Kenny Poole: Heritage (2012)
Kenny Poole was a guitarist's guitarist. He never sought the limelight that others with his talents achieved, but his much admired jazz chops attracted musicians in the know. He performed with such luminaries as Jack McDuff, Tal Farlow, Joe Pass, Howard Alden and Jack Wilkins. Sadly, Poole lost his fight with cancer in 2006. But with the release of Heritage, a collection of his live solo performances at Cincinnati's Heritage Restaurant, Poole's soulful and sophisticated finger-style arrangements are available for the everyone to admire.
The tracks included on Heritage are a marvelous cross-section of Poole's interest in American Songbook and bossa nova styles. It kicks off with his grooving, upbeat take on Sergio Mendes' "Mas Que Nada," aptly winding his way through the tune, interweaving melody and improvisation while never losing the rhythmic bounce. Again, on Antonio Carlos Jobim's "If You Never Come To Me," Poole gives the beautiful melody the space to breath and develop while never loosing the feel of its bossa roots, adding his own imaginative flair but never smothering the melody.
On tunes like George Gershwin's "I Can't Get Started" and "Our Love Is Here To Stay," Poole's indebtedness to George Van Eps is both apparent and transformed. Van Eps (to whom Poole recorded a tribute album) was the innovator extraordinaire of jazz finger-style guitar and, while Poole demonstrates his mastery of the Van Eps technique, his melodic understandings are more complex and informed by modern styles. This readily apparent on Poole's wonderfully agile take on Count Basie's "Jive At Five," where the guitarist moves between integrate phrasings and brooding bass lines.
Heritage was recorded, organized and produced by two Poole devotees: Tom Anthony and Marcos Sastre. Additionally, the liner notes by guitarist Andy Brown add context and insight to Poole's style and musical interests. Together they have done a wonderful service to the talents and memory of Kenny Poole, and given uninitiated listeners a taste of the beautiful music we missed.
Track Listing: Mas Que Nada; Django; If You Never Come To Me; Voce e Eu; Our Love Is Here to Stay; Little White Lies; Jive At Five; The Song Is You; A Pele Do Marfin Skin of Ivory; Where Are You; Brazil; I Can't Get Started; Calcutta.
Personnel: Kenny Poole: guitar.
Record Label: Stork Music Productions