One of the great jam session recordings of the 1950s, All Night Long was under the relaxed direction of Kenny Burrell. The guitarist gathered together some of the finest young players on the New York scene, including Donald Byrd on trumpet and tenor saxophonists Hank Mobley and Jerome Richardson, one of the unsung heroes of the flute in jazz. Mal Waldron, Doug Watkins and Arthur Taylor were the rhythm section. The musical formats were uncomplicated; "All Night Long" a blues with a bridge, Waldron's "Flickers" a 16-bar pattern, Mobley's two originals based on familiar 32-bar chord sequences. From these simple, classic bases were launched performances with the hallmarks that have long identified any Burrell project: Relaxation, swing and high standards of musicianship.
John Dowland's Lachrimae or Seven Tears is a series of seven instrumental pavans in five parts, based on the melody of his lute song, Flow, My Tears, followed by a collection of diverse dances. This famous book of chamber pieces is presented complete by the viol consort Phantasm, which is joined by lutenist Elizabeth Kenny, and their expert interpretations have the characteristic mix of poetic melancholy and courtly elegance that define Dowland's music.
Producing a darker tone from the Maybeck Yamaha piano than do some other participants in the series, Kenny Barron gets a chance to flaunt a wider range of his influences than he usually does in a group format. Barron opens with a stride-ish "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You," which sports a few minor fluffs (this is live, folks), and then explores a number of diverse styles under the bop umbrella. Barron's "Bud-Like" has reminiscences of "Un Poco Loco," built on an ostinato bass pattern most of the way, with a witty "Bemsha Swing." As usual with Maybeck, the sound of the hall's bright, brittle Yamaha piano is brilliantly captured.
Kenny Barron and Jimmy Owens' first recording was a solid debut. The exciting title cut, "You Had Better Listen," composed by Jimmy Owens, is good, basic, uptempo jazz, nothing fancy, no frills. The Jimmy Owens-Kenny Barron Quintet doesn't condescend like some jazz artists tend to do; casuals can groove, relate, nod their heads in approval and feel righteous about it. Owens plays some beautiful trumpet scales, while Barron keeps busy banging chord progressions. The other members of the quintet are Benny Maupin (tenor sax, flute), Chris White (bass), Freddie Waits (drums on tracks one, two and four), and Rudy Collins (drums on tracks three through five).
Good times have sunk into the marrow of Kenny Chesney’s bones, slowing down his metabolism, making him unlikely to kick up his tempos or turn up his amplifiers. Age slows you down but so do too many afternoons on the beach Chesney continues to romanticize, although not quite so much on 2010’s Hemingway’s Whiskey as he did on his last decade of records. Unlike its immediate predecessor, 2008’s Lucky Old Sun, Hemingway’s Whiskey isn’t simply lazy: it’s slow but it’s burnished and classy, not quite as literary as the Guy Clark title track might initially indicate, but surely handsome, its seamless weaving of guitars being the aural equivalent of high thread count sheets…