Celebrating the release of his 108th album, entitled The Road to Love, legendary guitarist Kenny Burrell delivered a 2 hour set that served as a tempting invitation to purchase the cd in the back of the club as well as simply appreciate the 50+ years he’s been one of the most important six stringers to grace Los Angeles.
Teamed with LA’s finest including Dancing with the Stars pianist Tom Ranier, Art Pepper alumnus Tony Dumas, the “Latin John Coltrane” Justo Almario on tenor/flute and the relentless Clayton Cameron on drums, Burrell showed the packed house all of the benefits and joys of “America’s Classical Music.”
Clicking and cool guitar riffs by Burrell on the opening jumping shuffle blues “Salty Papa” got the toes tapping while his guitar delivered an easy and calm lilt to the gentle “Lil Darlin.” Cameron made his drums sound like a Caribbean street fest on the joyful take of “Raincheck” while he sashayed like Fred Astaire during his feature on the fiery gallop of “Brush Magic.”
On acoustic guitar, Burrell produced thoughtful and spacious moods on “Lament” while Almario’s flute glided over the sensuous strumming on the bossa “Serenada.” Almario wasn’t finished, as he then pulled out his tenor and created an agonizing fogs on the film noirish “Chelsea Bridge.”
Just when you thought that there was nowhere else Burrell and company could go, up to the stage ambles another legend, vocalist Barbara Morrison, who took us back to Kansas City with a rocking “All Right, OK, You Win” before getting cozy with Burrell on “Crazy He Calls Me” and “My One and Only Love” which was augmented by Ranier’s classy piano work. Things ended on a high note as Morrison preached out a message of “The Road to Love” asking the congregation which road leads to salvation while Almario delivered his message from the tenor sax pulpit. By the time the set closed with a stomping “Things Ain’t What They Used To Be,” Burrell had taken the crowd from Brazil to Ellingtonia back to the church, all making up the roots of this phenomena called jazz.