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  • Angel Song
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Angel Song

5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 11, 1997
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Editorial Reviews

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Kenny Wheeler is among the most lyrically commanding yet daring of modern trumpeters. There's a palpable ease of execution, and a poignant human quality, to his distinctive timbre, as on the title tune where his fluttering descents into the lower register, the cracked yet powerful vocal inflections, and the sudden emission of high harmonics suggest a whistling column of air slowly leaking from a balloon. And from the moody Spanish tinge of "Present Past" to the raga-ish Nordic gravity of "Unti," alto player Lee Konitz matches Wheeler's lyric ease with a singing sound and rhythmic buoyancy all his own. And on "Omno," the jazziest selection of this recital, bassist Dave Holland's fluent 4/4 pulse and electric guitarist Bill Frisell's evocative minor voicings form a seamless web of open harmonies, leading to a contrapuntal dialogue which recalls Lennie Tristano's visionary late-'40s designs--a direct ancestor of this evocative set of chamber jazz. --Chip Stern


1. Angel Song: Nicolette
2. Angel Song: Present Past
3. Angel Song: Kind Folk
4. Angel Song: Unti
5. Angel Song
6. Angel Song: Onmo
7. Angel Song: Nonetheless
8. Angel Song: Past Present
9. Angel Song: Kind Of Gentle

Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 11, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ecm Records
  • ASIN: B000003204
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #261,367 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

5 star
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2 star
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 5, 1999
Format: Audio CD
What a pelasure to hear an album that could only have come about through mutual respect and collaboration. I've been folowing Frisell for a while, buit he really shines when he gets the right people around him. He has them here.
Of course this is not a Frisell album, everyone puts forth a great effort. Kenny Wheeler does a superb job, and Dave Holland's bass work is wonderful.
I'm fiding myself reaching for this album late at night - windows open, cool breeze. Or early in the morning - when I'm just waking up. It doesn't rush anything - it takes its time, it has some space.
Here are four musicians confident in their own abilities, and willing to step forward - or step aside. The interplay is great, and a pleasure to the ears. This is helped enormously by a great production job from Manfred Eicher (what would you expect?)
Buy it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By B. Penrod on March 1, 2013
Format: Audio CD
This album is extraordinary in concept and execution. A drummerless, four piece ensemble that's not playing Bach, but manages the emotional connection, dramatic tension and intimacy that the chamber format works so well to achieve. I'm left teary by the mysterious beauty of several of the cuts. Maybe Unti is my favorite, with its recurring themes and gorgeous harmonies. Dave Holland is stunning, Lee Konitz beyond masterfully smooth, Bill Frizell is piercingly on--and Wheeler is soaring, and sinking and all the other feelings he manages to wring out of his horns and compositions. Wheeler once said that sad music makes him happy, and I'm totally on board with that realization. Sad music seems to me to be about the mystery of life--and what is life without the mystery? I'm still waiting to learn the scientific reason why beautiful music makes people cry.

Of my Wheeler collection, I think this is the most consistent and coherent of his work. I love Gnu High and Dear Wan--have been listening to them for over 30 years, but they are quite different in style, and do have lapses in quality that Angel Song does not. Angel Song is a masterpiece of technique, yet achieves a spiritual connection with the listener. The tunes are constructed to create a mood and tell a story--and they succeed. Kenny is getting on now, I hope there is another surprise like this one to turn up in our stocking.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Karl W. Nehring on August 10, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Trumpeter/fluegelhornist Kenny Wheeler is joined on this session by saxophonist Lee Konitz, guitarist Bill Frisell, and bassist Bill Holland. As you might expect from such a lineup, the lines are long and flowing, the interplay is intricate, and the compositions are extended and probing. There are some wonderful little moments buried within this CD, as in the title cut, where about three minutes in, Frisell and Holland play together, Wheeler and Konitz then join in briefly, then Wheeler drops out, leaving Konitz to take the lead, but with accompaniment by Frisell and Holland. This kind of thing happens over and over again, one musician after the other stepping forward, stepping backward, interacting, supporting, blending, bending, creating musical magic, magical music. This is a startlingly wonderful recording, a contemporary classic, and I cannot recommend it too highly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 24, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Kenny Wheeler's "Angel Song" is far and away my favorite recording of 1998. Bill Frisell does his most breathtaking and committed playing to date on this disc. Many sections are long duets between Bill and bassist Dave Holland and they are some of the finest passages in ECM's ouevre. Kenny Wheeler doesn't gtrandstand on his own album, but lets the chamber quartet breathe with a true depth of feeling for the material. Sublime.
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By Ventura on March 3, 2015
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The cat had a rep. What else he had, I can't hear. Lee Konitz though -- is there a more underrated reed player?
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