The scenario: A titan tenor saxophone stylist set apart, amongst other things, by his very personal sound decides to go into the studio with a singer he admires and feels is vastly underrated. There are many objectives for the session, top among them being to record an album of ballads and to garner wider recognition for the singer through the fans of the sax player and the vocalist s sheer talent.
John Coltrane teaming up with Johnny Hartman in 1963...and Kirk Whalum s latest project featuring his brother Kevin entitled Romance Language (in spite of the many years that separate these recordings) bear many more similarities than differences. In fact the end result is exactly the same; romance at a level so intense that verbal language alone is inadequate to portray. Here s an attempt: easily two of the most romantic jazz albums of their respective eras.
While the Whalums are hardly the first modern duo to re-imagine the six songs that make up the eponymous classic from Coltrane and Hartman, they are among the first with the same surname and among the first to trust the (expertly executed) warmth and soul of electric accompaniment. With sax player as leader, the same inspiration and objective of the original duo recording applies here. Coltrane is quoted as saying he chose the voice that stuck in my mind somewhere. Kevin s voice is indeed stuck to Kirk s very being.
This Valentine s Day will be just a little more special and romantic as The Whalum brothers set out to give us a new reason to love love. Sax giant Kirk Whalum, in the role of the great John Coltrane, brings in a trusted ally brother/vocalist Kevin who assumes the role of Johnny Hartman in a recreation of the memorable 1963 duet recording. --thesmoothjazzride.com
The CD opens much like the 1963 original with a spine chilling rendition of the timeless They Say its Wonderful It provides the brothers with an early opportunity to declare their mellow intent and they stay in deliciously turned down mode throughout. --smoothjazztherapy.com
That Coltrane influence is evident when you hear the project, Kirk s horn playing and Kevin s moving vocals brought out the essence of the language of romance. The album also evokes visions and mood of that Coltrane time period, so much so that it moved me to tears --eurweb.com