Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Kenny Barron: At the Piano

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

Launched in 1975 by Don Schlitten, Xanadu Records released more than 100 LPs through 1986, including more than 40 reissues of archival material from the ’40s and ’50s. The high quality of the releases likely owed to Schlitten’s intimate involvement with the label, as he often “produced and directed” sessions, designed covers and wrote liner notes. These three notable releases, including one Schlitten produced for the Muse label, are among 25 gems being reissued under the Xanadu Master Edition banner.

At the Piano, Kenny Barron’s debut solo album, recorded in 1981 on a nine-foot Steinway in the same New York studio that was home to high-end classical players, offers an up-close snapshot of the virtuosity, broadly encompassing style and wide-ranging repertoire that would come to define his storied career. He nails the spirit of Monk with a suitably moody “Misterioso” and a playful “Rhythm-a-Ning,” and offers his first recording of Strayhorn’s gorgeous “The Star-Crossed Lovers.” Also here from Barron’s pen is the brisk, Powell-toasting “Bud-Like,” the inviting “Calypso” and the pretty, relaxed “Enchanted Flower”; an arguably definitive version of “Body and Soul”; and the downhome “Wazuri Blues.”

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published