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Kenny Burrell
Soul Call

Review by Dave Glackin
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Kenny Burrell Soul Call

CD Stock Number: JVC XRCD2  JVCXR-0210-2


  The JVC XRCD team continues to produce some of the consistently best sounding CDs out there. The XRCD team of Akira Taguchi (producer), Alan Yoshida (mastering engineer), and Joe Harley (creative direction), have once again done an outstanding job with this XRCD2. Kenny Burrell's signature purity, fluidity, and dexterity are captured perfectly on this disk.

In JVC's XRCD process, every step of the manufacturing process is carefully optimized and controlled. The mastering is based on JVC's 20-bit, 128-times oversampling K2 ADC (analog-to-digital converter). A Digital K2 is used to regenerate the signal, after which a Sony PCM-9000 is used to store the data on magneto-optical disk (as opposed to the grungy U-matic tapes so often used to send recordings to mastering labs). At the dedicated mastering facility, a JVC Digital K2 is used to convert from 20 bits to 16 bits using its "super coding" mode, which eliminates clock jitter. Regulated AC power feeds are used all the way through to the glass-master cutting stage. The XRCD2 process improves somewhat on the original XRCD process, and the differences are audible, as I found years ago on a test disc.

Kenny Burrell is widely recognized as one of the handful of top guitarists of all time, and Rudy Van Gelder, the recording engineer on this album, is justifiably famous for his gorgeous sounding recordings of jazz from the "golden era". Kenny Burrell's Soul Call is an album of swinging jazz featuring Kenny's fluid, nimble, and mellow electric jazz guitar. Kenny is accompanied here by a combo consisting of piano, bass, drums and conga, and most of the players get their chance to shine in this album. The up-tempo number "Mark One" showcases the incredible combination of musicality, tonal purity, and fluid dexterity which defines Kenny Burrell's playing, and it gives Will Davis, the pianist and author of this piece, a chance to show what he can do. The riffs that Burrell seems to toss off here are amazing, and Davis provides a good pianistic foil for the guitar.

The title piece, "Soul Call," is a lazily swinging piece that evokes a slow, sultry summer afternoon, leaving a peaceful feeling after the fade. That reverie is broken by my favorite cut, "Kenny's Theme," which may get you up and dancin'. This piece really gives the opportunity for the players to show off their chops, and for the first time we get to hear what the bassist and the conga player can do (although I'd be pissed if I were the conga player, for mostly just being buried in the mix on this album). "Here's That Rainy Day" gets things slowed back down again, making me want to pop the top off a Negra Modelo (a great dark Mexican ale, by the way), sit back, and relax. The bonus track "O Henry" picks things back up, with Kenny's fingers really flying across the strings.

If you're a jazz fan but have never heard Kenny Burrell, this album provides a great introduction to his prodigious talents. If you already like Kenny Burrell but do not have this album, I think you'll enjoy it immensely.



Enjoyment: 85

Sound Quality: 90


































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