Peruvian Blue is Kenny Barron's second solo outing, coming right after 1973's marvelous Sunset To Dawn (released by 32 Jazz last year as part of the two-disc set Soft Spoken Here ). Originally released by Muse Records in 1974, this six-song program finds Barron shifting between electric and acoustic pianos in a variety of groupings, from solo to duo and trio to sextet.
Barron solos with grand passion on acoustic piano for the standard, "Here's That Rainy Day," then duets with recently-deceased guitarist Ted Dunbar on the stylistic "Blue Monk." He then shows off his well-known trio interplay style with bassist David Williams and drummer Albert Heath on the elegant Barron original "The Procession."
Finally, the leader switches to electric piano and adds percussionists Richard Landrum and Sonny Morgan for three of Barron's electric originals: "Peruvian Blue," "Two Areas" and the appealingly funky "In the Meantime." While the ten-minute "Peruvian Blue" is stifled by too much percussion and its Chick Corea / Return To Forever influence, "Two Areas" reveals Barron's compositional abilities, his nice touch on electric piano and, especially, Dunbar's electric sensitivity.
Peruvian Blue has much to offer casual jazz listeners and "Two Areas," "The Procession" and "Blue Monk," especially, provide required listening for fans of both Kenny Barron and Ted Dunbar.
But it would have been more satisfying to hear any one of these different groupings tackle the whole program, rather than having each get sectioned off for a performance or two. Still, Kenny Barron – who has recorded nearly dozen times as a leader since the early 80s – always makes music worth hearing. Peruvian Blue is no exception.
Personnel: Kenny Barron: piano, electric piano, clavinet; Ted Dunbar: guitar; David Williams: bass, electric bass; Richard Landrum: congas, percussion; Sonny Morgan: percussion; Albert Heath: drums.
Tracks:Peruvian Blue; Blue Monk; The Procession; Two Area; Here's That Rainy Day; In The Meantime.
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.