Above All

Jonny King

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Above All Review

by Ken Dryden

New York City native Jonny King was one of the Young Lions to emerge on the jazz scene in the early '90s. The pianist recorded with trombonist Eric Felten and composer/arranger Anthony Branker and led a few record dates of his own, in addition to being recognized for his gifts as a composer, though he also had a busy law practice. Above All features him with a veteran rhythm section consisting of bassist Ed Howard and drummer Victor Lewis, with whom he has worked extensively. In his liner notes, King credits his bandmates with contributing suggestions that fine-tuned approaches to his originals, which explains why everything comes together so well. Following the breezy post-bop opener "The Merry-Go-Round," King shifts gears with the poignant "Above All," a rich ballad dedicated to his late father that changes its mood from melancholy to joy as the arrangement shifts from the piano solo to trio. His intricate "Lullaby for Cecelia" is a shimmering waltz, while "Like It Is" is a compelling blend of funk and Latin. The snappy "Neither Here Nor There" showcases Howard extensively before King takes over with his intensive workout at the piano. Recommended.

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