Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

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

More Articles

Read Swinging In The Holidays CD/LP/Track Review Swinging In The Holidays
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 11, 2017
Read Cycles of Animation CD/LP/Track Review Cycles of Animation
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 11, 2017
Read Secret Passages CD/LP/Track Review Secret Passages
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 11, 2017
Read Live At The Magic Triangle CD/LP/Track Review Live At The Magic Triangle
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 11, 2017
Read Music in the Room CD/LP/Track Review Music in the Room
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 10, 2017
Read Of Light and Shadows CD/LP/Track Review Of Light and Shadows
by Phillip Woolever
Published: December 9, 2017
Read "The Dreamer Is the Dream" CD/LP/Track Review The Dreamer Is the Dream
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 21, 2017
Read "The Sun Though the Rain" CD/LP/Track Review The Sun Though the Rain
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 31, 2017
Read "Chapter Five" CD/LP/Track Review Chapter Five
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 28, 2017
Read "Dimebag" CD/LP/Track Review Dimebag
by Samuel Stroup
Published: December 8, 2017
Read "Hanukkah" CD/LP/Track Review Hanukkah
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 8, 2017
Read "Don't Blink" CD/LP/Track Review Don't Blink
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 4, 2017

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!