Herb Ellis Trio: Burnin’

In his late 70s, guitar legend Herb Ellis can still burn bright. On this album, recorded in 1998, his trio (bassist Chris Berger and drummer Chuck Redd) is bolstered by harmonica wiz Hendrik Meurkens.

For the most part, Ellis easily swings through the set, turning tunes like “Lady Be Good,” “Bye Bye Bay” (an original), and “What Is This Thing Called Love” into the patented brand of swing, bop and blues that has served him so well as a solo artist and sideman. Throughout, Meurkens plays beautifully, demonstrating another facet of his talent by switching to vibes on “Wave.” And while Ellis exhibits a few warts here and there, he romps through the blazing tempos of “Limehouse Blues” and “The Flintstones” as if it were as natural as eating breakfast. All in all, it’s a fine performance that documents a stage in the life of one of jazz guitar’s finest players.