Kenny Wheeler's gorgeous trumpet anchors these tracks, but also attracting attention here is the understated beauty and subtle adventurousness of John Taylor's piano. With that kind of combination in his playing, Taylor is a perfect match for Wheeler, who has straddled a few divides in his time. Much of this disc features the ethereal ECM-ish music Wheeler has made his trademark, but some of it harks back to Wheeler's earlier days as a pillar of the English "free music" scene along with John Stevens, Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, and another refugee from the edge, bassist Dave Holland. On "All the More" Wheeler plays with fire and resorts here and there to some of the expanded techniques that those musicians were and are searching for. Here, of course, such effects are thoroughly integrated into the fabric of conventional jazz form, so that they do not jar but add an emotional fire to the music.
To hear Wheeler's immense sound in full glory, don't miss "Summer Night," where it is washed in the ebbs and flows of Joe LaBarbera's drums but still comes through sharply, clearly, beautifully.
Kenny Wheeler, tpt, flghn; John Taylor, p; Furio di Castri, b; Joe LaBarbera, d.
Track listing: Phrase One / All the More / Mark Time / Introduction to No Particular Song / The Imminent Immigrant / Nonetheless / Kind of Bill / Summer Night.
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