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Bebop Spoken There

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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

CD Review: Kenny Wheeler - Songs For Quintet

Kenny Wheeler (flug); Stan Sulzmann (ten); John Parricelli (gtr); Chris Laurence (bs); Martin France (dms).
(Review by Lance).
I think this is going to be my CD of the month. Not just because it was Kenny Wheeler's final recording and he deserves to have this minor accolade amongst the many major ones he achieved in his lifetime. Truth is he would have probably got the nod had this been his first recording, a lot of years ago, when he came over from Toronto and added both his trumpet and his pen to the Dankworth band.

Nor is it because of Sulzmann's fine tenor playing or his son's past association with Durham Uni Big Band. It isn't even the title of track 8 - A Pretty Liddle Waltz! As I never met Kenny I wouldn't be presumptuous enough to think I inspired the name of the tune - but I can dream can't I? (Now there's a song title for you!)
No, the down to earth honest truth is that this is as good as anything that came out of the Abbey Road Studios and fortunately, the frail in body if not in spirit or mind flugel horn player didn't have to do a photo shoot on a zebra crossing.
Wheeler brings a charismatic feel to his playing that evokes the spirit of some of Miles' classic moments. Reflective, introspective, it's as if he's saying "I'm an old man, I can't run a four minute mile, but with age comes wisdom and wisdom is something to be cherished, to be used and applied." Wheeler applies that sagacity here choosing The note, The phrase, The mood and, in Sulzmann, he has the soulmate to make this happen on this recording (December 2013). Parricelli's sensitive guitar gives the mix something that maybe even an ace keyboard player wouldn't have managed. It's that kind of disc - provocative but in a very mellow way.
A fitting memory of one of the greats.
Now available on ECM 470 4653.
Lance (Liddle).

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