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Kenny Werner / Jens Sondergaard: A Time For Love

Jakob Baekgaard By

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After many years of knowing each other, Danish saxophonist Jens Søndergaard and pianist Kenny Werner decided that it was the right time to translate years of friendship into music. The result is the enchanting A Time For Love, which digs deep into a program of classic ballads.

Songs like Jimmy Van Heusen's "But Beautiful" and Ann Ronell's "Willow Weep For Me" have entered the general consciousness, and the challenge to every ballad player is to make them speak with new relevance; the drama of the songs has to be rediscovered. To Werner and Søndergaard, the solution is simple: they play from the heart. Werner lays a carpet of pretty notes as background for Søndergaard's singing saxophone, and together they understand how tell a story and make every note count.

Art Pepper's inspiration looms large, especially the beautiful duo albums the late saxophonist recorded with pianist George CablesGoin' Home (Galaxy/OJC, 1982) and Tete À Tete (Galaxy/OJC, 1983).

Like that famous duo, Werner and Søndergaard speak to each other and create a magic conversation where songs like "Over The Rainbow" (a signature Pepper piece) is played with empathic elegance. Elsewhere, Werner's introduction to Johnny Mandel's "A Time For Love" reveals Bill Evans' inspiration for his ballad "Peace Piece." The late pianist's impressionistic sensitivity closely resembles Mandel's song as it is played in Werner's interpretation.

Throughout, Søndergaard and Werner manage to keep the impromptu magic of the session. They play like they have known these songs for years and have just been waiting for this particular moment to express all the things there are to say in them. Timing is everything, and the album shows why it certainly was time for Søndergaard and Werner to get together, and lovers of good music can only be grateful that they did.

Track Listing: But Beautiful; 'Round Midnight; A Time For Love; Lover Man; Over The Rainbow; Willow Weep For Me; Darn That Dream; Everything Happens To Me.

Personnel: Kenny Werner: grand piano; Jens Søndergaard: alto saxophone.

Title: A Time For Love | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Stunt Records/Sundance Music

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