Like few musicians in the history of music, Kenny Wheeler has been able to make his music a trademark. An approach to his instrument, the trumpet, that has marked artistic events for generations of musicians. A sound that transfixes today as it did yesterday and touches whoever comes into contact with this artist. But Kenny Wheeler is more than that. Music at its purest, an instrumentalist but also as a composer and arranger.
And "The Long Waiting", released by CAM Jazz, the label to which Wheeler now inseparably links his name, is a precious gem inside the corpus of the trumpeter's discography. After having measured his composition for string quartet with the album "Other People" (CAM Jazz), Wheeler raises the stakes by facing a much larger format: the big band. The result is amazing, unique.
A modern writing that embellishes the history of the jazz orchestra. It seems simple, listening to this work with particular attention to the melody, but in Wheeler's themes there is a compositional complexity that only a great craftsman of music is able to construct. "This torrent of beautiful melody, this acceleration in creativity reminded me of the surge in work-rate which Picasso went through, producing several works a day in 1968-1971", explains the critic Sebastian Scotney, "Or of the last four years (1893-7) and nine opus numbers (114-122) of Brahms, the period after he'd told his publisher he was packing it in. Who knows where these late flowerings in a creative life come from. They are miracles."
Yet there’s no doubt the result would not be the same without the wonderful Kenny Wheeler Big Band, an orchestra that boasts in its ranks great soloists, capable of completely satisfying the compositional ideas of their conductor. And there is also a bit of Italy in the "The Long Waiting": the talented singer Diana Torto-- a musician who, for years, Wheeler chooses not to go without.
Recorded in Islington, London on 2, 3 September 2011 at Angel Recording Studio
Recording engineer Niall John Acott