In February 1964—sandwiched between two recording sessions with then husband and tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine—organist Shirley Scott recorded with guitarist Kenny Burrell. She had just wrapped Hustlin' with Turrentine at the end of January and would be back in the studio for Blue Flames at the end of March. Backing Scott and Burrell on this Ozzie Cadena-produced album for Prestige were bassist Eddie Khan and drummer Otis "Candy" Finch.
What makes this album so exciting is what's missing—a boss. Turrentine's appeal on Scott dates was his soulful command and searing reed statements before and after Scott solos. Here, Scott and Burrell play off each other in tender ways. It's a hip rhythm-section date—with all the swinging, playful interchanges you find when the sax on an organ date sits out. After Scott's solos, instead of the Turrentine train roaring out of the tunnel, you get Burrell's ringing, single-note lines. The ear likes what it hears.
The session's song choices also are perfect in every way. The track list features Travelin' Light, Solar, Nice 'n' Easy, They Call It Stormy Monday, Baby It's Cold Out There and The Kerry Dance. What's interesting is how Scott plays behind Burrrell. Fully aware of the guitar's sonic limitations, she offers huge support to fill the space—offering both texture and a frame for Burrell. Scott and Burrell played well together. [Photo above of Kenny Burrell by Francis Wolff]
For me, the title tune, Solar and Nice 'n' Easy say it all—a glorious pace, groovy ideas and earthy camaraderie.
JazzWax tracks: All of the tracks from Travelin' Light can be found on Shirley Scott: Soul Sister, part of Prestige's "Legends of Acid Jazz" series. The other album on this CD is Soul Sister, a vibes-organ date, from 1960. Go here.
JazzWax clip: Here's Travelin' Light...
And here's Solar...