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Kenny Wheeler

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(CAM Jazz; US: 1 Apr 2008; UK: 4 Feb 2008)

One could be forgiven for thinking that jazz horn maven Kenny Wheeler’s latest disc belongs to the classical genre. Wheeler employs the Hugo String Quartet to create an elegant, chamber music sound. And Wheeler doesn’t even play his trumpet or flugelhorn on two of the eight self-penned compositions here, “Nita” and String Quintet n.1”. But it really doesn’t matter how one categorizes this disc. The music and the playing are graceful and glorious. Wheeler, who is 78 years old now, was 75 when he recorded this, and the record captures the elegiac beauty born of experience. He’s joined by pianist John Taylor on several tracks and the two men combine to create a wondrous tone that evokes the still small voice that exists within all of us. One doesn’t have to be spiritual to appreciate Wheeler’s talents. Listening attentively to his music will bring out those latent feelings, even from the most cynical human beings.

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Steven Horowitz has a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Iowa, where he continues to teach a three-credit online course on "Rock and Roll in America". He has written for many different popular and academic publications including American Music, Paste and the Icon. Horowitz is a firm believer in Paul Goodman's neofunctional perspective on culture and that Sam Cooke was right, a change is gonna come.


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