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Kenny Wheeler: All the More

Wheeler shows off his considerable talents as a composer and trumpet master with this 1993 recording made in Italy. Full of ideas, color, and captivating melodies, Wheeler’s group consists of longtime associate John Taylor on piano, Furio Di Castri on bass, and Joe LaBarbera on drums.

The opening tune, “Phase One,” has Wheeler lyrical and smooth, enjoying harmonic changes and group interplay with his patented voice on the trumpet. The title tune has some sharp edges and can be somewhat disquieting at times, but Wheeler converses aggressively, with Taylor’s solo following suit and LaBarbera keeping the tension just right.

LaBarbera, who played with the final Bill Evans trio, contributed an inspired “Kind of Bill” to the set, a tune that pays rightful homage to the late Evans and his contributions to the Miles Davis recording, Kind of Blue.

Wheeler’s playing is on a high plane, but bolstered in a great way by Taylor’s piano artistry. The group is tight-knit and cutting-edge, having the ultimate advantage of musicianship, respect for each other’s space, and Wheeler’s majestic compositions.

Originally Published