Kenny Drew

Moonlit Desert

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Kenny Drew is joined by bassist Niels Pedersen and drummer Ed Thigpen, along with members of the Royal Danish Chamber Orchestra on this 1982 recording made originally for the Japanese label Baystate. Drew's playing is surprising laid-back and someone introspective for the most part. His arrangement of classical composer Edvard Grieg's "Solveig's Song" is masterful, with the addition of strings and a solo flute. Ernie Wilkins, who wrote the arrangements for the remaining tracks, also composed the boisterous "Kay-Dee," which adds a brass section to augment the trio. Alto flute plays a prominent role in the scoring of the standard "Stardust," showcasing Drew's ability to interpret ballads. Pedersen's prominent bass is a key component of the string-laden scoring of "Prelude to a Kiss," while another piece from the Duke Ellington songbook, "The Star-Crossed Lovers," is at first nearly overcome by overly sweet strings, but Pedersen's marvelous solo helps overcome this liability. While this CD may not appeal to fans of Drew's typical trio recordings in a hard bop setting, those with open minds will enjoy it.

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