302

Spike Wilner: 3 To Go

By

Sign in to view read count
Spike Wilner: 3 To Go At a small jazz festival a few years ago the advertised theme was a celebration of Duke Ellington's music. But some featured acts, including one highly regarded younger pianist, obviously hadn't taken the theme very seriously, his only begrudging nod to it being a rendition of the jam session standby, "C-Jam Blues," hardly a tune representative of Ellington's artistry. Pianist Spike Wilner demonstrates a better, more thoughtful and creative approach in the two pieces of Ellingtonia included on this urbane quintet CD.

One track is Duke's fetching ballad "Brown Penny," originally a song from the 1946 Broadway production of Beggar's Holiday, the melody treated caressingly by Ryan Kisor's trumpet and Joel Frahm's tenor sax, framing a lyrically limpid Wilner solo. The other is "Reflections in D," a piano feature recorded in a trio by Duke that Wilner affectionately fleshes out to a quintet version, further revealing the dimensions of the sumptuous theme. Like those two surprising examples of Ellingtonia, the rest of the album is marked by Wilner's fresh, or freshly imagined, repertoire choices and loving attention to detail in arrangements that draw equally on the best traditions of swing and bop, suggesting a kinship to the jazz recordings of the '50s that featured musicians and arrangers conversant in both idioms.

The CD opener is a hard bop treatment of the 1929 Jack King/Dorothy Parker song "How Am I To Know?" (To find out how it sounded as a ballad, see Ava Gardner sing it in the film Pandora and the Flying Dutchman). "The Breeze and I" playfully winks at the tune's lounge lizard popularity; "The Lamp Is Low" swings with a gently rocking edge and Dizzy Gillespie's "Con Alma" eschews the Latin tinge to become a straight, rolling jazz waltz, Kisor's solo recalling the poignancy of Chet Baker. A highlight throughout is the logic and lucidity of Wilner's solos, most of them clearly drawing on the melodies as well as harmonies of the material.

Track Listing: How Am I to Know; Three to Go; Brown Penny; The Breeze and I; The Lamp Is Low; Black Forest; Reflections in D; Con Alma; Mr. Mags.

Personnel: Spike Wilner: piano; Ryan Kisor: trumpet; Joel Frahm: tenor sax; Ugonna Okegwo: bass; Montez Coleman: drums.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Circles CD/LP/Track Review Circles
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 24, 2017
Read Windmills CD/LP/Track Review Windmills
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 24, 2017
Read Ugly Beautiful CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beautiful
by David A. Orthmann
Published: March 24, 2017
Read Trickster CD/LP/Track Review Trickster
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 24, 2017
Read Caipi CD/LP/Track Review Caipi
by Geannine Reid
Published: March 24, 2017
Read United CD/LP/Track Review United
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 23, 2017
Read "Texas Times" CD/LP/Track Review Texas Times
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 14, 2016
Read "Soundscapes" CD/LP/Track Review Soundscapes
by Jim Olin
Published: July 25, 2016
Read "Summergold Promises" CD/LP/Track Review Summergold Promises
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 10, 2016
Read "Leap Of Faith" CD/LP/Track Review Leap Of Faith
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 26, 2016
Read "Eleven Promises" CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Promises
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 30, 2016
Read "Tony Kadleck Big Band: Around the Horn" CD/LP/Track Review Tony Kadleck Big Band: Around the Horn
by Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Published: November 11, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: DOT TIME RECORDS | BUT IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!