Kenny Drew Jr.: This One's For Bill

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
It is not difficult to measure how much influence the late Bill Evans has exerted over the young pianists of today. The impact of his playing can be heard, in varying degrees, in virtually every pianist that followed him. That's because he changed the way piano players approach the instrument, moving away from a strict bebop vocabulary, and bringing to fore the piano's inherent orchestral abilities through dense harmonies and sweeping melodic lines. Evans employed an introspective approach, gracefully caressing the keyboard with an uncommon subtlety not found in the bop pianists of the fifties. He used chord voicings that were at times ambiguous; he left it up to the to bassist to define the tonic. Evans' level of concentration at the keyboard could be mesmerizing. He would often be in a trance-like state as he allowed the piano to consume both his mind and his body. And although Bill Evans will be sorely missed, his spirit and his influence will be felt for decades to come, thanks in part to Kenny Drew Jr., a gifted and sensitive young pianist who has released this wonderful CD on the TCB Label, entitled This One's For Bill.

No stranger to jazz fans, Kenny Drew Jr. has released a dozen CD's under his own name, and is on countless others as a sideman. Well versed in the classical repertoire, Kenny has immense technique on his instrument, yet there is also a sensitivity and beauty that he exudes in his music. Kenny is quite capable of introspection and contemplation; it is for this very reason that this solo piano outing is so successful. Only in the hands of a master, can the orchestral capabilities of this instrument be fully realized. In this most intimate setting, Kenny clearly orchestrates for his instrument, embellishing each measure of each tune, with an wide array of tonal hues. And if a carefully built phrase, sweeping arpeggio, or mellow cascade of chords puts you in mind of Bill Evans, it's not necessarily your imagination.

Aside from the title cut, which is Kenny's personal tribute to the late Evans, the set of songs on this disc were either penned by Evans, or closely associated with him. Included is a beautiful rendition of "Nardis," a tune Bill played for many years. Although the actual composer of this song has been the subject of much controversy, the piece, with it's exotic melody line and quiet chords, has Bill Evans written all over it. Other highlights from the disc are the song "Suicide Is Painless"(which many will remember as the theme-song from the T.V. show M.A.S.H. ), and a crisp offering of Henry Mancini's "The Day Of Wine And Roses." This latest effort by Kenny Drew is a consistently rewarding CD to listen to, further documenting his continuous growth as a player, and serving to fortify his position as one of the premiere jazz pianists of the 21 century.

Track Listing: This One's For Bill; Remembering The Rain; Suicide Is Painless; It's Love It's Christmas; On Green Dolphin Street; The two Lonely People; The Days Of Wine And Roses; Nardis

Personnel: Kenny Drew (piano)

| Record Label: TCB Music | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


More Articles

Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Eos CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read More Than This CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Yellow Red Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Yellow Red Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 2, 2016
Read "Guitar Stories: Slack Key & Beyond" CD/LP/Track Review Guitar Stories: Slack Key & Beyond
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 2, 2016
Read "Up and Coming" CD/LP/Track Review Up and Coming
by John Kelman
Published: January 6, 2017
Read "The Beauty of Disaster" CD/LP/Track Review The Beauty of Disaster
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 22, 2016
Read "One For Cisco" CD/LP/Track Review One For Cisco
by John Sharpe
Published: May 26, 2016
Read "Desire & Freedom" CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!

Buy it!