46

Kenny Werner: Me, Myself and I

Larry Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
Pianist Kenny Werner, though comparatively unsung, has been appreciated by many since forming a trio in 1981. He is also known for his series of stellar duos with harmonica virtuoso Toots Thielemans. Additionally, he has done yeoman duty with guitarist John Scofield, bassist Dave Holland and saxophonist Joe Lovano, all the while—for more than 20 years—working as arranger and accompanist for singer Betty Buckley.

Me, Myself and Iwas recorded solo in Montreal, Canada at the small Upstairs Jazz Bar and Grill club, in June, 2012, during the city's renowned jazz festival. Of this engagement, Werner says that the "ideas just kept flowing." He was feeling so good about his playing that he mentioned it to owner Joel Giberovitch, who decided to make a live recording. This is the satisfying result.

From the get-go, Werner's relaxed and lightly swinging style is apparent. Of the seven sides, one is an original; the others are pop and jazz standards. The intimate setting is conducive to long takes—four of them last from 10 to 13 minutes or more—giving ample opportunity to stretch and extend his ideas.

Werner explores Monk's familiar "'Round Midnight," excavating shards of melody which he shapes into his own impressionistic creation. Werner's own "Balloon" becomes a tone poem based, he says, on the life of a helium balloon. Appropriately, the melody drifts along, suddenly soaring before the sphere inevitably runs out of gas and slowly floats down, the song ethereally resolving. John Coltrane's "Giant Steps" surprises, being rendered in a light and lyrical manner—not with solid "sheets of sounds," as a critic once described Trane's style.

Two standards round out the album. "All The Things" (Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein's "All the Things You Are") shows Werner's ballad prowess, hinting at an indebtedness to Bill Evans but finishing in a blaze of notes. He plays an extended version of Thad Jones and Louis Ouzer's "A Child Is Born," examining every aspect of this lovely piece. In a charming touch near the end, he whistles the song.

Hearing Werner alone and unfettered, as on Me, Myself and I, is a great opportunity to fully appreciate his ample talent.

Track Listing: Round Midnight; Balloons; All The Things; blue is green; I Had a King; Giant Steps; A Child is Born.

Personnel: Kenny Werner: piano.

Title: Me, Myself and I | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Justin Time Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Fifth Movement

Fifth Movement

Kenny Werner
The Space

The God of Time

The God of Time

Kenny Werner
No Beginning No End

Album Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Radio
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Film Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
New York Beat
Album Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
The Space

The Space

Pirouet Records
2018

buy
Poesia

Poesia

Pirouet Records
2015

buy
The Melody

The Melody

Pirouet Records
2015

buy
Me, Myself and I

Me, Myself and I

Justin Time Records
2012

buy
Institute Of Higher Learning

Institute Of Higher...

Half Note Records
2011

buy
Balloons

Balloons

Half Note Records
2011

buy

Upcoming Shows

Related Articles

Read Down & Dirty Album Reviews
Down & Dirty
By Jack Bowers
July 21, 2019
Read Sublunary Minds Album Reviews
Sublunary Minds
By Troy Dostert
July 21, 2019
Read Peace Planet & Box of Light Album Reviews
Peace Planet & Box of Light
By Don Phipps
July 21, 2019
Read Hyperuranion Album Reviews
Hyperuranion
By Glenn Astarita
July 21, 2019
Read The Turning Album Reviews
The Turning
By Bruce Lindsay
July 20, 2019
Read Reveries and Revelations Album Reviews
Reveries and Revelations
By John Eyles
July 20, 2019
Read Live/Shapeshifter Album Reviews
Live/Shapeshifter
By Don Phipps
July 20, 2019