Kenny Burrell has led over 100 albums in his long career and is the epitome of good taste and melodic swing, never playing a phrase that would be considered out-of-place or unworthy. He first recorded in 1951 with Dizzy Gillespie and was a major part of the Detroit jazz scene before emerging in New York in 1956. Burrell was one of the very first guitarists to be showcased in a pianoless trio, and when he was signed to Blue Note, he became one of the most influential guitarists in jazz.
However to hear Burrell at his most soulful and bluesy, one has to find recordings where he is teamed with a particularly inspiring stylist. 1963's Midnight Blue is considered one of the most exciting recordings of Kenny Burrell's long career. It was a magical occasion that teamed Burrell with the passionate tenor-saxophonist Stanley Turrentine in a pianoless quintet that also includes Ray Barretto on congas.
With Turrentine (who is immediately recognizable within two sounds) infusing each note with an excess of soul and Barretto giving the blues-oriented music a Latin tinge, Burrell raises the heat and is heard at his most exhilarating and extroverted. His soulful playing on such songs as "Chitlins Con Carne," "Saturday Night Blues" and "Gee Baby Ain't I Good To You" is so greasy and emotional that it reminds one that both B.B. King and Duke Ellington often cited Kenny Burrell as their favorite guitarist.
While Kenny Burrell has recorded scores of albums since this time, Midnight Blue cannot be topped and will always be one of the key recordings that he will be remembered for. This superbly recorded classic needs to be in every jazz collection.
This pressing is on SRX Vinyl. SRX stands for “Silent Running Xperience.” SRX is our own proprietary formula, conceived and developed by Rick Hashimoto of Record Technology and manufactured by Neotech. Its noise floor is fathoms lower than any other vinyl we know of out there past or present. Records pressed with it look like normal black discs until you hold them up to the light and see that they are translucent and smoky, silvery gray in color. The near-perfect silence of SRX Vinyl virtually frees the music from groove noise and draws you further into the listening space, setting it in relief so distinct, full and spacious it’s nearly sculptural. You hear more of what’s on the original tapes, not only of the notes played on the instruments but the experience of the event itself. That's why we call it Silent Running Xperience.
Like all Music Matters Jazz releases, this is cut from the original analog tapes, mastered by Ron Rambach and Kevin Gray at Cohearant Audio, and pressed at Record Technologies Inc (RTI). The gorgeous gatefold jacket is from Stoughton Printing in City of Industry, California and includes exclusively licensed photos from the original session inside.
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