Pianist-composer Kenny Werner’s impact can be measured on a number of levels. As a theorist, his book Effortless Mastery-Liberating the Master Musician Within has had a lasting influence on a generation of musicians since it was first published in 1996. As a player with great skill and imagination, Werner has led his various trios since 1981, and recorded dozens of sessions as leader or sideman. In recent years, he’s stepped up as a composer of larger works, receiving commissions from jazz and symphony orchestras in the U.S. and Europe. Werner’s ambitious 2010 recording No Beginning, No End, led to a recent Guggenheim Fellowship, and his latest release, Institute of Higher Learning (Half Note), documents his collaborationwith the Brussels Jazz Orchestra. Werner made time for this late-night listening session following his Kennedy Center performance with Toots Thielemans.
1. Erroll Garner
“Penthouse Serenade” (from Long Ago and Far Away, Columbia). Garner, piano; John Simmons, bass; Shadow Wilson, drums. Recorded in 1951.
Here’s a post I wrote this past summer for LC’s Music Division blog detailing the origin of the jazz standard everyone assumed was written by Miles Davis. Check the audio clip embedded and you’ll hear what I mean.
With the release of his third recording, Hi-Fly (Mack Avenue), Sachal Vasandani continues his inevitable transition from rising star to established headliner. Like many singers of his generation, he’s studied and assimilated the past while keeping up with current developments inside and outside of jazz. For this session he gnawed on fresh fruits throughout and chose to listen to each track in its entirety before offering reactions or sharing insights. Still, he couldn’t stifle his occasional yeas and grunts of appreciation.
“God Bless The Child” (from Be Good, Motema). Porter, vocal. Recorded in 2011.