All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

2

Spike Wilner: Koan

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
I have an idea that pianist Spike Wilner has read Kenny Werner's book Effortless Mastery: Liberating The Master Musician Within (1996), because Koan emulates Werner's lessons in surrendering one's self to music. Werner's teachings on enlightenment flow through this trio recording, Wilner's sixth as a leader.

As a disciple of Harlem stride and ragtime, Wilner, like so many modern pianists from Thelonious Monk to McCoy Tyner, has the ability to open his own book at any page in the history of jazz. With his capable trio of bassist Tyler Mitchell and drummer Anthony Pinciotti, he delivers a dozen crisp and elegant compositions, half of which are his own.

The disc opens with the locomotive "Iceberg Slim," the motility provided by his left hand and the swing his right. His flawless approach on the traditional Tadd Dameron bebop anthem "Hot House" is that of an imagined Bud Powell playing impeccable notes in heaven. When a pianist has the talents Wilner possesses, a piece like the title track is a showcase for either flamboyance or taste. With Wilner it is the latter; his jazz manners are that of John Lewis or ((Bebo Valdes}}. The best example might be Noel Coward's "I'll See You Again," played with an elegance you'd be surprised to hear over the clamor and din of a jazz club. His diamond-in-the-rough playing is evident on the two Duke Ellington pieces here, "Warm Valley" and "Gypsy Without A Song."

He also plays "Young At Heart" without a hint of irony, and his composition "Trick Baby" rings order out of classical dissonance. Even his "Blues For The Common Man" flirts with a an elegant grandeur, the same grace that Dave Brubeck possessed.

Without auto-correct to save me, my poor typing skills kept spelling out 'Loan" instead of Koan. Maybe it was an error, or perhaps my zen nature was telling me Wilner has taken a loan from the piano gods.

Track Listing: Iceberg Slim; Koan; Warm Valley; I’ll See You Again; Hot House; Monkey Mind; Gypsy Without A Song; Trick Baby; Three Ring Circus; Young At Heart; Lonely Woman; Blues For The Common Man.

Personnel: Spike Wilner: piano; Tyler Mitchell: bass; Anthony Pinciotti: drums.

Title: Koan | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
  • Koan by Mark Corroto
Record Label Profiles
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Koan

Koan

Posi-Tone Records
2016

buy
La Tendresse

La Tendresse

Posi-Tone Records
2012

buy
3 To Go

3 To Go

Posi-Tone Records
2009

buy
Late Night: Live At Smalls

Late Night: Live At...

Fresh Sound New Talent
2004

buy

Related Articles

Read 1538 CD/LP/Track Review
1538
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Love Wins CD/LP/Track Review
Love Wins
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 19, 2018
Read 1538 CD/LP/Track Review
1538
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Mutt Slang CD/LP/Track Review
Mutt Slang
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Prisma CD/LP/Track Review
Prisma
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Jazz Tango CD/LP/Track Review
Jazz Tango
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 18, 2018
Read "Hybrid" CD/LP/Track Review Hybrid
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 28, 2017
Read "Chorando Sete Cores" CD/LP/Track Review Chorando Sete Cores
by Geannine Reid
Published: February 14, 2018
Read "Live at Ronnie Scott's" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Ronnie Scott's
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 10, 2017
Read "Live in Japan" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Japan
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 12, 2018
Read "Fly Or Die" CD/LP/Track Review Fly Or Die
by John Sharpe
Published: July 10, 2017
Read "Dirt In The Ground" CD/LP/Track Review Dirt In The Ground
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 13, 2017