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It’s difficult to fathom that the wondrously adept pianist Kenny Drew Jr. (son of jazz trumpeter Kenny Drew) is a self-taught musician. And with his latest release titled Remembrance, he pays homage to three sadly departed jazz luminaries; Milt Jackson, Art Farmer and Manfredo Fest. Here, the pianist garners additional support from vibraphonist Stefon Harris and trumpeter Wallace Roney who appear on selected tracks.
Essentially, Drew is a musician who can successfully equalize his vast repertoire and altogether enviable technique with subtle elegance and fiery dynamics amid interludes of various tempos and sentiment. On Milt Jackson’s classic “Bags Groove”, Drew Jr. and Harris accentuate the familiar melody with a series of subtle inflections and silky smooth grooves, whereas the band also tackles works by Manfredo Fest, Bill Evans, Fred Hersch, Jobim, Monk, and others. However, it all boils down to a bunch of extremely talented cats conveying richly thematic lyricism with flair and grace! - Whether perpetuating a hard driving swing vamp or executing a tender ballad, this ensemble delivers the goods in prominent fashion, thanks in part to Kenny Drew Jr’s shrewd comping, blazing single note runs and strong melodic gifts. Overall, Rememberance spawns additional credence to the pianist’s tasteful and resourceful approach to jazz music. Recommended!
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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