Pianist Kenny Werner has had a career in jazz for more than 40 years now, but his trio album The Melody feels like a bit of a semi-colon when compared to, say, the rich and fulfilling Lawn Chair Society. It’s more of an unassuming gesture than a disappointment, which is almost always preferable (unless you’re the kind of music fan who gets a giddy feeling from hearing an artist crash and burn).
Bassist Johannes Weidenmüller and drummer Ari Hoenig were still in diapers when Werner was sharpening his skills, but you would never have known that there is such an age gap in the trio. With four original compositions and a handful of covers by Coltrane and Brubeck, The Melody goes down easy with only the slightest slights of hand to keep things light and interesting. “Voncify the Emulyans” and “Balloons” can especially be of interest for anyone who likes piano trios but might be tired of the same old traditions they carry.