Friday, November 4, 2011

Kenny Burrell and the Jazz Guitar

RECENTLY I had the pleasure to walk down memory lane with one of my musical heroes, who marked his 80th birthday over the summer and is still going strong.

Here is my story on jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell, who will mark that milestone with a concert on Saturday Nov. 12. Burrell's playing is a very elegant and disciplined take on the blues.

Burrell told me a lot of interesting stuff -- including that his original inspirations were Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins, and that he's generally more influenced by horn players than other guitarists.

Burrell's record Midnight Blue, which has Stanley Turrentine on tenor, was one of the first jazz guitar records to really turn my head around. (I can play the line from its opening track, "Chitlins Con Carne," a little bit.)

One bit I didn't have time to get into the story: When I asked Burrell what the most important thing for him to do when he improvised was, he said, "I listen."

More later.

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