Kenny Barron, the 72-year-old Philadelphia-born virtuoso, is the kind of jazz pianist whose resources are familiar and much-covered by mainstream swing players, but whose joyfully extravagant execution is a rarity today. That quality transforms this trio set from being a canter through a smooth-jazzy assortment of soft ballads, Latin smoochers and glossy swing. Barron has absorbed an encyclopaedia of jazz methods from a life on the road with legends such as Ella Fitzgerald and Stan Getz, and it pours out in these tracks.
Magic Dance, with its glistening chords and Latin-jazz tick, sounds smooth at first but unleashes an impulsive torrent. Ballads such as In the Slow Lane display his impeccably light touch and Thelonious Monk’s Shuffle Boil isn’t Monkishly lateral but swings furiously. The jangling Lunacy is a collective bustle prodded by bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa and drummer Johnathan Blake, while Nightfall is delicate drift through slow chords. There might be too many notes for some on this record, but it’s almost all affectingly musical just the same.
John Fordham ~ The Guardian
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