidery, arid tone some players adopt (at least when recorded) which can have a `neither one thing or the other` effect on this listener. Burrell, however, has a wonderfully full, coolly sweet tone, perfect for this set of blues numbers, mostly written by the guitarist, with the exception of a fine rendering of eighty year-old standard Gee Baby, Ain`t I Good To You.
Burrell`s sole solo, his own brief Soul Lament, is an evocative, beautifully executed highlight of this well-planned disc.
Major Holley Jr is excellent on bass, and Bill English`s drumming is fully fit for purpose, if occasionally a touch pedantic, though an Elvin Jones or a Tony Williams would have unbalanced this mostly serene selection.
Anything but serene is the first of the extra tracks, a welcome uptempo workout, Kenny`s Sound, where the drummer comes into his own, as does Ray Barretto`s conga. This is followed by the second of the extras, K Twist, an unremarkable closer to a hugely pleasurable set.
Not a disc for all moods, the clue being in the title, but a perfect accompaniment to those times when you do need to let gently swinging blues played by master musicians embrace & envelop you.
on 7 September 2000
Kenny Burrell has got to be, for my money anyway one of the greatest jazz musicians (let alone guitarists) ever. His minimalist style almost completely eschews a lot of the unnecessarily fast runs of many of his peers. Burrell and his fellow musicians lay down some grooves on this excursion like you wouldn't believe. From the wonderfully cool latin tone of tunes like 'Chitlins con carne' to the upbeat and simply fantastic 'Kenny's sound' this is one not to miss. As a professional guitarist it's one of those records that at one point I can't stop listening to, and at other points I have to stop listening to just so I don't keep getting so depressed. BUY THIS ALBUM. You will not be sorry.
Late night music, sit in a room with shaded lights, somebody warm to cuddle up to....Midnight won't be blue for you!
I first heard of Kenny Burrell 30+ years ago when I was a RAF wireless technician in Berlin. I heard the AFRS radio station playing something of his, and made a mental note to check him out. There was no chance of getting a record from the NAAFI stores and I couldn't find anything in the US PX stores either, but there was a fairly large selection of record shops in Berlin and so I found an LP. It cost me about three times what it would have cost to buy a Rock LP from the NAAFI and about 4 times what it would have cost me to buy it in the American PX, and It turned out to be an acoustic performance,. Not what I was expecting. But I still have the LP (Black Vinyl - remember those?)
However on this new disc I got what I was looking for - Laid back jazz and lovely it is - not smooth Jazz, but it was real cool jazz. What's the difference?. I guess it's in the timing and the drums.
It really does make a change. I love it and I will be getting more
AFRS = American Forces Radio station ,NAAFI = Naval, army, and Air forces Institute, a kind of multiple store, every base had more that one, Berlin had many , but there was one Large department store in the city.A bit like a kind of like one of the bigger stores you would once have found in a big city. PX= US forces Personnel exchange store similar to the NAAFI.