March 1997

Jack Wilkins and the Kenny Drew Jr. Quartet
Keep in Touch
Claves Records

There are no disappointments here. From a quartet such as this-Andy McKee on bass and Akira Tana on drums fill out the group-one expects some fireworks. They deliver. Wilkins is a wonderfully lyrical guitarist, with great facility put to the service of a finely honed sense of melody: seldom does one have the sense that he is just running through the modes. Drew is a truly gifted pianist, who can evoke both Tatum and Evans by turns-but evocation is a by-product of inspiration here. Like his co-leader, Drew seems intent on carving out personal statements, as soloists and as a band. They give the sense of being far more than passing acquaintances on this date: all four players seem to be enjoying themselves immensely. It is likely that the listener will find himself in the same state: this is a promising and exciting recording for all parties concerned.

Originally published in March 1997
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