Kenny Barron has never had anything going for himself except excellence. He is neither charismatic nor flamboyant. Perhaps because his mastery of modern mainstream jazz piano is so comprehensive, he has been more admired than loved. He has also transcended the flaws and mannerisms that humanize lesser piano players.
While excellence usually prevails, and while Barron has won virtually every important award that the jazz world bestows, it took him until age 75 to debut as a leader on Blue Note. Concentric Circles introduces a new band with three strong emerging players (tenor saxophonist Dayna Stephens, trumpeter Mike Rodriguez, drummer Johnathan Blake) and a long-term Barron associate (bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa).