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Audio CD, March 15, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Kenny Werner assembles a sterling group of associates- Randy Brecker, David Sanchez, John Patitucci, Antonio Sanchez- for an in-depth examination of four originals, all showcasing Werner's singular approach to composition and the group's wizardry with improvisation. The tracks possess song-like qualities that evoke both a meditative air and the effortless whimsy of children at play. That these "children" are among jazz's greatest jazz practitioners, and Werner among its most compelling conceptualizers, only underscores the sophistication of this record. Recorded live at the Blue Note.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 15, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Half Note Records
  • ASIN: B004JAUD72
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #290,577 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Miller on April 3, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Kenny Werner's latest is a live date from about a year ago with a killer band: Randy Brecker on trumpet, David Sanchez on saxophone, John Patitucci on bass and Antonio Sanchez on drums. This pairs the compositional genius of Werner with a band of improvisational titans and the results are spectacular, as one might imagine.

Each of the songs is long, all clocking in at over 11 minutes. 'Balloons' itself is nearly 18 minutes long. What's great about them is that they tend to have more of a compositional framework than just melody-solo-melody. 'Balloons' itself, for instance, while meant to convey a 'sense of childlike whimsy' (or so says the liner notes), starts off on a more plaintive note with a few minutes of Werner alone at the piano. After building up, the rest of the band comes in slowly, first just the occasional bass line or cymbal accent and then the horns come in for the melody proper. Patitucci, Brecker and David Sanchez all take solos before the melody is heard again the songs dissipates into the bass and drums. All the way through, 'Balloons' just floats along.

The album opener, 'Sada' is a contemplative piece with a sense of restrained passion. 'Siena' is buoyant and playful. The album closer, 'Class Dismissed' is a hard swinging yet cerebral piece. Its melody is full of stop time hits, and the result is a wonderful slosh of polyrhythms, both in the head and in the solos. It also contains a stunning Antonio Sanchez solo.

This is an eminently enjoyable album. These tunes are great vehicles for the soloists, who make the most of them. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Debra Jan Bibel TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 20, 2014
Format: Audio CD
This album is aptly entitled balloons. There is something attractive and joyful about those colored floating spheres that immediately appeals to children and the residual child in adults. A live recording at the Blue Note in 2010 performed by a esteemed band of musicians -- Randy Brecker on trumpet, David Sanchez playing saxophone, John Patitucci on bass, Antonio Sanchez at the drums, and leader Kenny Werner seated at the piano -- consists of four tracks of some 12 minutes each. It begins with Sada, a richly harmonic, soft silken fabric that is gently unfurled. Immediately we feel good and comfortable and know that we are in capable hands. Next arrives Siena, an allegro that gives each musician opportunity to explore: Brecker's staccato runs and bouncy lyricism; Sanchez's tenor saxophone reaching downward in its range, at times to surge upward in spirited communion; Werner's intricate weaving; while the rhythm men push them forward. The extended title track begins with the piano tune orbiting between two chords; it mesmerizes while we wait for a breakout, which occurs 1/4 way into the piece. Here, a sweet child-like sing-song melody arises when Brecker reaches for his flugelhorn. The bass next comes into play with a swirling solo while Werner vamps in contrasting timbre. After Brecker's further development and increase in intensity, David Sanchez offers his own take, with wavelike crescendos and exciting rising flourishes and then a restatement of the theme. The final track, Class Dismissed, includes a lesson in rhythm by Antonio Sanchez and Patitucci. The work is vigorous and bright with short instrumental seltzer bubble-phrases and their variations. There is no drawn out theme but a collage of notes and beats. The several approaches in these recordings, from mellow and meditative to jumping and jittery, offer the listener an interesting jazz experience. Some balloons are brilliant blue, some are sunny yellow.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This man has strong command of his instrument , great and deep ideas on composition , wonderful taste and tecnique on piano . I really enjoy almost all of his works , don't miss him .
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