Kenny - God Bless The Child

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Burrell, Kenny - God Bless The Child


Guitarist Kenny Burrell's only recording for producer Creed Taylor's CTI label, God Bless the Child is in some ways a typical CTI affair. The hallmarks of the label's sound--slick production and lush orchestration--are on full display, which means that much of the appeal of this album will be a matter of taste. Listeners who prefer Charlie Parker's albums with strings, for example, will love it, while those who thrill more to Bird's small-group efforts will probably be turned off. But even those in the latter group will have to admit that the magic on some of these tracks is undeniable--despite arranger Don Sebesky's sometimes superfluous string orchestrations, Burrell's guitar playing here is simply gorgeous. On "A Child Is Born" and a thrilling version of the title track, Burrell is in luminous form, building from beautiful chordal soloing to soulful single-note lines in a manner entirely his own. With an all-star band (including bassist Ron Carter and drummer Billy Cobham) providing an intensely swinging backdrop, Burrell shines even when the arrangements threaten to drown him out. The added bonus tracks on the CD reissue--an alternate take of "A Child Is Born" without the string orchestrations and two solo guitar performances--will further delight listeners who crave more of Burrell's guitar. --Ezra Gale

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