Some of Kenny Burrell's best early work ! The album catches Kenny in the perfect Blue Note jam session mode of the late 50s — one used also with Jimmy Smith, and which features a number of the label's star players hitting hard with the main soloist. Players on the two volume set include Duke Jordan or Bobby Timmons piano, Junior Cook and Tina Brooks tenor, Louis Smith trumpet, and Art Blakey on Drums. The cuts have a very open-ended blowing session feel, and Kenny comes through surprisingly well, really picking up steam on a way you don't always hear in more restrained recordings.
Reissue with the latest remastering. Features original cover artwork. Comes with a descripton in Japanese. A real gem from Woody Shaw's greatest period – a very hip sextet session, recorded with Hayes, Cook, Shaw, and a rhythm section that includes Ronnie Matthews on piano, Stafford James on bass, and Guilhermo Franco on percussion. Tracks are long, and stretch out in that searching, modal style that Shaw was using a lot at the time – and although the Hayes/Cook team are listed as the leaders on the set, the record clearly owes a lot to Shaw's influence and style. A wonderful record that we just don't turn up often enough! Titles include "Ichi Ban", "Book's Bossa", "Pannonica", "Brothers & Sisters", and a great take on "Moontrane".
Recorded in 1971, but unreleased in the U.S. until 1999, B.B. King's Live in Japan deserves high marks for exuberance alone. Had Live in Cook County Jail not just jumped into the charts, this live album might have been released long ago. The recording opens with a swelling of enthusiastic cheers, as King launches into an uptempo "Every Day I Have the Blues." There are plenty of other classics here as well, including "How Blue Can You Get?", "Sweet Sixteen," and "The Thrill Is Gone" (which elicits another round of cheering from the opening notes). Live in Japan may not have the long-standing reputation of Cook County Jail or Live at the Regal, but it's an excellent album, with a decidedly different feel from these two classics. King's obvious enthusiasm for his music and for his audience is infectious, and you can hear the sheer joy of it in every note. And, for those who don't really feel that they need additional versions of well-known songs, let it be mentioned that Live in Japan contains King's only live rendition of "Hummingbird," not to mention a couple of unique jams.