Kenny Burrell – Soulero

Jimmy Smith and Kenny Burrell
Kenny Burrell – Soulero from the Cadet Records 45

I’m still on a high after meeting Mick Jones Wednesday night. It’s not often you get to rub elbows with musical greatness, but I’m glad I got to do it, and by the way, his new project rocks. This weekend is a busy one as well, with the Red Bulls home opener against Columbus, plus another Asbury Lanes Record show and Garage sale on Sunday. All this week there has been an unintentional theme, so I figured I’d throw another funky Jazz guitar side out to finish off the week. Here’s Kenny Burrell with “Soulero” on Cadet Records.

Born in 1931 in the Motor City, Detroit, MI, Kenny Burrell was the product of a musical family. His grasp and mastery of the instrument was evident at age 12. He would continue his secondary education at Wayne State University, where he would play with The Dizzy Gillespie Sextet for a short period in 1951. (Burrell was Diz’s favorite guitar player he said.) Burrell would move on to tour with The Oscar Peterson Trio ( where he briefly replaced Herb Ellis) before moving to New York City in 1956. Here he would start his music career as an in demand sideman, as well as a band leader. His career started off with Blue Note and Swingin’ in 1956, and has kept steady until the present day. He’s recorded for Savoy, Verve, Prestige, Argo, Columbia, Chess, CTI, Cadet, Fantasy and others. As mentioned earlier, his sideman work includes stints with Gil Evans, Stan Getz, Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, Quincy Jones, Yusef Lateef, Milt Jackson, Herbie Mann, Lalo Schifrin, Herbert Laws, Jimmy Smith, and the list goes on. His reputation is evident from the recordings he’s been on. He has played a bop style, and has adapted to different genres throughout his career, and is considered to be a bit more simple and more of a conservative player to his peers. Equally comfortable as a soloist, big band member or his most popular group style of a trio, the man has recorded close to 100 records in his career. He continues to play music, and teach at UCLA at the present day.

Soulero starts out with almost a Flamenco/ South Pacific feel. Building up to a nice little pace, Burrell starts to wail, and the composing of Richard Evans starts to shine. The arranging of Evans is interesting as well. This piece easily could have been on a soundtrack to a movie or a detective television show. He has a knack for being great with an orchestra, especially strings. Please see my review of Evans in a previous post here at FMF for more info on the unsung bass player and musical genius . All in all, this side is more of a Jazz side than the Funk you may be used to, but it is funky in it’s own way. Burrell is amazing, and there is a reason why he is one of the greats. Soulero would be covered by greats like Eddie Higgins, Sonny Cox, Paul Jacobs, and Bob James. See you over the weekend. Keep Diggin’!

Please take a minute to reflect on the assasination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Lorainne Motel in Memphis 40 years ago today.

In 2008, remember, there is still hope.

2 responses to “Kenny Burrell – Soulero

  1. Another great Evans arrangement! I think that the opening beat is a reference to Ravel’s ‘Bolero’ (thus ‘Soulero’)…
    See you on Sunday.

  2. Kenny Burrell is pure sophistication.
    I’ve been a fan of his since 1963. Burrell is instantly recognisable within one bar.
    You’ll never find a nicer person than Kenny.

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