6

Kenny Wheeler: Songs for Quintet

Robert Bush By

Sign in to view read count
Kenny Wheeler: Songs for Quintet Recorded less than a year before his death, trumpeter Kenny Wheeler's swan song is a document that sings with smoldering beauty and palpable heartache—all captured in the typically sublime detail that has become the trademark of the ECM label.

Wheeler concentrates on flugelhorn throughout, and his long-time association with saxophonist Stan Sulzmann pays big dividends, as the horns orbit each other on the opening "Seventy-Six," where the leader's burnished, centered tone remains one of the most compelling sounds in jazz. Guitarist John Parricelli, who seems to be coming out of the John Abercrombie tradition, unites with Sulzmann to shoulder much of the solo responsibilities, and his clear, resonant timbre is consistently rewarding.

Although his laser bursts into the upper register and pinpoint vibrato are gone, the heart of Wheeler's sound, and his brilliant organization of ideas are still resolute and pure, as evidenced on "Jigsaw," and "Canter No. 1," which also serve as calling cards for Parricelli and Sulzmann, especially, who cranks the latter into a double-time fervor.

Bassist Chris Laurence delivers a sparkling, soulful essay on the tango "Sly Eyes," skillfully navigating the divide between Charlie Haden's purity and the velocity of a Gary Peacock with considerable grace; drummer Martin France also comes alive on this tune, steering the groove with irresistible martial cadences and forward motion.

The least typical tune on the album is "1076," a free caterwaul of explosive drums and distorted guitar that the trumpeter soars above with incisive clarity—sounding closer to full-strength Wheeler than anyone had a right to expect.

The ravages of time and disease are demons we all must face, yet few have done so with such attention to beauty and the creative process as Wheeler managed with Songs for Quintet. There will never be another Kenny Wheeler, but this disc offers one final reveal into his singular aesthetic.

Track Listing: Seventy Six; Jigsaw; The Long Waiting; Canter No.1; Sly Eyes; 1076; Old Time; Pretty Liddle Waltz; Nonetheless.

Personnel: Kenny Wheeler: flugelhorn; Stan Sulzman: tenor saxophone; John Parricelli: guitar; Chris Laurence: double bass; Martin France: drums.

Title: Songs for Quintet | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: ECM Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Company I Keep CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ma De Re Sha CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ask Seek Knock CD/LP/Track Review Ask Seek Knock
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Air and Light and Time and Space CD/LP/Track Review Air and Light and Time and Space
by John Eyles
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read "Opening Statement" CD/LP/Track Review Opening Statement
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 3, 2017
Read "Up and Coming" CD/LP/Track Review Up and Coming
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: January 29, 2017
Read "Planets + Persona" CD/LP/Track Review Planets + Persona
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 29, 2017
Read "Dyad Plays Jazz Arias" CD/LP/Track Review Dyad Plays Jazz Arias
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 12, 2016
Read "Makes My Heart Sway" CD/LP/Track Review Makes My Heart Sway
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 23, 2016
Read "Crop Circles" CD/LP/Track Review Crop Circles
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 16, 2017

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.