January/February 1997

Kenny Burrell
Then Along Came Kenny
Evidence Music

Recorded during the same 1993 engagement that produced Evidence's Midnight At The Village Vanguard, this disc-in addition to demonstrating such lofty aspects as Burrell's time-honed depth and consistency as an improviser-just plain cooks from start to finish. While most of the credit for that fact goes to the leader, supporting talents the caliber of Peter Washington, Sherman Ferguson, and James Williams play an important role in keeping the burners set to high.

Burrell's sets often serve as mini jazz history lessons and this one, with tunes by Parker ("Yardbird Suite"), Ellington ("Black And Tan Fantasy"), J.J. Johnson ("Lament"), and Blue Mitchell ("Fungii Mama"), is no exception. Toss in a couple of nice originals and you have a well-rounded collection of vehicles that display most of the guitarist's gifts-including a knack for creating gorgeous melodies ("Then Along Came You"), an ability to creatively negotiate changes while swinging hard ("Yardbird Suite"), and his trademark bluesiness that pervades just about everything he does (but especially makes itself known on "Good News Blues"). A beautiful look at the '90s edition of one of the instrument's greatest players. - Jim Ferguson

Originally published in January/February 1997
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