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EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Kenny Wheeler: Six for Six

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When artists move into their eighties, every new album is a gift. It's difficult enough for any octogenarian musician to maintain his/her game, but especially horn players, for whom embouchure and breath are so essential to tone and reach. Six for Six is, however, a curious gift from expat Canadian trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, who's made Britain his home since the mid-'50s. Recorded in 2008, it's his first sextet recording since 2003's Dream Sequence--and even that album only featured one piece for all six players. What that really means, then, is that Six for Six is Wheeler's first real sextet date ...

INTERVIEWS

Kenny Wheeler: The Making of "Mirrors"

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It often comes as a surprise to people when they discover that trumpeter/flugelhornist/composer Kenny Wheeler is not British. Well, not British born, for although born in Toronto, Canada, in 1930, Wheeler has spent the last 60 years living in England, which surely makes him as English as Ploughman's Lunch or a pint of bitter. The recording Mirrors (Edition Records, 2013) sees the veteran team up with singer Norma Winstone and the London Vocal Project, a 25-piece choir directed by Pete Churchill, to interpret the poetry of Stevie Smith, Lewis Carroll and W. B. Yeats. The results are nothing short of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kenny Wheeler / Norma Winstone / London Vocal Project: Mirrors

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That trumpeter/flugelhornist/composer Kenny Wheeler is challenging himself at 80 is surely inspirational. Mirrors represents his first recording where poems provide the music's source, though he composed the music over 20 years ago. The project was then commissioned for five solo voices in 1998, but the combination of Wheeler, singer Norma Winstone and the London Vocal Project, led by Pete Churchill, brings a fluid, suite-like permanency and epic scale to the original concept. Poets Stevie Smith, Lewis Carroll and W.B. Yeats provide strikingly diverse imagery--surreal, visceral and profound--and Wheeler weaves it all together in a sumptuous melodic tapestry where the music ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Kenny Wheeler Big Band: The Long Waiting

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Kenny Wheeler Big Band The Long Waiting Cam Jazz 2012 While likely not the reason behind its title, The Long Waiting could easily fit for fans of the Canadian expat trumpeter who has lived in England since the 1950s. Since coming to Cam Jazz in 2004 with his duo recording with longtime pianist and fellow Cam Jazzer John Taylor, Where Do We Go From Here?, Kenny Wheeler has ramped up his output, releasing four more albums in the ensuing years. But all of the octogenarian's Cam Jazz recordings have been small ensemble affairs, and though ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kenny Wheeler: One of Many

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In a 2001 Norma Winstone interview, the British vocalist referred to Kenny Wheeler as “the Duke Ellington of our time." Wheeler, whose reputation has grown almost in spite of his own quiet humility, may not possess Ellington's populist cachet, but that doesn't mean the trumpeter's music is any less distinctive or groundbreaking, and with no small reach: his music, studied in detail at universities around the world; his large ensemble work, grist for many a big band. Not being a household name needn't mean lack of significance, with Wheeler's place in jazz history long since assured as one of the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ken Wheeler & The John Dankworth Orchestra: Windmill Tilter

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"Lost" has been a favored word in the last few years. Miles Davis' late sixties group was called lost because it did not record officially. Trumpeter/composer Kenny Wheeler's Windmill Tilter truly has been lost--until now. Recorded in 1968, the Windmill Tilter suite has only previously been available on increasingly rare and expensive LP. Rumor had it that the original tapes had been destroyed and, while a release was promised a few years back, it never materialized. Now, BGO records has managed to cut through rights problems, producing a remastered CD with beautiful timing, as Wheeler turns 80 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ken Wheeler & The John Dankworth Orchestra: Windmill Tilter

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It's easy to forget how long Canadian-born Kenny Wheeler has been making music. This, the first of his infrequent large ensemble recordings, was originally released back in 1969, and some thirteen years prior to that he was working in the quintet of baritone saxophonist Buddy Featherstonhaugh. Windmill Tilter offers the best of both worlds: not only is there Wheeler's highly distinctive writing for large ensemble, but there are a couple of quintet tracks, featuring Wheeler in the company of tenor saxophonist Tony Coe--a stylist as distinctive as anyone out there.'Sweet Dulcinea Blue' is one of ...



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