Kenny Clarke was a jazz drummer and an early innovator of the BeBop style of drumming. As the house drummer at Minton's Playhouse in the early 1940s, he participated in the after hours jams that led to the birth of modern jazz. He is credited with creating the modern role of the ride cymbal as the primary timekeeper. Before, drummers kept time on the snare drum ("digging coal", Clarke called it) with heavy support from the bass drum. With Clarke time was played on the cymbal and the bass and snare were used more for punctuation. For this, "every drummer" Ed Thigpen said, "owes him a debt of gratitude." Clarke was nicknamed "Klook" or "Klook-mop" for the style he innovated.
Kenny Chesney treats his first-ever live album as a celebration, collecting 29 highlights recorded at some point over the 2010s. By casting such a wide net, Chesney has plenty of room for covers and cameos in addition to the hits, but it's also telling that Live in No Shoes Nation concentrates on all the music he's made following the release of 2001's Greatest Hits. Starting with 2001's No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems, he's hit his sunny stride, specializing in mellow beach tunes, slightly sad ballads, drinking tunes, and arena anthems, all of which are featured on this double-disc set. If the crowd noise sometimes seems a bit heavy-handed, the roar underscores how Chesney entertains on a mass scale, and that's perhaps the one revelation of the record: based on this, calling his fan base a nation isn't much of an exaggeration. While Live in No Shoes Nation is quite slick in both its performance and production, part of its charm is that it's such a professional affair.
That this rare album was originally released only in Europe testifies to the dominance of jazz-rock in 1971 and not to the staggering quantity of imagination that one hears on the session today. Still co-leading his legendary European unit (this was their last recording), Francy Boland unleashed his classical training to produce dazzling, fantastically complex writing often loaded with dissonances, unusual groupings of instruments, freeform freakouts, alternating sections in 5/4 and 4/4, loose-jointed structures, and firestorm endings. Yet Getz's great ear picks everything up intuitively; his solos, though brief in playing time, are loaded with sometimes strident emotion and occasionally flirt with the outside…
In lieu of picking up one of the trumpeter's fine Blue Note releases (Una Mas, Whistle Stop), listeners new to the work of Kenny Dorham should definitely consider this somewhat overlooked Riverside date from 1959. The set features plenty of Dorham's varied and sophisticated horn work and four of his top-drawer originals. The theme is spring, and Dorham responds with his soon to be jazz standard "Spring Is Here" and three other fine seasonal tributes: the title track, "Poetic Spring," and "Spring Cannon." This last cut is also a tribute to Julian "Cannonball" Adderley, who guests in fine style here with a bevy of fleet and highly melodic solos. Rounding out the group, baritone saxophonist Cecil Payne, French horn player David Amram, and pianist Cedar Walton add very nicely to the album's breezy yet provocative air. Essential listening for Dorham fans.
The talented, if underrated bebop pianist Kenny Drew spent his last few decades living in Scandinavia after emigrating from the U.S. in 1961. This 1996 CD has previously unreleased material recorded by the Danish Broadcast Corporation featuring Drew at three different periods in time. There are four tunes apiece of Drew in duets with bassist Niels Pedersen in 1966, playing unaccompanied solos in 1978, and duets with bassist Bo Stief in 1983. All dozen numbers (seven jazz standards, a Scandinavian folk song, an obscurity and two Drew originals, including two versions of "Blues for Nils") are quite rewarding. The music is straight-ahead, often harmonically sophisticated, swinging and occasionally unpredictable. An excellent sampling of Kenny Drew's talents.
Kenny Drew (1928-1993) was an extraordinary bebop-oriented pianist who recorded with Howard McGhee, Buddy DeFranco, Charlie Parker and John Coltrane (the famous album Blue Train) before moving to Denmark in 1961. While he sacrificed much of the interest of the American jazz audience, he gained a wide following across Europe, and by extension, in Japan. Dark Beauty, recorded in 1974 with Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen and Albert "Tootie" Heath, became a break-out hit that helped advance Drew's acclaim. On this album he displays tremendous pianistic skills, intelligent and advanced harmonic sensibilities and driving sense of swing. Pedersen is featured throughout, and his solos demonstrate awe-inspiring technique and imagination…
First off, Kenny Wayne Shepherd was 33 years old at the release of this album, so he’s not a kid playing hot guitar anymore, he’s a grown man doing it. And he does play a hot lead guitar – that, in a nutshell, is what he does. But over the years he’s also learned that the blues isn’t just about blazing lead licks, it’s also about letting the song say its say – and on Live! In Chicago he does that. This is a concert full of songs and not just a bunch of guitar leads broken up by someone singing for a bit. Shepherd is also fully aware of the history of the blues and he honors some of his heroes here by playing with blues legends like Hubert Sumlin, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Bryan Lee and Buddy Flett and he doesn’t step all over them with his guitar playing – he supports them. The concert grew out of the tour Shepherd put together in support of 10 Days Out: Blues from the Backroads project, a DVD/CD documentary that featured Shepherd traveling around the country on a ten day trip interviewing and playing with icons from the blues world, including the surviving members of Muddy Waters' and Howlin' Wolf's bands, making this show, recorded at the House of Blues in Chicago, a kind of culmination.