A Twist Of Doc: Jazz Appreciation Month

April 6, 2015

By Devon (Doc) Wendell

So April is Jazz Appreciation Month. I don’t know exactly what this means but I hope it will have a positive impact upon jazz and the jazz community.

Jazz has really taken a beating from the outside world; from the false representation of jazz education in last year’s award winning film Whiplash, to a report by David La Rosa of The JazzLine News in early March stating that “jazz has become the least popular genre in the U.S.”

Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong

This report was solely based on Nielson’s 2014 end of the year totals. Of course these statistics don’t count independent label sales and releases, which renders it an outmoded means of learning what’s truly selling and not selling for any genre of music today.

We in the jazz world are used to dealing with disrespect on a constant basis. From ridiculously untrue stereotypes portrayed by Hollywood; from the historically inaccurate Bird directed by Clint Eastwood, to Bertrand Tavernier’s ‘Round Midnight with its cheesy romanticized clichés that give the non-jazz educated viewer the impression that jazz is a old man in exile in Paris.

John Coltrane

John Coltrane

Anti-jazz propaganda is everywhere. One blogger here says John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” was the “last true jazz recording”; another one there says “jazz is dead”; and on and on. Some of us might complain about Whiplash (which portrays a supposed “jazz instructor” who resorts to physical violence and humiliation in order to inspire his students to greater heights) or some disrespectful comments about Wayne Shorter. But the jazz world moves on fast.

There’s music to be made and we knew the odds were stacked up against us from the very start. But none of it will ever be as potent and as focused as the music, which keeps on growing and swinging. Sure we struggle, but that moment when everyone is playing beyond themselves and challenging one another on the bandstand or in the studio is the true reward and enough to drown out all of the bullshit.

Miles Davis

Miles Davis

Jazz is about being in the moment. A perfect moment even born out of an imperfection or two, depending on the day and the many moods of the players involved. Jazz, at its best is total honesty and clarity. No images of violence, junkies dying in Paris street alleys, or uninformed blogs can take that away from the music.

With all of that said: I truly hope that Jazz Appreciation Month will support and encourage more positive images of the music and the musicians. With or without the negativity, jazz will last forever.

To find out more about Jazz Appreciation Month click HERE, and to find out about International Jazz Day on April 30 click HERE.

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To read more posts, reviews and columns by Devon “Doc” Wendell click HERE.

Funeral: For Clark Terry

February 25, 2015

Saturday, February 28, 2015

10:00 a.m.

Officiated by Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III

The Abyssinian Baptist Church

132 Odell Clark Place

(West 138th Street between Lenox Ave.

& Adam Clayton Powell Blvd.)

New York, New York 10030

The services will take place on Saturday to send home our beloved Clark Terry.  Clark peacefully went home to God on Saturday, February 21st in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, surrounded by his family, students and friends.  He was known internationally for his signature musicianship and gratitude for his love from many.  For nearly half a century, Clark’s greatest passion was helping to make young musicians’ dreams come true.  He was a tremendous source of inspiration, of love, of respect, of decency, and of human rights.  He was one of the first recruits of the United States Navy when black musicians were given the Rating of Musician in 1942.  From being one of the few musicians who played as a featured soloist in both the Count Basie and the Duke Ellington Orchestras, to being the first black staff musician at NBC, Clark had multiple bands including big bands, youth bands and other ensembles.  He was one of the most recorded jazz musicians in history on more than 900 albums.

Clark’s devotion towards mentoring young musicians influenced the lives of worldwide master talents such as Quincy Jones, Miles Davis, Wynton Marsalis and Dianne Reeves amongst countless others.  Clark inspired everyone by example.  As he was quoted in the documentary about his life and love for mentoring students, Keep on Keepin’ On, “Your mind is a powerful asset.  Use it for positive thoughts and you’ll learn what I’ve learned.  I call it getting on the plateau of positivity.”

Clark will be laid to rest at the Woodlawn Cemetery following the service. Funeral services entrusted to P.K. Miller Mortuary, Pine Bluff, Arkansas and George H. Weldon Funeral Home, New York City.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made to the Jazz Foundation of America which has helped over the years to make sure that Clark’s needs were met.  Please note on donations that they be made “In Honor of Clark Terry” to help them continue this work.

Here, There & Everywhere: The Music (And More) That I’m Thankful For

November 26, 2014

By Don Heckman

It’s that time of year again.  Thanksgiving Day has arrived.  And here’s my annual, continual and growing list of the many  reasons I have to be thankful.

Let’s start with my most important reasons to be thankful:

For my beautiful, loving, caring wife: Faith

For my two incomparable children: Allegra and Alex

For my three marvelous grandchildren: Maia, Dimitri and Asante

And now the music I’m thankful for:

* * * * *

Charlie Parker


– Every note Charlie Parker ever played.

– Ditto for Louis Armstrong.  And Miles Davis.

Bebop, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Tadd Dameron, Ray Brown, Art Blakey, Dexter Gordon, Clifford Brown and more.

– The magical spells of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn.

– Ditto for Don Redman, Sy Oliver, Benny Carter, Neal Hefti, Ralph Burns, Gil Evans, George Russell, Bill Holman, Thad Jones and Oliver Nelson. Maria Schneider and her Orchestra.  The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.  The Big Phat Band.  The “Ghost Bands.”

– Count Basie‘s rhythm section (with Freddy Green, Jo Jones, Walter Page).

Billie Holiday


– Billie Holiday‘s “Strange Fruit.”

– Nina Simone‘s “I Loves You Porgy.”

– Ella Fitzgerald‘s Song Books.

– Joe Williams‘ “Here’s To Life.”

Frank Sinatra and Nelson Riddle.

– Coleman Hawkins playing “Body and Soul.”

– Ben Webster playing a ballad – any ballad.

– Sonny Rollins playing “St. Thomas.”

– Almost anything by Miles, Herbie, Wayne, Ron and Tony.

Charles Mingus

– Ditto for Charles Mingus, Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, Lee Konitz.

– Ditto for Thelonious Monk.

– John Coltrane playing “A Love Supreme.”

– Ravi Coltrane playing — right now   Along with Charles Lloyd, Branford Marsalis, Christian Scott, Jason Moran, Brian Blade, Anat Cohen, Joe Lovano, Keith Jarrett, Sonny Rollins , Chris Botti, Wynton Marsalis, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Roy Haynes and many many more.

Antonio Carlos Jobim, Joao  Gilberto, Elis ReginaGal Costa, Caetano Veloso, Teka, Ivan Lins, Gilberto Gil, Eliane Elias, Heitor Villa-Lobos and all the rest of the creators of the marvelous music of Brazil.

Michael Jackson

– The life, accomplishments  and music of Michael Jackson.

– The life and music of Eva Cassidy.

– The life the beliefs and the music of John Lennon.

– The life, music and ideas of George Russell.

– The lives, music and teaching of Ali Akbar Khan and Ravi Shankar.

– The music in the poetry of Rumi.

– The mugham of Azerbaijan.  The ragas of India.

– The lives and music of Blossom Dearie, Russ Garcia, Louie Bellson, Maurice Jarre, Les PaulMary Travers, Mercedes Sosa, Tim Hauser and many more no longer with us.

The singing of Cassandra Wilson, Carol Welsman, Denice Donatelli, Angelique Kidjo, Jane Monheit, Andrea Wolper, Roberta Gambarini, Sheila Jordan, Gretchen Parlato, Tierney Sutton, Karrin Allyson, Nnenna Freelon, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Cat Conner, Cheryl Bentyne,  and many of the others in the overflowing arena of talented female singers.

The Beatles

– The poetry of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen.  The songs of Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Brian Wilson, Paul Simon,  Carole King, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Bacharach and David,  Sting and all the other singer-songwriters.

– The music of Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys, the Beatles, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Joan Baez, The Who, David Bowie, Nirvana, Kanye West, Herb Alpert & Lani Hall (among others).

– Selmer saxophones and clarinets, Fazioli pianos, Pro Tools and Logic Pro.

– The composers and the lyricists whose music will live forever in the Great American Songbook.  Including the Bergmans, Hank Mancini and many more.

The Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and the Los Angeles Master Chorale.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

– Everything and anything by Mozart, but especially the Clarinet Concerto and the Clarinet Quintet.

– The madrigals of Gesualdo.

Beethoven‘s Piano Sonata No. 32.  His late string quartets.

– The songs of Schubert.

Chopin‘s Etudes, Preludes and Waltzes.

– Beethoven‘s 3rd, 5th and 9th Schubert‘s 8th, Mendelssohn‘s 4th,  Brahms‘ 4th,  Tchaikovsky‘s 6th, Prokofiev‘s 1st.

Johan Sebastian Bach

– The Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, the Goldberg Variations, the Cello Suites the Brandenburg Concertos and almost everything else he ever wrote.
– Stravinsky‘s Sacre du Printemps.  His Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet.

– The String Quartets of Beethoven, Debussy and Ravel.

Rachmaninoff‘s Piano Concerto No. 3.

– The Bartok Concerto for Orchestra. His String Quartets No. 3 and 4.

The music, dance and shamanic drumming of Alessandra Belloni.

West Side Story

L’Orfeo, The Magic Flute, The Barber of Seville, Falstaff, Madam Butterfly, Die Fledermaus, Tristan Und Isolde, Three Penny Opera, Porgy and Bess, Hair, Pal Joey, West Side Story

Plus the numerous other gifted artists I haven’t mentioned.

Live Jazz: Sunday at the Monterey Jazz Festival 56

September 26, 2013

Impressions from MJF 56, Sunday

By Michael Katz

Sunday brought its share of legendary virtuosos to the Monterey Fairgrounds, but before we go there, a word about the kids.

Jazz education is the mission of the MJF, and Sunday afternoon demonstrated how successful they have gotten at it. The Night Club had healthy audiences to see the winning high school jazz combos and vocal ensembles. The previous night, the Coffee House had turn-away crowds for the terrific Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors. But the signature group is the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, and they put on a terrific show in the Arena Sunday afternoon. Paul Contos led the band through some fresh arrangements of standards like “Sunny Side of the Street” and Cole Porter’s “I Love You.” Soloists included a fine pair of tenor sax men, Julian Lee and Jyron Walls. Vocalist Brianna Rancour-Ibarra sang “Out of Nowhere,” with polish and verve.

Joe Lovano

Joe Lovano

It was great seeing Joe Lovano working in the context of a big band again, and his soloing on his own “Streets of Naples,” “The Peacocks” (with more lovely singing by Brianna) and “Birds Eye View” were worthy additions to his work as Artist-In-Resident. Elena Pinderhughes added some swinging flute work on “Got A Match.”

Peter Gabrielides

Peter Gabrielides

A special shout out to guitarist Peter Gabrielides, representing New Trier High School (Winnetka, IL) where this writer once stumbled through many a first period on the tenor sax. Gabrielides, who had several blazing solos, made all of us alums proud.

Bob James and David Sanborn were a perfect antidote for the typical Sunday afternoon heat. Teamed with drummer Steve Gadd and bassist James Genus, they led an acoustic quartet through a combination of previous hits and new compositions from their Quartet Humaine CD.

David Sanborn

David Sanborn

Sanborn has one of the more recognizable sounds; it crosses over from smooth to funky jazz and blues. During most of the show the group was pleasant, if not earthshaking, but there were surely some memorable moments. James’ composition, “You’d Better Not Go To College” was a delightful romp. Sanborn’s ballad “Sophia” gave James the opportunity for a sweet piano turn, Sanborn answering with a soulfully plaintive run on his alto. Marcus Miller’s “Maputo” was the source of one of Sanborn’s signature riffs, and “Follow Me” was James’ venture into complicated time signatures, a la the late Mr. Brubeck.

The “hammock” period between arena shows was an opportunity for sampling more from the cornucopia of talent on the grounds. I caught singer Judy Roberts and tenor man Greg Fishman in one of their eight sets from the Yamaha Courtyard stage. This one featured Judy in two of her favorite modes – Brazilian, with an inspired version of “Agua de Beber” (Fishman providing the Stan Getz-inspired accompaniment), and, a few minutes later, a take on Charlie Parker music, testing Roberts’ scatting ability with “Scrapple From The Apple” and a closing Parker vocal riff.

Meanwhile, back at the Garden Stage, the Minnesota group Davina and the Vagabonds, led by Davina Sowers, was tearing things up. Like the California Honeydrops the day before, they had a definite New Orleans sound. Davina is singer, pianist and provocateur, with a little bit of the Divine Miss M in her. Whether belting out a blues like “I’d Rather Go Blind,” or a good-time tune like “I Gotta New Baby,” she was full of life, and the Garden Stage crowd was on its feet for much of the 90 minute show.

MJF 56 was down to its last group of acts, now, and one could be forgiven for making one last trip to the food court and loading up on shrimp-ka-bobs and peach cobblers before they ran out. There were B-3 organs everywhere in the Grounds area, in various concoctions, and even though I was headed for the Arena, I had a vague feeling that I’d be back.

Wayne Shorter

Wayne Shorter

Wayne Shorter was leading an 80th Birthday celebration on the main stage, with an all-star group that featured Danilo Perez on piano, John Patitucci on bass and Brian Blades on drums. Shorter was playing soprano sax, and no one quite gets the lyrical sound out of that difficult instrument like him. With Perez dipping and dancing around him, it was like watching a pair of eagles soaring through the thermals.

Still, I was beginning to feel restless, and with the minutes ticking away from the festival clock, I decided to go back to the grounds and check out Jazz Master Lou Donaldson on his alto. I suppose I shouldn’t have considered that an unexpected treat. Donaldson, at 87, may not get around so easily, but the chops are still there, as is a delightfully raspy blues voice and a deft sense of humor. And what a group he had behind him – guitarist Randy Johnston is a leader in his own right, and Akiko Tsuruga added a lush layer on the B3 organ. When I walked in, Fukushi Tainaka was in the middle of a rousing drum solo; Donaldson then stepped up with a blues vocal, Johnston casually laying off one riff after another. Donaldson’s classic “Alligator Blues” followed, with Lou ripping off the main line and leaving plenty of room for the others. Then, a crack-up blues number, LD singing “It Was Just A Dream.” And finally, a delicious romp through “Cherokee.”

It was back to the Jimmy Lyons Stage for the curtain closer, an extended set with Diana Krall. Diana has had a magical relationship with Monterey, dating back to her debut there at MJF 40. Sunday night she had a new look. Gone was the standard trio, and gone also the full orchestra that had gotten a little stodgy. Her new group provided a fresh perspective, especially with fiddler Stuart Duncan, most recently heard with Yo Yo Ma on the Goat Rodeo sessions. He was a perfect fit for the material from Krall’s new CD, Glad Rag Doll and sparkled throughout.

Diana Krall

Diana Krall

Diana established the tone early with “We Just Couldn’t Say Goodbye.” She retains the ability to take nearly forgotten material from decades past and bring it to life, as she did a few minutes later with “Just Like A Butterfly Caught In The Rain.” But her diversity is startling, or would be if she didn’t pull it off so effortlessly. She did an extended version of Tom Waits’ “Tempation,” complete with reverb mic, and before the evening was out, would touch base with Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, The Band, Jimmie Rodgers and more.

There was a time when Krall was reticent to talk to the audience, but she has developed an easy rapport now, inviting the crowd in for some family patter and a little musical background. Best of all, she had a sizeable amount of solo time, just her voice and piano playing, which remains first rate. “Let’s Face The Music And Dance” had a freshly dramatic quality, separated from the symphonic background. Then there was the Dave Frishberg classic, “Peel Me A Grape.” When she first performed it here at MJF 40, Krall presented it with a delicious sex kitten mystique. But 16 years later, Diana smartly stepped back and sang it with the brisk irony that Frishberg (and Blossom Dearie) intended. “Frim Fram Sauce,” is still wonderfully saucy, and Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You,” didn’t need much adjustment. It is still the same heartbreaker, full of longing.

The quintet behind provided plenty of support. Aram Bajakian shone on guitar (and ukelele, on “Everything Made For Love”), Patrick Warren filled in the sound on keyboards, and the rhythm section was held down by Dennis Crouch on bass and the estimable Karriem Riggins on the drum set.

Meanwhile, Krall continued on with a remarkable tour through her own particular North American Songbook. There was Dylan’s “Simple Twist of Fate,” delivered with touching simplicity, and “Sunny Side of the Street,” with Duncan performing a lively jaunt on his fiddle. Another nod to Nat King Cole with “Just You, Just Me” (not to mention a nod to Bill Evans). And from there, a bluesy blast of The Band’s “Ophelia.”

It is hard to imagine another vocalist who has that kind of range today, and can do it all so movingly.

Finally, Krall shared with us the only song, or so she claims, that her 7 year old twin boys actually like. It was Jimmie Rogers’ “Prairie Lullaby,” delivered again with simplicity and grace. A perfect way to close the curtain. And that was it for MJF 56.

A few closing thoughts on the festival…It’s been noted by some that overall attendance was down a little, thanks mainly to a storm that rattled through the Bay Area Saturday, cutting down on some of the traditional walk-up gate. That’s too bad, because the Grounds line-up was diverse and outstanding from start to finish. There was plenty to like at the Arena, too, but it’s worth noting that practically every act had appeared in LA within the last six months, most of them this summer. Of course it is difficult to book 5 shows of headliners without dipping into the summer tours, but it would nice to have a few more “Made For Monterey” acts that traditionally make the Festival a can’t-miss event for us SoCal types.

The Monterey Shore

The Monterey Shore

So now I type these last words on a Tuesday morning from my B and B in Pacific Grove, where I hung on for an extra day. It seems empty – my friends that came up for the festival are gone. All those wonderful music fans and musicians who reunite the third weekend in September have dispersed, returning to far flung homes, or back on the road. The last chords of music echo from venues now reverted to fairgrounds out-buildings. The Hyatt Lounge is just another bar.

One last walk along the sea shore, listening to seals playfully barking, pelicans on the wing overhead.

See you next year, Monterey.


All photos, except Wayne Shorter, by Michael Katz.

Wayne Shorter photo by Tony Gieske.


Don’t forget to check out Michael Katz’s new novel, Dearly Befuddled, available in paperback and E-book at Amazon.  And Read Mike’s Blog at Katz of the Day.


Video of the Day: Hans Groiner Corrects Thelonious Monk

September 8, 2013

Hans Groiner (Larry Goldings in disguise) offers some new perspectives on the music of the inimitable Thelonious Monk — with a few laughs along the way. 

Book Review: “Bird: The Life and Music of Charlie Parker,” by Chuck Haddix

July 21, 2013

By Brian Arsenault

When I first heard Bird: The Savoy Recordings so many year ago I thought that Charlie Parker must be from a different place, a different planet, somewhere in a galaxy far far way.  And I was sort of right.

He was from the remarkable jazz planet of Kansas City, Missouri in the third and fourth decades of the twentieth century. Ben Webster, Lester Young, Count Basie and many others were part of that place and time that spawned the greatest of them all.

In his soon to be released Bird: The Life and Music of Charlie Parker,  Chuck Haddix takes us on Parker’s journey from mediocre musicianship in KC to world renown fame in New York, LA. and Europe. But Haddix starts in that remarkable time in Kansas City.

It is one of the ironies of history that Missouri — from whence vicious rebels, from Quantrill to Bloody Bill Andersen to the James Brothers, raided free state Kansas on behalf of the Confederacy — became in Kansas City a rollicking free wheeling center for black musicians in large black neighborhoods of all kinds of commerce, intermingling with white ethnic neighborhoods, often quite comfortably.  The state of Kansas, meanwhile, stayed largely white, conservative in religion and politics.

Haddix gives us a feel for all that and if he spends too much time listing all the musicians in all the bands that ever played in the city and its environs, well, he is the Director of the Marr Sound Archives at the University of Missouri at Kansas City.  The home of a very fine music department, by the way.

Haddix’s work is very important because Parker is so very important. A history of Bird is, among other things, the history of bop jazz, unimaginable without him. Bird was a very great American artist among other great American artists.

What is it they say near the start of The Lord of the Rings: “History becomes legend. Legend becomes myth.”  Something like that.

And Charlie Parker is shrouded in myth.  The myth of enormous appetites: in alcohol, in drugs in food, in intimate relations.  Haddix notes for one thing that Parker was married simultaneously to Rebecca, Gerri and Doris.  That’s at the same time, folks, while also living in a common law marriage with children with a woman named Chan.

Rather like Jack Kerouac’s character Dean Moriarty and women in On the Road. Dean of course was a huge bop fan.

Haddix doesn’t gloss over any of Parker’s sides — unreliable, not showing up or showing up stoned for gigs, constantly disappearing in an ongoing search for drugs, chumping friends and business associates for money.  But Haddix is never sensational or salacious about it. He also shows us the generous Parker, the loving if frequently absent father, the kindnesses to lesser musicians, the enormous charm and charisma.  How else could he have had so many women, several of whom tolerated his massive infidelities.

With great artists you sometimes get great ranges in behavior.  Hemingway was capable of great kindness and great boorishness.  Joyce’s long suffering wife, Nora, frequently had to seek his drunken self in midnight Trieste, the booze paid for by money he scammed from his brother.

There’s more than a little hint of racism when whites nod sagely at the news that a black musician was, well, you know. Papa Hemingway would have had no trouble keeping up with Bird at the bar.

An artist must ultimately be judged by his work.  Who are we lesser beings to judge a life other than our own (if we dare)?  And in a very readable style Haddix shows us what a significant, brilliant musician Parker was. You may not get all the descriptions of Parker’s musicality if you aren’t musically schooled. I didn’t. But you will get Bird’s significance to American music, our greatest art form.

This is important.  Parts of our own history gets lost to us because they are seldom taught.  And any history of music in America without jazz is simply irrelevant.  And you cannot write a history of American jazz without Bird.

I said at the beginning how dazzled I was on first hearing Parker’s playing.  I was heartened in the book by Dizzy Gillespie’s remark that he’d “never heard anything like it before.  The way he assembled notes together.”  Yeah.

Gillespie is rightly credited by Haddix as the “co-founder” who actually inadvertently coined the name bebop. He and Parker were intense competitors and marvelous collaborators.

Critic and jazz historian Ira Gitler in the liner notes to my battered copy of Bird: The Savoy Recordings quotes drummer Stan Levey who played with Parker in the 1940s:

“My first impression of Charlie’s playing was that he was sort of a Pied Piper. I’d never heard anything like it.  I didn’t really know what he was doing but it made me feel good to listen to him.”

That’s about three of us so far who’d never heard anything like it.  Despite Parker’s many imitators and inheritors, I still haven’t.

I read much of the book listening to those Savoy recordings from the mid-1940s when Parker was arguably at his very best.  There’s a song called “Meandering” and it’s not full of the Parker famed double time and eighths and sixteenths.  It’s simple little ballad, a soft melody. It made me stop reading and just listen. Listen. It’s my greatest hope for the book that people will listen to Bird yet again or for the first time.

Charlie Parker began playing and hanging around clubs at 12.  He was gone at 34. Chuck Haddix has illuminated all that he did in between.

* * * * * * * *

To read more posts, reviews and columns by Brian Arsenault click HERE.

Live Jazz: The Kenny Burrell Quintet at Catalina Bar & Grill

June 30, 2013

By Don Heckman

Kenny Burrell took a break Friday night from his academic duties at U.C.L.A., where he has been the driving force behind the establishment – and the expansion –  of the University’s superb jazz program.

Working with his quartet at Catalina Bar and Grill, his far-ranging performance recalled some of the high points in his stellar career as an iconic master of the jazz guitar.

Kenny Burrell

Kenny Burrell

Moving from electric to acoustic guitars, Burrell played with the engaging mixture of subtle chording, brisk rhythms and arching melodies that have characterized his work since he arrived on the national jazz scene in the early ‘50s.  He combined those elements with particular effectiveness on standards such as “Make Someone Happy” and “Bye Bye Blackbird.”  And when he switched to an acoustic guitar for the classic lyricism of Michel Legrand’s “The Summer Knows” and Duke Ellington’s “In A Sentimental Mood,” his musical storytelling reached into even greater areas of expressiveness.

Other tunes, drawing a full set of colors from the Burrell musical palette, included a brief pass into the rhythms of bossa nova and a briskly swinging romp through the jaunty pulse and twisted phrases of Thelonious Monk’s “Rhyhm-a-Ning.”  In each case, he displayed his creative adaptability with élan and imagination.

Llew Matthews, Kenny Burrell, Tony Dumas, Clayton Cameron and Justo Almario

He was superbly aided by the world-class playing of his quintet, with the musically eclectic Justo Almario on tenor saxophone and flute, Llew Matthews on piano, Tony Dumas on bass and Clayton Cameron on drums.  Each provided Burrell with the benefits of their special talents: Matthews balanced solid accompaniment and crisp soloing with spontaneous arrangements; Almario moved from fast-fingered tenor saxophone solos to warm flute sounds: Dumas, as always, provided an irresistible foundation; and Cameron’s propulsive drive was ever-present, whether playing laid-back brushes or clamoring sticks.

Call it an appealing musical get together between a gifted group of players.  And give full credit to the versatile Burrell for leading the way through a memorable evening of music.

Tonight, the Kenny Burrell Quintet wraps their three night run at Catalina Bar & Grill. Don’t miss them.  Burrell also returns to Catalina Bar & Grill on Monday, July 15 in a larger setting, leading his L.A Jazz Orchestra Unlimited.

* * * * * * * *

Photos by Bob Barry.


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