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Kenny Barron: Beyond This Place

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Kenny Barron: Beyond This Place
Kenny Barron, = 3659}}, the mastermind behind Beyond This Place, leads us on a journey through the corridors of jazz. As of of the genre's most outstanding pianists, Barron is accompanied by an ensemble of formidable talents, including alto saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins, vibraphonist Steve Nelson, double bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa and drummer Johnathan Blake. Together, they orchestrate an exploration of Barron's legacy and the ever-evolving landscape of jazz.

This meticulously selected nine-track session opens with "The Nearness Of You" in a quartet format that excludes Steve Nelson. From the opening notes from both Barron and Wilkins, it is clear that the declarative elegance of the Ned Washington/ Hoagy Carmichael composition has been fully developed. Their subsequent solos are lush, crisp, warm, intricate and layered, revealing the depth of their musicality. The first of a series of Barron originals begins with "Scratch," a quintet offering. It is filled with jagged interplay and has a foundation based on assiduous precision and formidable strength. "Blues On Stratford Road" is a mid-tempo swinger with a solid melodic line. The chart is filled with imagination and purpose as Wilkins, Nelson, and Barron transition seamlessly between roles, forging musical alliances as required.

The title track, "Beyond This Place," further evidences the quintet's spirit and creativity as they navigate the melody and harmony of the composition with spirit and grace. Barron's light touch is not just vested with fleet-fingered precision, but also with a skill that is masterful, his fingers dancing across the keys with a skill only a master pianist can achieve, adding a layer of complexity and depth to the music. The ultimate quintet offering is "Sunset," which demonstrates the group's mastery of their craft and the synergy they exhibit as a collective. Nothing feels rote or superficial as they run through the arrangement; instead, it's a testament to their brilliance and inspiration from various sources.

The other tracks on this release are duos. The first is the Oscar Hammerstein II/Sigmund Romberg piece "Softly As In A Morning Sunrise" and the other a Thelonious Monk number, "We See." On the former, it is Barron with drummer Blake. As he lays down a barrage of heady polyrhythms, Barron gives your ear something tuneful by constantly shifting through colors and shapes. In the latter, Wilkins demonstrates he is a riveting saxophonist as he works Monk's lines, with Barron covering the keyboard in the language of chiming dissonance. The album is a testament to jazz's boundless creativity and spirit of exploration.

Track Listing

The Nearness of You; Scratch; Innocent; Blues On Stratford Road; Tragic Magic; Beyond This Place; Softly As In A Morning Sunrise; Sunset; We See.

Personnel

Album information

Title: Beyond This Place | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Artwork Records


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