John_mckenna-appartion_span3
January/February 2000

John McKenna
Apparition
IGMOD

Saxophonist John McKenna, who numbers among his admirers and cover-blurbers Tootie Heath and Joe Lovano, has fashioned in this recording a variegated musical collection of great beauty and depth. His own playing shows his regard for Wayne Shorter and his antecedents, but speaks in his own voice. His compositions provide some wonderful settings for all the players here; "Elusive," "Table Scraps," and the title track are the most distinctive pieces, but "Santorini" and others show McKenna's knack for color. Ron Horton on trumpet and flugelhorn and Anton Denner on alto sax and flute blend beautifully with the leader on ensemble passages, and solo effectively to boot. Pianist Bill Carrothers earns most of the solos other than McKenna's, and clearly shares McKenna's sense of both roots and rebellion. The groove department is masterfully staffed by bassist Doug Weiss, drummer Hugh Sicotte and percussionist Guilherme Franco. Count me in with Tootie and Joe!

Originally published in January/February 2000
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