For this 1957 studio session (which has been reissued on CD through the Original Jazz Classics imprint), the two distinctive but complementary guitarists Kenny Burrell and Jimmy Raney are teamed together in a septet with trumpeter Donald Byrd, altoist Jackie McLean, pianist Mal Waldron, bassist Doug Watkins, and drummer Art Taylor. The full group gets to stretch out on one original each by Watkins and McLean ("Little Melonae") and three from Waldron, while the two standards ("Close Your Eyes" and "Out of Nowhere") are individual features for Burrell and Raney. This is a well-rounded set that may not contain any real surprises, but will be enjoyed by collectors of hard bop.
All Music Guide
Digitally remastered by Joe Tarantino (1992, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California).
This early Kenny Burrell release leans less towards the blues than his other Prestige albums from the same period (KENNY BURRELL, for instance, was cut a month earlier). However, it finds him in familiar company, with Doug Watkins on bass, Arthur Taylor on drums and Donald Byrd on trumpet (all three appear on the Byrd/Burrell date ALL DAY LONG). Pianist Mal Waldron contributes three of the tunes ("Blue Duke," "Dead Heat," and "Pivot"), and lends a forward-leaning sound to the proceedings with his angular improvisations.
On the Waldron themes, Burrell and Raney are arranged in parallel with the horns or play in call-and-response with them, but beyond that, this is a fairly straightforward blowing date, 1957-style. Each guitarist takes one standard with just piano, bass, and drums (Burrell's is "Close Your Eyes," Raney does "Out of Nowhere"). The full ensemble stretches out on Jackie McLean's "Little Melonae" and Watkins' "This Way," which simply opens with Burrell soloing full tilt over an equally fleet rhythm section.
Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey on March 5, 1957. Includes liner notes by Ira Gitler.