on 21 May 2009
This is one of those fabulous jazz albums that you can come home to after work, pour yourself a gin and tonic, and just lose yourself in. Turn it up loud and bask in all the loveliness: 'Tres Palabras', 'Montono Blues' and 'Its getting dark' all stand out, but the tracks between are quietly smashing too. And what a dream-team combination: Kenny Burrell inspired on guitar, Coleman Hawkins giving it some welly on sax, Tommy Flanagan heavenly on the piano and Ray Baretto weaving it through with some smart rhythms. Recorded on a rainy september day in New Jersey in 1962, these musicians are on real form. Swinging, sexy, soaring and soothing: buy this and enjoy it for the rest of your life.
All that my fellow reviewer above says is on the money. This is a glorious mixed bag, with the indeed bluesy, sinuous, unemphatically fluent guitar of Kenny Burrell (80 next month) a quiet joy to listen to, rendering the moody, murmourous tenor sax of the great Coleman Hawkins all the more contrastingly complementary on the four tracks on which he`s heard.
The opener, Tres Palabras, is irresistible, drawing the listener in immediately, a Latin-flecked number with an introductory few bars from Burrell, followed by a typically economical solo from the excellent Tommy Flanagan (1930-2001), a pianist I love to hear. He`s a sympathetic foil to the others and plays some lovely phrases on each track. The Hawk pounces on proceedings next with a brief, pointed solo that says in a few bars why he`s one of the greats.
Montono Blues is similarly sensual, if not funky, the nearest this sultry set gets to - whisper it - an almost r`n`b groove. Hawkins pays another blinder of a solo. (I sometimes - ie. whenever I hear him - think Coleman was THE ultimate jazz sax player.) He trades licks with Burrell, and the whole thing is delectable. The following I Thought About You is utterly lovely, Hawk and Burrell answering each other with hushed phrases like the tender conversation of lovers, Burrell playing expressive chords behind Hawk`s hesitant remarks, until the latter takes a smokily gorgeous solo.
Eddie Locke (1930-2009) is not a drummer I know much about but he`s solid enough here and keeps a light, sure beat, all that`s required on a languid date like this one. Major Holley (1924-1990) is on bass, and the illustrious Puerto Rican percussionist Ray Barretto (1929-2006) pitches in on congas on four tracks.
The final, extra, track is with a different group of musicians, and is a more conventional number in some ways, but no less welcome after the preceding atmospherics, featuring a tasty piano solo from Gildo Mahones (82 this month) and the smooth, pleasing alto sax of Leo Wright (1933-91).
It`s the combination of Burrell`s always adroit, poignant guitar, Flanagan`s tuneful, spring-heeled piano, and the weighty yet tremulous sax of the mighty Hawk that make this disc special.
Recommended - to lovers and jazz lovers alike.