The trio step forward into the '90s and churn out another impressive collection, this one containing mostly either Barron or group originals rather than tons of standards. Exacting, carefully constructed, and consistently brilliant playing all around.
Barron, Kenny – Lemuria-Seascape [2xLP] – New LP
The great American pianist and composer Kenny Barron has appeared on hundreds of recordings as a leader and a sideman and is considered one of the most influential mainstream jazz pianists since the bebop era. Born in 1943, Barron started on piano at the age of 12, and after some rhythm and blues experience was gigging with Philly Joe Jones at 16. He made his recording debut in 1961 and the following year joined Dizzy Gillespie’s band which firmly established the pianist in jazz circles. Though Barron might be best known for his association with the sections of Gillespie (1962-66), Freddie Hubbard (1970-75), and Ron Carter (1976- 80), remarkably, Barron has played with virtually every leading figure in his journeyman career. This includes George Benson, Booker Ervin, Ella Fitzgerald, Chico Freeman, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Elvin Jones, Abbey Lincoln, Buddy Rich, and Clark Terry, just to name a few. This album originally released in 1991 showcases the warm, undiluted lyricism of Barron’s playing, with stellar performances from Ray Drummond on bass and Ben Riley on drums. This classic jazz trio session encapsulates the essence of Barron’s style and the work is bookended by two Barron compositions; Lemuria, is the pacific equivalent of the lost continent of Atlantis, while Seascape places the listener above the water and possibly even on it. It should be noted that Barron was a founding member of the group Sphere, dedicated to recycling and renewing the Thelonious Monk canon in the 1980s and here he does his part to keep the genius of Monk alive with a delightful version of Ask Me Now. Recorded at the famed Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey in 1991 by Rudy Van Gelder, and remastered in 2022.
by Ron Wynn