How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Keyboardist Kenny Werner's ambitious work Lawn Chair Society is an amalgam of straight-ahead jazz, R&B and funk, skillfully blending the avant-garde, the accessible and the modernistic. The rush-hour scatting of Dave Douglas' cornet and Chris Potter's bass clarinet on "Lo's Garden and the postmodern "New Amsterdam, featuring Potter's gritty tenor, set the CD's tone. The tight horn arrangements and funk pedigree should be no surprise considering that producer Lenny Picket was a mainstay in the vaunted horn section of Tower of Power. "The 13th Day, a measured, thoughtful tune, features some of Werner's best playing.
"burble_burble_splerk and "west_coast_variant are computer experiments, with Douglas improvising madly over electronic effects on the former and Scott Colley supplying a humanity-saving bass line on the latter. Werner also presents satire with the biting "Inaugural Balls, in the fine tradition of Mingus' "Fables of Faubus, and the multi-layered "Lawn Chairs (and Other Foreign Policy), with Douglas skittering happily around Werner's luminous keyboards and Potter's soulful tenor. "Loss is a haunting duet between Werner on the keyboards and computer and Brian Blade on drum both melancholy and majestic. The beautiful "Kothbiro, from the film The Constant Gardener, is the only non-original included and it ends the disc on a singular note of sadness and hope. Lawn Chair Society is excellent, innovative music with a social conscience that is thought-provoking without being overbearing.
Track Listing: Lo's Garden; New Amsterdam; The 13th Day; burble_burble_splerk; Uncovered Heart; Inaugural Balls; west_coast_variant; Lawn Chairs (and Other Foreign Policy); Loss;
Personnel: Kenny Werner: piano, keyboards, computer; Dave Douglas: trumpet, cornet; Chris Potter: tenor sax, bass clarinet; Lenny Picket: wooden flute; Scott Colley: bass; Brian Blade: drums.