369

Kenny Wheeler & John Taylor: Where Do We Go From Here?

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Kenny Wheeler & John Taylor: Where Do We Go From Here? Over the past thirty years, pianist John Taylor has clearly been trumpeter Kenny Wheeler's accompanist of choice. Cerebral yet quietly passionate, intuitive and supportive, with a musical personality rooted in Bill Evans that has, nevertheless, long since evolved beyond comparative considerations, Taylor's ability to get inside Wheeler's often melancholic compositions is without equal. From big band records to intimate settings like this new CamJazz release, Where Do We Go From Here? , Taylor is the perfect foil for Wheeler, and neither have sounded better.

Consisting of one standard, two Taylor compositions and seven mostly-new Wheeler compositions, this particularly warm recording finds Wheeler, always an inward-looking player with just the occasional flare for expressionism, in a particularly introverted mood. His tone is warm, and he avoids, for the most part, the signature intervallic leaps into the stratosphere that mark his more outgoing work. "Mabel" sits somewhere between the more rhythmically-informed version on Wheeler's '84 ECM quintet recording, Double Double You , and Taylor's more abstract reading on his own ECM trio release, '03's Rosslyn. By taking a technique often used more for effect and turning it into another musical expression of the instrument, Taylor opens "Canter N. 1" by plucking and strumming the piano strings in a way that is far more conceptually developed.

While the overall emphasis of the programme is on impressionistic chamber jazz, it is not all moody abstraction. The aforementioned "Canter No. 1" relies on a steady rhythmic pulse from Taylor, while even the darker Taylor composition "Dance" moves along insistently. Still, more open-time pieces like "Forder" and the poignant title track rely more on ambience and harmony than rhythm. All too often standards within a mainly original set seem out of place, but here Al Dubin and Harry Warren's "Summer Night," with its bittersweet and plaintive melody, fits in perfectly with the rest of the programme.

What makes Where Do We Go From Here? such an outstanding recording is the remarkable empathy between Wheeler and Taylor. Years of performing together will typically build a good chemistry between capable players, but Wheeler and Taylor go beyond mere comfort into a level of telepathy that finds them completely attuned to each other. The two are so much a part of each other's playing that the smallest nuance, the tiniest phrase from one can spark a response from the other that moves things in another unexpected direction. Yet their responses to each other are so subtle, so graceful, that these unpredictable shifts feel completely natural, smooth and seamless.

Wheeler and Taylor have a substantial shared discography and have explored intimate settings in the past on Moon , which found them in a trio with Italian clarinetist Gabriele Mirabassi, and Overnight , where they shared the bill with bassist Ricardo Del Fra, but never have they sounded so completely simpatico as on Where Do We Go From Here? , an album that clearly raises the bar for musical interaction by making it so delicate and elegant as to be almost elusive.


Track Listing: Summer Night; For Tracy; Mabel; Au Contraire; Canter N. 1; Squiggles; One Two Three; Where Do We Go From Here?; Dance; Fordor.

Personnel: Kenny Wheeler: trumpet, flugelhorn; John Taylor: piano.

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: CAM Jazz | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Lowdown Hoedown" CD/LP/Track Review Lowdown Hoedown
by Paul Rauch
Published: January 18, 2017
Read "Brian Bromberg" CD/LP/Track Review Brian Bromberg
by Dave Wayne
Published: May 28, 2016
Read "Steeped" CD/LP/Track Review Steeped
by John Eyles
Published: October 20, 2016
Read "Spin Cycle" CD/LP/Track Review Spin Cycle
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 13, 2016
Read "A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke" CD/LP/Track Review A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 9, 2016
Read "On Hollywood Boulevard" CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 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!

Buy it!