Saturday, September 20, 2014

Kenny Wheeler - Angel Song

It was sad news to hear of Kenny Wheeler's passing yesterday. Around 2000, when I was hunting out everything Lee Konitz, I discovered Wheeler's 1996 album Angel Song (ECM). Man, I listened to that album a lot that year or so (and later played "Onmo" in my final recital). It was the Konitz who initially grabbed my attention but I soon discovered that there was a lot more to this album than just his presence. Wheeler, Konitz, Dave Holland and Bill Frisell - four distinctive sounds combing as one made for compelling listening. Spacious, lyrical, wistful and powerful (in ways you don't normally associate that word being used), it seems odd that this was there only album together. My ear is drawn to a horn players tone first and from the start Wheeler had me - personal and expressive combined with lyrical phrasing. His tunes are a key ingredient to the album's overall feel. Listening to Angel Song yesterday afternoon and this morning has made me want to revisit these melodies. Although it had been a couple of years since I last gave it a spin it felt like returning home to old friends. Find some time to relax with this gem of an album.

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