389

Kenny Barron: The Traveler

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
Kenny Barron: The Traveler It would be quite a feat to have traveled in Kenny Barron's shoes. A venerable pianist whose career has spanned more than fifty years of performances with a host of greats—Lee Morgan, Dizzy Gillespie, Freddie Hubbard, Yusef Lateef, Charlie Rouse and many others. His music has traveled across the paths of blues, bop, modern, and other terrains. Whether working with vocalists such as jazz diva, Abbey Lincoln or taking Brazilian music excursions in Canta Brasil (Sunnyside Records, 2002), Barron has covered a lot of ground and done so impressively.

The Traveler finds Barron once again on the move—a colorful palette of ten tracks with excellent sounds—featuring a new rhythm section (Japanese bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa and Cuban drummer Francisco Mela) and some very special guests. From the start of the title track, Barron's still got the touch—panache, grace, fire, and empathy. The result is a perfect portrait of his repertoire and depth.

The smooth soprano sax of Steve Wilson is present on thee selections delineated by quick and supple angularities. On "Speed Trap" he joins Barron's core group on a bopping swing-time caper, held tautly by Kitagawa's impeccable quick tempo bass-walk.

Guitarist Lionel Loueké, who is becoming increasingly visible these days, appears on three selections starting with "Duet," a twisting improvisation duo-piece. His acoustic strings chase and interweave with Barron's exploring keys.

Barron's empathetic touch also glows warmly with fine singers—Ann Hampton Callaway ("Clouds") and Grady Tate ("Um Beijo")—delivering polished yet earthy lyrics imbued with passionate prose. "Phantoms" is another mesmerizing opening with Mela's chants and percussion, Loueké's unique guitarisms, and dark sensual singing by rising vocalist Gretchen Parlato, as Barron comps and delivers a superb free solo.

Added to the mix is the jubilant "Calypso" and an introspective and telling solo piano rendition of Eubie Blake's "Memories of You" to close this fine recording by one of jazz's most respected pianists.

Track Listing: The Traveler; Clouds; Speed Trap; Um Beijo; The First Year; Illusion; Duet; Phantoms; Calypso; Memories Of You.

Personnel: Kenny Barron: piano; Kiyoshi Kitagawa: bass; Francisco Mela: drums; Steve Wilson: soprano sax (1, 3, 6); Lionel Loueké: guitar (7, 8, 9); Grady Tate: vocals (4); Ann Hampton Callaway: vocals (2); Gretchen Parlato: vocals (8).

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Malnoia CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Get 'Em CD/LP/Track Review Get 'Em
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Radioactive Landscapes EP CD/LP/Track Review Radioactive Landscapes EP
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 24, 2017
Read The Many Minds of Richie Cole CD/LP/Track Review The Many Minds of Richie Cole
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: April 24, 2017
Read LifeCycle CD/LP/Track Review LifeCycle
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 23, 2017
Read "Radioactive Landscapes EP" CD/LP/Track Review Radioactive Landscapes EP
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Les Deux Versants Se Regardent" CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "The Inner Spectrum of Variables" CD/LP/Track Review The Inner Spectrum of Variables
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 25, 2016
Read "Omío" CD/LP/Track Review Omío
by James Nadal
Published: August 31, 2016
Read "Andando el Tiempo" CD/LP/Track Review Andando el Tiempo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 26, 2016
Read "Eka" CD/LP/Track Review Eka
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 21, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

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!