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.
Pianist Kenny Werner played a concert of beautiful duets with Toots Thielemans at the Kennedy Center last night. After the performance, we met at his hotel and did a late night Before & After interview for JazzTimes. Towards the end of our conversation, he started talking about Bill Evans, so I began shooting video until my memory card filled up.