325

Nigel Kennedy: Blue Note Sessions

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
Nigel Kennedy: Blue Note Sessions I confess I wasn't expecting to enjoy this album. Here in his native Britain, violinist Nigel Kennedy is regarded by some as a figure of fun, a player who made much of his fortune with Vivaldi's evergreen Four Seasons, still a nice little earner, but one who has energetically promoted himself as the rebellious bad boy of classical music. He is to straight music something of what Madonna's husband, fellow mockney Guy Ritchie, is to filmmaking.

But Blue Note Sessions won me over within a few minutes. It's a pretty and thoughtful album, and, while it won't change anybody's world (except perhaps Kennedy's), it makes for quietly enjoyable early morning or late night listening. Only a fully paid-up churl would deny its easy swinging, lyrical charm.

Kennedy doesn't emerge as the world's most adventurous improviser, but he's a melodic and relaxed one with a natural grasp of jazz rhythm. He also contributes the album's violin-and-saxophones theme arrangements and two ballad originals, "Maybe In Your Dreams" and the exquisite "Stranger In A Strange Land." The rest of the material includes familiar and not-so-familiar tunes by Kenny Burrell, Duke Pearson, Horace Silver, Lonnie Liston Smith, Butch Cornell and Ivory Joe Hunter.

Of course, Kennedy gets a support structure to die for, a band which is locked into the limber groove throughout. Saxophonists Joe Lovano and JD Allen, bassist Ron Carter, drummer Jack DeJohnette and organist Lucky Peterson are perfectly suited to the occasion. It's to Kennedy's credit that he isn't overwhelmed by such company, and to the band's credit that it provides a credible comfort zone for him to shine in.

After nine richly mellifluous tracks, Kennedy presents an unexpectedly funky side to his playing on Hunter's blues "I Almost Lost My Mind." There's no denying the guy has soul. I'll be playing this album again, without a doubt.


Track Listing: Midnight Blue; Sudel; Maybe In Your Dreams; Sunshine Alley; Nearly; Expansions; Stranger In A Strange Land; Song For My Father; After The Rain; I Almost Lost My Mind; Song For World Forgiveness.

Personnel: Nigel Kennedy: electric violin; Joe Lovano: tenor saxophone (2,3,8,9); JD Allen: tenor saxophone (6,7,10); Lucky Peterson: Hammond B3 organ (1,4,6,10); Kenny Werner: piano (2,3,5,7,8,,9,11); Ron Carter: bass (1-11); Jack DeJohnette: drums (1-11); Daniel Sadownick: percussion (1,2,4,6,7,8,11); Raul Midon: acoustic guitar and vocals (6).

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Blue Note Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "The Eighth Hour Of Amduat" CD/LP/Track Review The Eighth Hour Of Amduat
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 17, 2017
Read "In For The Out" CD/LP/Track Review In For The Out
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 12, 2016
Read "Dark Territory" CD/LP/Track Review Dark Territory
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 15, 2016
Read "Big Wheel Live" CD/LP/Track Review Big Wheel Live
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 17, 2016
Read "Blue Canvas" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Canvas
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 4, 2017
Read "EJ: Song Explorations on Acoustic Guitar and Piano" CD/LP/Track Review EJ: Song Explorations on Acoustic Guitar and Piano
by Doug Collette
Published: October 9, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

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!

Buy it!