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Herb Ellis Trio: Burnin’

Recorded live in Germany at the beginning of last year, this set of standards-which features harmonica player Hendrick Meurkens, bassist Chris Berger, and drummer Chuck Redd-demonstrates that one of jazz guitar’s most esteemed elder statesmen can still turn up the heat.

Probably the surest proofs of the preceding postulate are the album’s two brightest numbers: “Limehouse Blues” and “The Flintstones,” where Ellis’ incendiary licks still manage to impress guitarists in the first row, gauging by the ensuing applause. In contrast, “I Can’t Get Started” and “Wave” frame the guitar in differing grooves and especially show off Herbie’s underrated melodic knacks. And no Ellis album would be complete without a greasy original blues like “Bye Bye Bay,” which swings solidly and features rousing solos by Berger and Redd.

Originally Published