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Kenny Werner : Democracy: Live at the Blue Note

The photograph on pianist Kenny Werner’s Democracy is misleading. He’s wearing a sequined bow tie with an American flag motif, and he’s looking grumpy behind a pair of shades. This might suggest he’s sour about the current state of the union or that his record will be a serious, stuffy, buttoned-down affair. All that this proves is that you can’t judge a disc by its jacket.

The February 2006 Blue Note stand by Werner’s group amounts to a standard-bearer of timeless postbop. The quintet is top-shelf, all the way. Saxophonist David Sanchez shares the spotlight with Werner on much of the outing, trumpeter Matt Shulman performs more than ably and the in-demand rhythm section of drummer Brian Blade and bassist Scott Colley never lets up. Trumpeter Kenny Wheeler makes a guest appearance on the final number.

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