JazzTimes - p.45
"What a Wonderful World,' a crowd-pleasing nod to Armstrong, finds Burrell shrewdly adding pedal tones and melodic embellishments to the pop favorite."
Personnel: Kenny Burrell (guitar).
Audio Mixer: Wayne Peet.
Liner Note Author: Kenny Burrell.
Recording information: Marjorie Branson Performance Space, Theatre @ Boston Co (11/06/2009-11/07/2009); Marjorie Branson Performance Space, Theatre @ Boston Co (2007); Marjorie Branson Performance Space, Theatre @ Boston Co (2008).
Photographer: Bob Barry.
Kenny Burrell has long been one of the top jazz guitarists, not only for his effortless ability to swing and terrific chops, but for his lyrical way of playing that never goes out of style. This live material comes from a pair of 2007 sets in California, featuring the jazz master unaccompanied. From the opening rendition of "Tenderly" he puts his audience on notice that they're in for a memorable evening. Burrell takes "Tenderly" from a soft introduction into a cooking bop workout. Other standards include an intimate, nostalgic "What a Wonderful World," a conversational, stop-and-go setting of "Come Rain or Come Shine," and a lovely, melancholy "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most." His medley tributes to songs made popular by Billie Holiday and Duke Ellington mix some atypical choices (how many players include relative obscurities like "No More" or "David Danced" in their salutes to these jazz greats?). Burrell's originals include a mellow tribute to another jazz guitar great ("Remembering Wes") and the upbeat, easygoing "Be Yourself" that features his vocal as well. Tenderly is beautifully recorded in front of appreciative audiences, who wisely hold their applause until the last moment to not miss a note by this talented guitarist. ~ Ken Dryden