Music for Large and Small Ensembles: (1984-1995)

Song for Someone: The Musical Life of Kenny Wheeler - Brian Shaw

Brian Shaw [+-]
Louisiana State University
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Brian Shaw is Associate Professor of Trumpet and Jazz Studies at Louisiana State University. He also serves as Principal Trumpet of the Baton Rouge Symphony, Co-Principal Trumpet of the Dallas Wind Symphony, and enjoys an international performing career on modern and Baroque trumpets. As a jazz musician and scholar, Shaw has served as a consultant to both the Kenny Wheeler Archive and Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Music in London and the Louis Armstrong Archive at Queens College. In recognition of his scholarship, Shaw was honored with one of only six Rainmaker awards given to LSU faculty in 2013. His book, Kenny Wheeler: Solo Transcriptions, is published by Universal Edition. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife Paula, their son Thomas, and their house full of rescued pets.
Nick Smart [+-]
Royal Academy of Music
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Head of Jazz at the Royal Academy of Music, Nick Smart is an internationally renowned jazz educator, trumpeter and musical director who has given guest masterclasses and performances around the world. In 2013 he was the winner of the prestigious UK Parliamentary Award for Jazz Education. Throughout the UK he is recognised as one of the leading musicians on the London jazz scene, where as well as being in regular demand as a sideman to players of all generations, he continues to record and tour with his own projects. In 2005 Nick released his debut album “Remembering Nick Drake” to critical acclaim. The album featured Smart’s arrangements of Nick Drake’s music played by an all star line-up including John Parricelli, Paul Clarvis, Christine Tobin and Stan Sulzmann amongst others. It was described by Straight No Chaser magazine as “…a future classic because it really captures all that is best about British jazz….” and by John Fordham in Jazz UK as “…fascinating music devoted to a fascinating inspiration.” In December 2008 Nick released his highly praised trio album “Remembering Louis Armstrong” featuring Hans Koller and Paul Clarvis. His latest band, Nick Smart’s Trogon, merges contemporary jazz sounds with Afro Cuban concepts and released the album "Tower Casa" on Babel Records in November 2013, described in the Guardian's 4 star review as "an undemonstratively idiosyncratic fusion, and Smart plays with brightness, tight timing and subtle intonation throughout." His versatility as a trumpet player has allowed him to perform alongside many international jazz stars including George Russell, Bob Brookmeyer, John Hollenbeck, the New York Voices, Mike Gibbs and Dave Douglas, as well as most of the leading names on the UK jazz scene. Amongst other things Nick was a member of the late Kenny Wheeler’s Big Band, with whom he had a long association and is widely recognised as an expert in Wheeler's music. He plays in a new quartet from saxophone star Stan Sulzmann and has recorded on the new album of vocalist Christine Tobin in her interpretations of Leonard Cohen songs. As an acclaimed musical director of large ensembles, Nick conducts the Stan Sulzmann Big Band (Neon Orchestra) and the Troyka large ensemble, “Troykestra”. He also performs internationally as the regular soloist with the James Taylor Quartet.

Description

This is perhaps one of the golden periods in Kenny’s musical life. He was touring with Dave Holland’s new quintet alongside saxophonist Steve Coleman and drummer Marvin ‘Smitty’ Smith, and in the late 80s Kenny formed his own all-star quintet – again with Holland, plus Peter Erskine, John Abercrombie and John Taylor. The band toured the UK and Europe to huge acclaim, recorded the ECM album The Widow in the Window, and formed the rhythm section for his 60th Birthday big band tour. This tour saw the premiere of the seminal Suite Time Suite, which was recorded for the ECM double album Music for Large and Small Ensembles. Kenny also recorded the album Flutter By, Butterfly for the Italian Soul Note label, which featured his now frequent saxophonist partner, Stan Sulzmann. During this time he was commissioned to set some poetry to music, some of which was released decades later on the 2012 album, Mirrors. Wheeler also became a member of George Gruntz’ all star large ensemble and maintained further live broadcasts of his own music with the BBC. But one of his best-selling ECM albums, and one of his last, was yet to be recorded.

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Citation

Shaw, Brian; Smart, Nick. Music for Large and Small Ensembles: (1984-1995). Song for Someone: The Musical Life of Kenny Wheeler. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Sep 2020. ISBN 9781781792193. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=25560. Date accessed: 19 Sep 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.25560. Sep 2020

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