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Kenny Barron: Things Unseen

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Kenny Barron’s seasoned crew of drummer Victor Lewis, saxophonist John Stubblefield, trumpeter Eddie Henderson and bassist David Williams, is augmented for this date by John Scofield’s distinctive guitar, percussionist Mino Cinelu-with whom Barron crafted one of ’96’s most rewarding recordings-and newcomer Naoko Terai on violin. Barron, who has achieved something akin to MVP status among piano players primarily for his broad capacity to enhance whoever’s session or record date he lays hands on, should also be recognized for his ability to artfully craft recordings under his imprimatur. The elegant Things Unseen continues that craft.

There is a certain airiness, a certain judicious use of space that pervades this date, as Barron and company certainly know how to avoid sonic traffic jams and engage a sense of openness that enhances this disc. Case in point is the blue “Christopher’s Dance,” which is essentially a workout for Scofield, Cinelu and Barron, though the entrance of Terai, a young Japanese woman, lays a soulful stamp on the piece. “Rose Noire” is a Barron/Terai duet that is completely improvised and could serve as an object lesson to many who endeavor to walk the edge-for lessons dial up tastemaster Kenny Barron.