Labels > Cam Jazz > Kenny Wheeler > The Long Waiting

Kenny Wheeler

The Long Waiting

Cam Jazz CAMJ 7848-5

john taylor stan sulzmann julian arguelles martin france john parricelli chris laurence

Item: full_album_8052405140555_CD

Artists :
John Parricelli ( Guitar )
Julian Argüelles ( Soprano & Tenor Sax )
Martin France ( Drums )
John Taylor ( Piano )
Kenny Wheeler ( Trumpet, Flugelhorn )
Pete Churchill ( Conductor )
Diana Torto ( vocals )
Ray Warleigh ( Alto Sax )
Duncan Lamont ( Alto Sax )
Stan Sulzmann ( Tenor & Soprano Sax )
Julian Siegel ( Tenor Sax )
Henry Lowther ( Trumpet )
Derek Watkins ( Trumpet )
Tony Fisher ( Trumpet )
Nick Smart ( Trumpet )
Mark Nightingale ( Trombone )
Barnaby Dickinson ( Trombone )
Dave Horler ( Trombone )
Dave Stewart ( Bass Trombone )
Chris Laurence ( Bass )
Release date
Jan 24, 2012
Duration
1:8:33
Barcode
8052405140555

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

Reviews

Kenny Wheeler Big Band The Long Waiting

La figura del trombettista, compositore e arrangiatore canadese è indiscussa. Il jazz gli deve molto: lo testimoniano le parole di Evan Parker che accompagnano queste otto composizioni. A 81 anni la musica di Wheeler sgorga limpida e roca, originale, audace eppure cantabile. Il jazzista prende assoli in cui la tecnica mostra limiti senza cedimenti sul piano dell’ispirazione. Nella big band spiccano P. Churchill (direttore), D. Torto (voce), J. Taylor (piano).

17/11/2012Alias - Il ManifestoLuigi Onori
Kenny Wheeler Big Band The Long Waiting

Although trumpeter Kenny Wheeler has devoted much time to small groups, his large-ensemble work dates back to the 1960s. This new document involves 19 players–and a conductor–drawn from Wheeler’s London environs, including tenor saxophonist and longtime colleague Stan Sulzmann, one of the first track, “Canter N. 6”. In “Four, Five, Six” its’ baritone saxophonist Julian Argüelles, an intriguing leader in his own right, who burns over bossa-rooted rhythm and soaring changes. Pianist John Taylor, almost as much an architect of the Wheeler sound as Wheeler himself, does marvelous work in “Enowena” and “Upwards”. Diana Torto is poised and precise in her wordless vocals, although a little goes a long way–she’s a bit too prevalent in every arrangement.
At 82, Wheeler still has his round, swooping, legato tone, with pitch fluctuations that give his melodies and solos a kind of astral bluesiness (here he plays only flugelhorn). His harmonic language is all the more regal and expansive with a big band, and this recording does it justice: hushed trio passages and full-band crescendos come through with clarity. “Canter N.1/Old Ballad” proves an inspired medley, the former strongly evoking John Coltrane’s “Like Sonny”, with rich solos from guitarist John Parricelli and tenorist Julian Siegel.

10/11/2012stereophile.comDavid R. Adler
Kenny Wheeler Big Band The Long Waiting

Er redet nur das Nötigste, gilt als Eigenbrötler und Melancholiker. Dass sich Kenny Wheeler nun tatsächlich mit mehreren Stimmen, sprich einer Big-Band-Aufnahme, zurückmeldet, kann man demzufolge fast als kleine Sensation betrachten. 82 Jahre zählt der Kanadier, der seit den 1950er-Jahren in Großbritannien lebt, mittlerweile, die Gesundheit fordert zunehmend ihren Tribut, die Schaffenskraft scheint jedoch ungebrochen. Bei einem leidenschaftlichen Grübler wie Wheeler lohnt es sich immer, auch die jeweiligen CD-Titel zu hinterfragen. So nennt der Flügelhorn Virtuose sein aktuelles Werk nicht ohne Grund “The Long Waiting”. 22 Jahre dauerte es nämlich, bis Wheeler dem grandiosen “Music For Large And Small Ensemble” (ECM/Universal) eine großorchestrale Aufnahme folgen ließ. Und das Warten hat sich in der Tat gelohnt: Selten zuvor klang eine Big Band vielschwimmt das überwiegend englisch besetzte Ensemble keineswegs zu einer konturlosen, durcharrangierten Masse, sondern bietet genügend Raum für die solistischen Höhenflüge von John Taylor (Piano), Ray Warleigh (Altsaxofon) und vor allem Mark Nightingale (Posaune). Der stille Chef überrascht mit einem klaren, makellosen, sinnlichen Ton und einem Sturzbach traumhafter Melodien, die alle das Zeug zu Standards haben. Ganz großer Wurf!

10/9/2012Jazzthingrk
Kenny Wheeler Big Band The Long Waiting

Der Titel des Albums könnte passender nicht sein. 22 Jahre sind seit Kenny Wheelers letzter Einspielung in Großbesetzung unter eigenem Namen ins Land gegangen. Damals, 1990 legte der heute 82-jährige Kanadier mit ständigem Wohnsitz im britischen Königreich mit “Music For Large And Small Ensemble” ein Album vor, das die Fachleute bis heute zu den herausragenden Werken des Big Band-Jazz zählen. Acht Musiker von damals, darunter Pianist John Taylor, die Saxophonisten Julian Argüelles und Duncan Lamont und Posaunist Dave Horler, sind auch bei “The Long Waiting” wieder mit von der Partie. Den Part von Norma Winstone hat die italienisch Sängerin Diana Torto übernommen, die in der Vergangenheit sowohl John Taylor als auch Kenny Wheeler des Öfteren zur Seite stand und von der der renommierte Kritiker John Fordham im Guardian schwärmte, sie sei “a performer with great accuracy, tonal purity and improvisational flexibility”. Tortos eindrucksvolles Scat-Solo auf “Enowena” und ihre ansonsten vielschichtig kolorierende Stimme auf dem Album unterstreichen die Einschätzung Fordhams. Alle Arrangements stammen aus der Feder Kenny Wheelers und besitzen wieder ausnahmslos diese berückend pastellfarbene Schwerelosigkeit und Leichtigkeit, die fast schon ein wenig in Entrücktheit abzugleiten droht und die dennoch voll innerer Spannung zu vibrieren scheint. Physisch leider nicht mehr ganz auf der Höhe, steht der Ton des Chefs – diesmal nur auf dem Flügelhorn zu hören – ungebrochen, klar und lyrisch voll und satt im Raum. Mit der edlen Linienführung eines Meister-Kalligraphen zeichnet Wheelers Horn süffige Soli in den Himmel über der grundierenden Big Band.
Die Großformation scheint im Jazz derzeit eine kleine Renaissance zu erfahren. Junge Orchester wie die von John Hollenbeck, James Darcy Argue oder das Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra in Deutschland und Ping Machine in Frankreich legen darüber beredt Zeugnis ab.
Schön, dass mit Kenny Wheeler nun auch ein “elder statesman” des Jazz den Baton noch einmal in die Hand genommen hat, um in diesem Reigen der jungen Wilden mitzutun. Seine Musik für Großformation ist immer noch eine Klasse für sich.

10/9/2012Jazz PodiumThorsten Hingst
The Long Waiting

Kenny Wheeler sits in the shadows, biding his time. Well, not really, but on The Long Waiting, he lets his superb band do a lot of the flashy lifting. Wheeler is a soloistic presence on the album, of course — his flugelhorn nimbly jumping from tones in the middle of his range to stratospheric squeals — but his band-mates equally share the spotlight.
An alto saxophone takes the pole position on “Canter N. 6” and “Canter N.1/Old Ballad”, taking the melody and running with it. It’s a smooth, breezy sound that establishes the pace, and the playfulness, of the album. Bu vocalist Diana Torto is one of the biggest beneficiaries of Wheeler’s waiting approach and might be one of the main musicians, aside from Wheeler himself, who is responsible for the tone of the album. Torto appears on every tune, but not always in a featured role, alternating between taking a lead and simply being a part of the ensemble. On most tunes, her voice is merely another layer in the rich big-band concoction.
Wheeler does take the lead on the title track, a ballad. His fragile solo melody sits atop a soft bed of brass, buffeted by woodwind fills at the ends of phrases. Soft vocals in the background blend with the instruments. The piece is at odds with most of the uptempo modern tracks.
The Long Waiting is also about parallels and the continuation of tunes across an entire work. By forging track links throughout the album, Wheeler has created connections to engage the listener. The mid-tempo “Four, Five, Six” is slowed down in its mirror “Seven, Eight, Nine”, with the melody becoming more disjunct and jumpy. Ideas from “Canter N. 6” are echoed in “Canter N.1/Old Ballad”.

1/9/2012DownbeatJon Ross
Kenny Wheeler Big Band The Long Waiting

L’ottantaduenne maestro anglo-canadese Kenny Wheeler propone, in questo “The Long Waiting” edito dalla prestigiosa label italiana CAM JAZZ, una nuova esperienza discografica da aggiungere alla sua lunga carriera artistica. Questa volta ad affiancare il veterano fuoriclasse della tromba e del flicorno europeo non è un quartetto d’archi, come in “Other People”, bensì una vera e propria Big Band condotta dal direttore Pete Churchill. Wheeler conferma, in questo lavoro, il suo saper stare al centro della scena e il saper proporre la propria musica, anche quando si ritrova in un corposo contesto orchestrale di tal tipo. In compagnia del suo alter ego John Taylor al pianoforte, Ray Warleigh e Duncan Lamont al contralto, Stan Sulzmann a Julian Siegel al tenore, Julian Argüelles al baritono, Henry Lowther, Derek Watkins, Tony Fisher e Nick Smart alla tromba, Dave Horler, Mark Nightingale, Barnaby Dickinson ai tromboni, Dave Stewart al trombone basso, Diana Torto alla voce, John Parricelli alla chitarra, Chris Laurence al basso e Martin France alla batteria, Kenny Wheeler offre un altro saggio della personale vena compositiva e della propria abilità nel miscelare scrittura e improvvisazione. Il disco racchiude otto composizioni del vecchio maestro, in cui traspare il consueto verbo jazzistico, ricolmo di un dolce e struggente gusto melodico ben correlato ad una più complessa costruzione armonica. L’impatto orchestrale della Big Band, formata da famosi solisti della scena britannica, pone in evidenza l’inconfondibile liricità pianistica di John Taylor e la voce/strumento dell’italiana Diana Torto. “Canter n. 6” per il suo vibrante crescendo, “Four, Five, Six” per la sua ammiccante coralità e “Seven, Eight, Nine” per la coinvolgente tensione ritmico-armonica sono i brani che lasciano maggiormente ammirati, sebbene anche “Enowen” e “Comba n. 3” si fanno apprezzare per la loro struggente eleganza. Pertanto, “The Long Waiting” (seppur metta in risalto un sostanziale decadimento timbrico-dinamico della voce strumentale del bandleader) è la testimonianza di come il maestro d’oltremanica abbia interpretato da mezzo secolo il suo jazz, attraverso una peculiare visione poetico-romantica e una marcata concezione europeista della musica che, in questo caso, strizza l’occhio alle big band dei maestri Gil Evans e Jones/Lewis.
Registrato nel 2011 presso l’Angel Recording Studio di Londra e mixato nel novembre dello stesso anno a Ludwigsburg in Germania, il lavoro presenta una buona veridicità timbrica e una scena ampia e profonda che rendono piacevole l’ascolto del suo contenuto artistico.

18/6/2012Fedeltà del Suono - La Bacchetta MagicaFrancesco Peluso
TRa TRomboni (exTRa-large)

…il flicornista anglo-canadese Kenny Wheeler, col cui recente The Long Waiting (CamJazz) imbocchiamo l’uscita del nostro percorso odierno, dedicando qualche parola a due cd in tutto e per tutto di nuovo orchestrali dovuti a musicisti stranieri, però largamente di casa in Italia, e coinvolgenti anche solisti nostrani. La band wheeleriana, per esempio, include fra i suoi diciassette elementi la cantante Diana Torto, oltre a nomi storici del jazz inglese quali Ray Warleigh, Stan Sulzmann, Henry Lowther, John Taylor, Chris Laurence. Il tutto, per la verità, non dà sempre gli esiti sperati, visto che gli otto pezzi complessivi, tutti inappuntabili, poggiano su situazioni un po’ sempre uguali a se stesse: sezioni corali piane, lineari, alternate a soli altrettanto rettilinei, in fondo un po’ prevedibili, di regola con Wheeler ad aprire la fila. Proprio la Torto, in tal senso, rappresenta la discriminante più evidente, e come tale preziosa.

4/6/2012 lisolachenoncera.it Alberto Bazzurro
The Long Waiting Kenny Wheeler

Il titolo del nuovo CD del trombettista canadese Kenny Wheeler, "La lunga attesa," è probabilmente un riferimento al tempo trascorso dal suo precedente lavoro alla guida di un grosso organico; ben 22 anni sono passati infatti da Music for Large and Small Ensembles che, curiosamente, seguiva dopo 22 anni l'unico altro precedente analogo (se si esclude il più orientato al free Song for Someone del 1973) ed esordio discografico di Wheeler, Windmill Tilter. Nel mezzo ci sono stati altri progetti orchestrali, ma con il trombettista solo in veste di ospite, come nel recente Nineteen Plus One, dove era presente la cantante Diana Torto che Wheeler ha voluto al suo fianco anche in questa occasione insieme a molti dei suoi collaboratori abituali come John Taylor, Julian Arguelles, Chris Laurence, John Parricelli, Ray Warleigh e Stan Sulzman, da sempre a rappresentare il meglio del jazz inglese.
Ritroviamo in questo lavoro tutta la poetica di Wheeler, esaltata dagli arrangiamenti che sottolineano la freschezza delle melodie, la leggerezza dei ritmi, la ricchezza delle armonie e dei timbri. La dimensione orchestrale permette di apprezzare la raffinatezza della scrittura, l'eleganza dell'incastro delle parti, l'equilibrio tra composizione e improvvisazione. Tutti elementi che contraddistinguono la sua musica in qualsiasi circostanza e formazione strumentale, dal solo in su, ma è solo su questa scala che la perfezione dell'insieme risalta in tutta la sua pienezza con ampia dovizia di dettagli.
L'abbondanza di particolari assicura un'esperienza diversa ad ogni ascolto, scegliendo di volta in volta su cosa concentrarsi, senza mai rischiare di rimanere delusi. Da sottolineare l'apporto di tutti i solisti, che hanno modo di mettersi in evidenza in almeno un'occasione, sempre espressivi nel rispetto dello spirito instaurato dalle composizioni di Wheeler. Da parte sua il trombettista, qui impegnato esclusivamente al flicorno, si ritaglia un proprio spazio in ogni brano con assoli brevi ma sempre ispirati.
Impossibile scegliere qualche brano in particolare, il livello musicale è sempre costantemente altissimo, ma non si può non segnalare almeno “Enowena” con la splendida voce di Diana Torto in evidenza. Il CD è semplicemente meraviglioso, sicuramente tra le vette più alte raggiunte da Wheeler, e va riconosciuto alla CAMJazz il grosso merito di averlo reso possibile.

21/5/2012 italia.allaboutjazz.com Mario Calvitti
The Long Waiting Kenny Wheeler Big Band

The waiting has indeed been long – it’s been a decade since Wheeler’s last album of big-band compositions – but this was worth it. Working with a mostly English crew featuring pianist John Taylor (a regular collaborator) and singer Diana Torto, Wheeler reminds us why he is one of the most esteemed composers in jazz. In addition to a masterful command of the big-band palette – the trombones and voice at the beginning of Comba No. 3 are simply ravishing – he retains his knack for balancing complex harmony with memorably lyric melodies, something that makes even large-scale work like Enowena seem song-like. A stunner.

4/5/2012theglobeandmail.comJ.D. Considine
Kenny Wheeler Big Band - The Long Waiting

De Canadese trompettist en bugelspeler Kenny Wheeler is legendarisch verlegen en bescheiden. Het is daarom niet verbazingwekkend dat zijn muziek voor bigband ingetogen klinkt, zelfs bijna fluisterzacht. Juist door die terughoudende benadering komt de zingbare kwaliteit van de bijna fluwelen melodieën naar voren.
De voornamelijk Britse muzikanten met wie Wheeler zich heeft omringd, hebben niet allemaal een grote naam. Maar zij brengen de vereiste fijnzinnigheid en creëren, 19 man sterk, een doordringende sound waarin elke nuance hoorbaar blijft. De vocalen van Diana Torto zullen voor sommigen te arty zijn, toch versterken ze het unieke geluid van deze plaat, waarop Wheeler zich andermaal een groots solist en eigenzinnig componist betoont.

7/4/2012telegraaf.nlMischa Andriessen
Kenny Wheeler Big Band: The Long Waiting

While likely not the reason behind its title, The Long Waiting could easily fit for fans of the Canadian expat trumpeter who has lived in England since the 1950s. Since coming to Cam Jazz in 2004 with his duo recording with longtime pianist and fellow Cam Jazzer John Taylor, Where Do We Go From Here?, Kenny Wheeler has ramped up his output, releasing four more albums in the ensuing years. But all of the octogenarian's Cam Jazz recordings have been small ensemble affairs, and though he's collaborated with larger ensembles like Italy's Colours Jazz Orchestra on Nineteen Plus One (Astarte, 2009), it's been far too long since Wheeler released a big band recording solely under his own name—22 years, in fact, when Music for Large & Small Ensembles was released by ECM.
The wait is over. That eight players are back speaks both to their dedication to the music of one of jazz's most important composers of the past six decades, and of Wheeler's faith in their ability to bring his distinctive charts to life. Some—trumpeters Henry Lowther and Derek Watkins—go right back to Wheeler's first leader date, the 1969 Fontana classic Windmill Tilter, though any who follow Wheeler's career will find plenty of familiar faces in this brass-heavy, nineteen-piece big band. Perhaps the most notable newish face is Nineteen Plus One's Diana Torto. Like Wheeler's previous vocalist of choice, Norma Winstone, Torto possesses inestimable chops, but knows when to use them—and when to lay back. Here, her wordless vocals add distinction to the melody of the buoyant waltz-time "Enowena," navigating Wheeler's interval-challenging melody with ease as part of the larger ensemble, and delivering an impressive scat solo that more effectively distances her from Winstone's spare approach for one of The Long Waiting's high points.
Wheeler's writing is immediately recognizable, a kind of gentle melancholy dominating the melodies, even at brighter tempos. Most of The Long Waiting's eight tracks are new, though he does revisit "Coma N.3," a particularly heartbreaking ballad from It Takes Two! (Cam Jazz, 2006), but its larger palette here facilitating a build to more climactic peaks. It Takes Two!'s John Parricelli is not featured on this version, though his warm electric solos on "Enowena" and the fierier "Canter N.1," are just two more reasons why this veteran session guitarist deserves greater recognition. "Canter N.1" and a reprised "Old Ballad" from Kayak (Ah Um, 1992) also feature incendiary and softer solos, respectively, from tenor saxophonist Julian Siegel, whose work with Partisans and his own records including Urban Theme Park (Basho, 2011) have placed him at the vanguard of a younger generation of significant British jazzers.
Wheeler continues to focus solely on flugelhorn these days, but at 82 his technique remains impeccable, his signature leaps into the stratosphere still as accurate—and thrilling—as ever. Based on history and given his age, it's unlikely that another big band recording will be coming from Wheeler in another 22 years (though we can certainly hope). Still, with plenty of other projects yet to come, if The Long Waiting turns out to be the trumpeter's final large ensemble recording, it's as good a big band swan song as anyone could hope for, filled with resonant charts that brim with strong melodies, effervescent solos and a harmonic complexion that could only come from the pen and horn of Kenny Wheeler.

27/3/2012allaboutjazz.comJohn Kelman
Kenny Wheeler Big Band, The Long Waiting

Alla faccia degli 82 anni, vola alto e stupisce per bellezza e limpidezza di arrangiamenti e melodie. Farà breccia nel cuore di chi ama la bella musica, non solo jazz.

17/03/2012D-laRepubblicaeditorial
KENNY WHEELER BIG BAND The Long Waiting

In oltre mezzo secolo di attività, Kenny Wheeler ha dato normalmente priorità alle doti di compositore e arrangiatore, sisa in formazioni ristrette che di grandi dimensioni, preoccupandosi solo successivamente di inserire il suo flicorno (e/o la tromba e la cornetta) dal timbro rotondo, dal vibrato naturale e dal fraseggio morbido, estendibile a tre ottave e mezzo. L’ottantaduenne artista canadese si è finora cimentato con l’avanguardia e il free (seminali le prove con Braxton su Arista), con la musica accademica e il jazz storico, rivelando una spiccata propensione per il “nuovo”. Certi vecchi album ECM continuano a lasciare il segno, su tutti gli splendidi “Gnu High” (1976) e “Music For Large & Small Ensembles” (1990); visto però che la label di Manfred Eicher non gli garantisce di incidere con regolarità, da qualche anno il musicista è diventato uno dei punti fermi della nostrana CAMJazz.
Dopo “One Of Many” in trio, adesso Wheeler si diversifica con l’orchestrale “The Long Waiting”, comunque impregnato nella visione fondante che da sempre contraddistingue il suo universo: l’introversione lirico/romantica, la rinfrescante vena post/cool, la concezione europeista degli impasti, gli omaggi-flash alle big band dei maestri (Gil Evans e Jones/Lewis in testa). L’organico conta diciannove strumentisti (ben tredici fiati) e il conduttore Pete Churchill. Le solari partiture di Wheeler, autorevole ad applicare con puntigliosità le proprie trame – ora sospese, ora dal forte impatto – snellite da una mirabile maestria nel coagulare parti scritte e improvvisate. Negli otto brillanti episodi si ergono, tra gli altri, il rigore poetico del flicorno del leader, il pianoforte “pensato” di John Taylor e la voce/strumento di Diana Torto, unica italiana coinvolta.

15/3/2012AudioreviewEnzo Pavoni
Diana Torto, voce (muta) per la tromba di Wheeler

Nato nel 1930, il trombettista canadese Kenny Wheeler vive dal 1952 in Gran Bretagna e è uno dei jazzisti contemporanei più influenti al mondo. Ogni tanto dedica qualcuna delle sue fascinose partiture ai suoni di una big band; è il caso del recentissimo “The Long Waiting”, che raccoglie talenti vecchi e nuovi sulla scena londinese e aggiunge la voce funambolica (usata senza parole, come un altro strumento a fiato) dell’italiana Diana Torto. La scrittura può risultare a volte enfatica, ma ha sempre un ammirevole rigore, dal quale si dispiegano le voci dei solisti fra i quali naturalmente l’autore degli 8 brani è in primo piano con la sua pungente, meravigliosa sapienza armonica. Da gustare le note di copertina del celebre sassofonista Evan Parker.

26/2/2012Corriere della SeraClaudio Sessa
Kenny Wheeler Big Band

Kenny Wheeler is at an age when most musicians, however great, are resting decorously on their laurels. But the trumpeter and composer, known for his almost pathological modesty, has never been much of a fan of laurels. He still spends four hours a day practising his instrument and another four hours writing new music. That Wheeler is still doing so at the age of 82 is a testament both to his stamina and to his commitment as an artist. That he should still be producing new work the equal of anything in his illustrious back catalogue is a gift to the world. Wheeler was born in Canada and has been based in London since the early 1950s. He was a leading member of the free jazz movement that flourished in England during the 1970s. However, thanks to the economics of the jazz life, Europe’s most influential and original jazz composer was forced to make his living as a session player for much of that time, and his horn turns up in the most unlikely places – including, legend has it, on the theme tune to the classic children’s TV series Mr Benn. But all the time he was writing his own music, and it was as a composer and bandleader that Wheeler finally rose to international prominence in the 1980s, releasing a string of now-classic recordings for the ECM label, which culminated in the Big Band recording that many regard as his masterpiece, Music for Small and Large Ensembles (1990). Those who have worn that gorgeous record smooth will be overjoyed – in as much as a Wheeler fan could ever evince such an emotion – to hear that the composer has once more assembled his Big Band and has once more put before them a book of his own compositions. His ear is as attuned to the beauty of melancholy as it ever was. His bittersweet harmonies remain so distinctive that even soloists as strong as pianist John Taylor and saxophonist Stan Sulzman can’t escape their wistful embrace. And Wheeler’s trademark flugelhorn (he solos on every tune) is as agile and as touching as ever. The Long Waiting was worth every minute.

17/2/2012The Irish TimesCormac Larkin
The Long Waiting

C'è la sua cantante, che negli ultimi tempi ama avere al fianco, Diana Torto. Ma soprattutto, dietro il flicorno del gigante canadese Kenny Wheeler, c'è una big bad che esalta la sua creatività, il suo impeto sonoro. Che si sviluppa attraverso otto brani originali. Conquista il pezzo che dà il titolo al cd.

02/2/2012Corriere della SeraStefania Ulivi e Lorenzo Viganò
Kenny Wheeler Big Band: The Long Waiting

There's a kind of magic about Kenny Wheeler, both his playing and his composition. Everything he invents, even the most abstract musical shape, turns out to be melodic. He is surrounded here by 20 of Britain's finest jazz players from several generations, and everything they play comes out sounding like a bit of Kenny. He's a great trumpet player, but here he sticks to the mellow, soft-voiced flugelhorn, sidling in and stealing the show every time. His orchestration is gorgeous, too, with the remarkable, wordless voice of Diana Torto prominent. The squad of excellent soloists includes saxophonist Ray Warleigh, trombonist Mark Nightingale and pianist John Taylor.

29/1/2012The ObserverDave Gelly
Kenny Wheeler: The Long Waiting

Kenny Wheeler, the expat Canadian trumpeter and jazz composer, was 82 last week – but this big band session featuring new themes and plenty of flugelhorn improvising, was recorded only a few months ago. Wheeler still practises four hours a day and writes for another four. The pieces here glow with his inimitably bittersweet harmonies and build melodic fragments that sound like snatches of wistful songs into richly layered, choirlike effects. They sound as fresh as if he'd just discovered his muse. Wheeler's flugelhorn-playing has its wobbly moments, but his upper-register sound still soars and glides. It's complemented by trenchant playing from a classy band that includes alto-saxist Ray Warleigh, trombonist Barnaby Dickinson and pianist John Taylor, with Italian vocalist Diana Torto functioning as an extra saxophone, soloing dazzlingly on Enowena. Comba N3, with its pensive flugelhorn and delicate alto-sax passages, and the lovely Old Ballad (a Wheeler staple) are among the highlights of another essential item for followers of Britain's most reluctant jazz hero.

26/1/2012guardian.co.uk John Fordham