Form and Fantasy
Kenny Werner has vowed that from now on all his trio recordings will be live because that's when it really happens. Based on his recent CD Form and Fantasy (Night Bird Music NBM 1001-2; 69:13), recorded at the Sunset Club in Paris, no one in their right mind would argue. The disc begins with Werner's off-kilter "Amonkst," and it's clear from the start that bassist Johannes Weidenmueller and drummer Ari Hoenig are co-explorers amidst the tempo shifts, accents and odd angles of this quirky tune. There are not many groups that can swing so hard, then turn around and play something so heartbreakingly beautiful as these two arrangements of Bach's "Sicilienne." The rest of the way is mostly standards, including a transformed version of "Nardis" complete with disguised intro, a distinctly unsentimental "My Funny Valentine," a tender "Tears In Heaven" and an intriguing 15-minute medley of "Time Remembered/Lonnie's Lament." I'm not crazy about jazz clubs, but for this trio I'd stay for the second set.