Watch the Burell's Funky Comping online guitar lesson by Chris Buono from 40 Day Rhythm SWAT Camp
"If we overload ourselves with exercises, our playing will sound like that," Kenny Burrell told GP readers in the Apr. '81 issue. "I don't want to practice things to have little bits and pieces to call on. I've studied theory and composition, so I'm aware of all the scales from India, Asia, Europe, Greece whatever but I'm not going to put these in my music just because they're different. Rather than consciously impose scales on a progression, I just try to add something musical a few notes, some nice sounds. It's a combination of emotion and intellect, but emotion is the essence. If you don't have that, you don't have anything. The most important thing is to express your feeling not what someone else is feeling. I try to be as free as possible and just let something happen. It will if you let yourself relax."
Burrell's funky comping and slinky lines power many of the best late-'50s and '60s beatnik jazz records, such as Hammond master Jimmy Smith's Back at the Chicken Shack and Midnight Special. Finally available on CD, Blues Bash which features Burrell and Smith at their gritty, grooving finest is essential listening. listening. You can summon this latenight mood by using the comping moves in this rhythm figure. Notice how the top and bottom lines are an octave apart. Played at faster tempos and with a tighter feel, the lower line is the foundation for '50s rock and much of '60s soul and honky tonk.