This CD matches together guitarist Kenny Burrell with the popular saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr., in a quintet also including bassist Ron Carter, drummer Jack DeJohnette and percussionist Ralph Macdonald. The settings gives Washington a rare chance to play strictly straightahead jazz but unfortunately he mostly sticks to his comparatively lightweight soprano instead of playing his gutsier tenor. The music is therefore merely pleasing rather than really being all that historic. Highpoints include "A Beautiful Friendship" and "What Am I Here For."
All Music Guide
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What a joy to make music with these men. Grover Washington, Jr, Jack De Johnette, Ron Garter and Ralph MacDonald are lour of my favorite musicians who are also acknowledged worldwide as being among the best on their instruments.
The idea of recording with these particular creative and versatile artists was both stimulating and exciting. The task of preparing the music for the album was both easy and difficult. Easy because I was inspired by the many musical possibilities to the extent that I ended up with more than enough material. Difficult because of the problem of having to decide which pieces would be the best choices for the album. In the final decisions made by Grover and myself, we tried to select a balanced program that was reflective of both of our musical tastes, and which would serve to highlight the skills of each musician.
Ron, Jack and Ralph not only performed at their usual high level, but they showed an eagerness and cooperation which helped to make the overall feeling of the sessions very positive and relaxed. They are, along with Grover, the epitome of what "professional" means.
Many "thanks" and much credit must go to our two partners on the other side of the studio glass: Frank Laico, our engineer, and Helen Keane, our co-producer who supervised the sessions. They both worked very hard to help us achieve our desired goals.
The initial suggestion of my doing our album with Grover was very appealing to me for several reasons. First of all, I have great respect and admiration for him as a musician and a person. Also, I felt that there had been a good musical rapport between us and that some special things could happen if we got together to record.
Through the years I have observed Grover's musical voice grow stronger and more appealing. While this has ted to greater popularity, it has not, in my opinion, diminished his integrity or growth. On the contrary, his artistic strength and very personal and soulful style have transcended most categories. His success is another victory for quality music.
My first meeting with Grover was in Chicago in the early seventies. One night after a concert he came by the Jazz Showcase and sat in with my group. We hit it off immediately, musically and otherwise. We hadn't played together since then until this album.
I was hoping that during the recording sessions we could recapture the same relaxed musical feeling that had happened between us in Ghicago. It. was oven better. Furthermore, throughout the talks, the rehearsals, the recording and the mixing sessions, we had a good exchange of ideas and thoughts, And I think the pictures from the photography session show that we also had a good time.
It was a very special pleasure for me to do this album with Grover, Ban, Jack and Ralph. I sincerely hope that the album will give you, the listener, some real pleasure and that you too will have a good time as you listen to our musical "Togethering."
- Kenny Burrell
My first introduction to Kenny Burrell was through his recordings of the late 50's and 60's as a leader and with artiste like John Coltrane and Jimmy Smith. I didn't meet Kenny until the early '70s when I stopped in at the Jazz Showcase to hear him after I had played a concert in Chicago. After talking for awhile, he invited me to play the last set with him. We sounded as though we had played together for years. The musical rapport between us was so stimulalng and inspiring for me that when Kenny suggested we do an album together in the future, I said "yes" right away.
That opportunity finally came this past year with Togethering. The chance to record a "straight ahead" album with players such as Kenny, Ron, Jack and Ralph is the realization of a dream I've had for many years. The session was great. Our only problem was picking the right selection of tunes (only because we had so much good material). Also Helen and Frank really added to the music from the other side of the glass.
The balance of artistry and integrity that everyone displayed made this a real musical "togethering." I'm looking forward to the next time!
- Grover Washington, Jr.