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Kenny Burrell: The Ralph J. Bunche Suite

It’s impossible not to sense a certain tension running through Kenny Burrell’s orchestral tribute to the late Nobel Laureate Ralph J. Bunche. Shifts in consonance and dissonance surface throughout, the former evoking Bunche’s nature and deeds, the later suggesting the challenges he faced as an African-American leader and peace activist.

By developing these and others contrasts-in mood, texture, meter, tempo and dynamics-Burrell displays his gifts for composing and arranging in a series of colorful settings. With considerable help from co-arranger and conductor Charley Harrison, the guitarist has crafted an homage that honors Bunche in ways subtle, striking and, needless to say, swinging.

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