Accessibility links

Jazzman Kenny Burrell Turns 70 - 2001-07-31

Kenny Burrell is one of today's most respected jazz guitarists. Burrell, 70, recorded countless albums including sessions with jazz giants Billie Holiday, John Coltrane and Jimmy Smith.

Although he never recorded with Duke Ellington, Duke once called him his "favorite guitarist."

Kenny Burrell is also an avid jazz singer. He has always had a passion for singing. He says he's been singing and playing guitar from the time he was a teenager. His vocals were first featured on the 1960s album Weaver Of Dreams, and later on the Concord Records release Love Is The Answer.

A respected songwriter, Burrell composed tunes for Coleman Hawkins, Bill Evans, Ray Brown, and most recently for Dee Dee Bridgewater's Grammy-winning album Dear Ella.

Burrell's latest CD, Lucky So And So, features two originals.

Kenny Burrell began playing guitar at age 12 in his native Detroit. As part of the city's thriving jazz scene in the 1950s, he made his recording debut with Dizzy Gillespie, who was visiting Detroit in 1951. Burrell worked with Oscar Peterson and Benny Goodman before leading his own groups on the Blue Note, Prestige and Verve labels.

Burrell's greatest influence was electric guitarist Charlie Christian, but he developed his own blend of blues and be-bop.

Kenny Burrell turns to the music of jazz master Duke Ellington on "The Feeling Of Jazz", one of four Ellington works covered on his new album. Another is "Squeeze Me" which showcases Burrell's vocal skills.

Kenny Burrell is featured on guitar and vocals with Onaje Allan Gumbs on keyboards, Rufus Reid on bass and Akira Tana on drums.

Jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell celebrates his 70th birthday Tuesday. From his new album Lucky So And So, Kenny Burrell also performs the classic standard, "Tenderly."