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A Master of The Jazz Art Form
email@example.com | Manila | 01/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Kenny Kirkland was a master of complex harmony and improvisation. I would compare him to Corea, Hancock and Billy Childs in terms of range and unpredictability but there is more to his playing. A few days before his death, his quartet at that time was supposed to perform a tribute concert for Herbie Hancock playing music from his album Speak Like A Child. Herbie Hancock's music would have sounded wonderfully and extraordinarily reharmonized had it happened. Kirkland was comfortable with many types of music but his playing shone in straightahead jazz.A notable characteristic of Kenny Kirkland's playing besides his advanced chords was to include lines outside the mode, (a half-step or whole step away from the chord progression?). Anyway, the effect is that he sometimes seemed to be playing wrong notes, dissonant to the complex background chords and a listener would find himself craving for more of these unpredictable lines.I loved Hancock's playing in Miles Davis' Cookin' At The Plugged Nickel with its reharmonized songs. Kirkland could have made such an album. And with abstracted lines over reharmonized progressions, the songs would have sounded even more jagged.Do not fail to get his records with Elvin Jones! And, as a link to similar playing style, check out Billy Childs' The Child Within album."
Gone, but not forgotten
WESLEY N. NORRIS | Detroit, Michigan | 12/06/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you want to know the real deal on jazz piano, be sure to add this cd to your collection. Kenny Kirkland was one of the most prolific pianists that jazz produced in the last 30 years. Although he recorded this cd as his only release, it gives an excellent example of his many musical influences. Born of Puerto Rican descent, Kirkland was raised in Brooklyn, New York and was exposed to montunos,techno pop, chamber music,and Afro Puerto Rican rythmns. An alumnus of the Manhattan School of Music,his resume included stints with Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Elvin Jones, Sting, Andy Gonzales, Michael Brecker and Don Alias to name a few. Some say he was the only pianist to bridge the 60's fervor to the burnout sensibilities of the 90's.He was truly awesome. The initial toon on this recording "Mr. JC" will only confirm what many folks had already known."
jkral | DeKalb, IL USA | 02/27/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the best definitions of musician is "student of music". Kenny Kirkland exemplified this statement. As a musician, Kenny could fit any groove, any mold, any group. His playing with Sting, Branford Marsalis, and Wynton Marsalis is completely different stylistically, yet unmistakeably Kenny. Considering the great musicians Kenny was recruited to play with: Dizzy Gillespie, Elvin Jones, Sting, Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, and Kenny Garrett (to name a few); and considering his rhythm section mates: Jones, Jeff 'Tain' Watts, Bob Hurst, Eric Revis, and Nat Reeves; it is evident just reading these names that Kenny was at the top of the list of many jazz musicians. This cd, remarkably Kenny's only solo release, is a superb example of his versatility and love of all styles of music. His use of synthesizers and differing styles shows his versaltility as a pianist and his playing exemplifies his brilliance. Not to mention the sidemen on this date, Branford, Tain, Roderick Ward (aka Kenny Garrett), Christian McBride and Jerry Gonzales. I would like to end with a quote from Kenny himself on Sting's Bring on the Night video pertaining to his and Branford's decision to join the band. "Some people might not like what we're doing. But I feel, as a musician, you need to play all styles of music". Kenny definitely did that on this cd, and his genius will be missed greatly."