Thursday, March 15, 2012

Kenny Werner My, Myself & I Justin Time 2012

Street Date 04/10/12

From a critical perspective the soon to be released Me, Myself & I would be the ideal trio for Kenny Werner . As a solo piano work Kenny Werner is the musical equivalent of going from 0 to 60 in about 4.5 seconds or to run the sonic stratosphere from Bill Evans to McCoy Tyner in the same solo.

Me, Myself & I is the musical end result of an individual having enough foresight to "roll tape" as one of jazz's most renowned improvising pianists played an all to rare solo gig at the Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill as part of the Montreal Jazz Festival. Werner himself admits this may be the best piano playing that has been captured thus far and that is making a bold but in this case easily verifiable statement. Instead of an accomplished veteran simply rehashing some tired standards and picking up his check as he headed back to the hotel, all the musical stars were in perfect alignment for an epic live recording.

Werner is the rare musician with innate ability to trust his own muse. A live set that reinforces "If it ain't broke don't fix it mentality"of sticking with what works has Werner running through a traditional set list including "Round Midnight" and "A Child Is Born." What separates Werner from the pack is the innate ability and Bill Evans like sense of harmonic inversion which allows him to reinvent an iconic classic such as "Giant Steps" as it is being played. Werner acknowledges a preference for interacting in the more traditional ensemble settings, Me, Myself & I is indeed Werner's best recording to date. Having recently reviewed Italian bassist Andrea Veneziani where Werner was the pianist in his trio, I would consider both releases equally on par as a master at the very top of his game.

The musical irony here is that Werner had been practising non stop in attempting to ready himself for work on a concerto in Denmark for alto saxophone and piano written by Danish composer Anders Koppel. Werner credits this non stop rehersal for raising his performance ability up to the next level and having his chops as fine tuned as they have ever been.

5 Huge Stars!

Tracks: Round Midnight; Balloons; All The Things; Blue Is Green; I Had A King; Giant Steps; A Child Is Born.

Personnel: Kenny Werner: piano