Kenny Drew, Jr.


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Although Kenny Drew, Jr. is the son of the well-known jazz pianist Kenny Drew, he approaches the piano from a far different perspective. Steeped in modern, more linear influences like Bill Evans, Chick Corea, and Keith Jarrett, the younger Drew is one of the top players of his generation, though many jazz fans might not be aware of him, since most of his recordings have been made in Europe and Japan, including this TCB release. Featuring bassist Lynn Seaton and drummer Marvin "Smitty" Smith, the trio tackles a wide range of material with enthusiasm. His reworking of Steve Swallow's swirling "Falling Grace" transforms it into an intense post-bop vehicle. His spacious arrangement of Vince Guaraldi's "Great Pumpkin Waltz" begins with a lush solo and displays his solid background in classical piano studies. Charles Mingus' "O.P." (a tribute to bassist Oscar Pettiford) is scored as an intense Latin-flavored bop chart, featuring Smith's powerful percussion. Drew's playful take of Corea's "Mirror Mirror" is a masterpiece. His elegant treatment of his father's sumptuous ballad "Images" showcases Seaton's warm arco bass, while the senior Drew's "Only You" is a gorgeous piano solo. The leader also contributed two valuable originals. The lighthearted "Nelson Avenue Morning" and both takes of his thunderous "Serial Blues" indicate that the apple did not fall far from the tree (in terms of musical talent), even though Kenny Drew, Jr. had little contact with his father during his formative years as a musician. Highly recommended.

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