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The jazz jam session has always been reserved for in-concert or club performances. Where these 1956-1957 recordings from guitarist Kenny Burrell and his all-star septet and sextet differ is that they were made in the confines of Rudy Van Gelder's recording studio, where the musicians were able to stretch out on two of the most memorable modern long-distance jam sessions of all time -- All Night Long and All Day Long. Initially available as individual LPs and then together as a two-fer, this is a welcome reissue from the Prestige vaults, showcasing perhaps the finest collective groups the Detroiter ever fronted. The extended aforementioned title tracks, with ample solo room for these individualists, were the best friends of after-hours radio DJs, and in the case of All Day, very danceable. They epitomize the hard bop sound as mastered by Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, as well as Detroiters like Burrell, trumpeter Donald Byrd, and bassist Doug Watkins. For the All Day sessions, Jerome Richardson's strong, angular, fluttery flute jumps into the hard bop calypso "Boo-Lu" as Burrell follows with a second melody line. Horns including tenor man Hank Mobley join in on definitive hard bop evergreens "Flickers" and "Li'l Hankie," utilizing unison melodies and harmonies. The All Night session is a smaller group, with Tommy Flanagan on piano and Frank Foster playing tenor as the Detroit connection is solidified. Another calypso, "Slim Jim," follows, along with hard boppers "Say Listen" (again with a Jazz Messengers-style front-line unity) and the frantic, joyous "A.T." This group employs a slightly different approach, still very much like Blakey, but in the case of "Slim Jim," Byrd and Foster chit-chat with short, clipped counterpointed quips as a head melody vehicle. Among the top five recordings Kenny Burrell ever led, this is also jazz music that has stood the test of time, and is heartily recommended. Also note that Art Taylor's liner notes from the 1972 double-album release are required reading for further insight on these landmark sessions.
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