Kenny Karsh


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From the opening of Ken Karsh's debut recording as a leader, it is apparent that he has great technical skill and the ability to swing. Assisted by a wide-ranging supporting cast of musicians (the best known of which is bassist Dwayne Dolphin), Karsh touches on many different styles. The boppish interpretation of Duke Ellington's "Just Squeeze Me" and a furious workout of "Seven Steps to Heaven" are delightful, while George Jones' ever-present conga especially changes the character of Billy Strayhorn's "Chelsea Bridge," making it a tad more exotic and a little less wistful. Karsh switches to acoustic guitar for his solo performance of the Beatles ballad "Blackbird," adding an intricate improvised introduction. His originals are a mixed bag. The laid-back ballad "In Retrospect" and the unaccompanied "Dancing Mist" (on acoustic guitar) hold one's interest, though "Andie's Song" comes off as slightly overproduced and bland. One of numerous musicians who has paid his dues for years while putting off recording under his own name, this laudatory effort by Ken Karsh is worth investigating.

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