****RINGER OF THE WEEK****Kenny Werner: Coalition

Kenny Werner has to be one of the unheralded giants of jazz. His compositions are always very interesting, he’s got the heart of a lion, and he plays the piano/keyboards like an open minded bopper. Here, he brings up some of the big boys for a fantastic world wide collection of jazz sounds mixing Latin America with Africa and beyond. Miguel Zenon/as, Benjamin Koppel/reeds, Lionel Loueke/g-b-voc and Frerenc Nemeth/dr/perc bring together a wide swath of sounds and energies here.

Two pieces, “Phonetics #3” and “Tune 4” mix Latin American folk music with steaming modernity as Zenon’s alto and Koppel’s soprano sear over the complex rhythms provided by Loueke’s rich bass and Nemeth’s  venomous percussion. Loueke uses West African guitar phrasings and vocal choruses for the rain foresty “Flying” and also in the multi-hued “Wishful Dreaming” which has the horns, piano and themes weave in and  out like subliminal thoughts. Werner himself exposes his delicate touch on the piano on the gentle “Swan Song” which flows like a spring stream. The atmospheres change, but the inquisitive and celebratory move never does. A real winner!

Half Note Records


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