Watch the Tommy's Run online guitar lesson by David Hamburger from 50 Jazz-Blues Licks You MUST Know
Like his fellow Detroit native and not-infrequent collaborator Kenny Burrell, Tommy Flanagan has recorded more blues than you can shake a stick at. In fact, Flanagan and Burrell’s work overlapped for decades, beginning with a Nat Cole-style trio they formed when Flanagan was 17 (Kenny Burrell on vocals!).
As a leader, a few standout Flanagan blues include "Little Rock," "Skal Brothers," the cleverly wandering "Blue Twenty," "Flanagan’s Shenanigans" and the uptempo "Relaxin’ at Camarillo."
Then there’s Flanagan as sideman. In terms of guitarists, he turns up on Burrell’s fabulous mid-tempo "Blues for Skeeter" and "Now I See Who You Are," on Wes Montgomery’s towering "D-Natural Blues," and on a relatively late Tal Farlow trio session that includes the Farlow original "Blue Art, Too," plus a "reunion" of sorts, Burrell and Flanagan’s Beyond the Blue Bird, which includes the blues "Bluebird." Then, of course, you got your legendary saxophonists: you can hear the pianist make the 12-bar changes on "Blue 7" from Sonny Rollins’ landmark Saxophone Colossus, play with Coleman Hawkins on "Pedalin’" from the 1960 date Night Hawk, and accompany Kenny Burrell and John Coltrane on "Big Paul" (which also includes plenty of Burrell on the blues).