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What Now?

4.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 26, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

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Kenny Wheeler has a stunning lyric imagination, apparent in the burnished luster of his flugelhorn and the subtle structures of his compositions. It’s present too in the way he picks his musical partners and constructs situations that bring out the very best in them. The quartet here includes two longstanding partners in bassist Dave Holland, a collaborator for nearly four decades, and pianist John Taylor, a regular associate in the group Azimuth. Tenor saxophonist Chris Potter, a regular in Holland’s quintet, completes the band; with lines of empathy connecting all four musicians. The absence of a drummer highlights each musician’s unique sound. Wheeler’s lines seem to dance on Taylor’s limpidly fluid piano like sunlight on water, while Potter blends a muscular assertiveness with Wheeler’s reflective tunes. Like Wheeler’s superb Angel Song with Lee Konitz and Bill Frisell, What Now? is a model of melodic improvisation and profound interaction. --Stuart Broomer
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 26, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Camjazz
  • ASIN: B00080Z6IS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #307,413 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Stephen A. Smith on May 10, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This isn't a live album. It was recorded over two days in Sear Sound Studio in New York, without any overdubs. The program is comprised of Wheeler originals -- and just for the record, the band is Wheeler (flugelhorn), Chris Potter (tenor saxophone), John Taylor (piano), and Dave Holland (bass).

It's still early, but I'll climb out on a limb. I think Down Beat is going to give this CD five stars. I'll bet money it's going to make most critics' Best of 2005 lists. It's far and away the best CD I've heard this year. If you like jazz, you need this CD.

There are a couple of ways to view the background of this session. Wheeler and Taylor released a duet CD on CAM Jazz earlier this year. But I expect a more common comparison will be to 1997's "Angel Song," which has proven Wheeler's most popular record. "Angel Song" deserved every bit of acclaim it received, and "What Now" is a worthy successor. If you like one, you'll like the other. And I can't imagine anyone not liking both.

Jazz is often described as conversation. This quartet proves that metaphor beyond any doubt. The first thing that struck me about this CD was how intently these guys listen to each other. I've never heard more fluid interplay. And Wheeler's tunes are perfectly suited to this dynamic, blurring the line between composition and improvisation.

I've heard a hundred all-star albums pairing first-rate musicians. Sometimes it works. Often it doesn't. But every once in awhile you strike something special, a chemistry that can only be described as magical. That's what happened here. It's so good, you almost don't want them to record a follow-up for fear it would disappoint.

Music like this doesn't come along often. Cherish it.
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Format: Audio CD
Best Kenny Wheeler Album in two decades, probably since Widow In The Window. And the best recorded ever (James Farber, ladies and gentlemen). How many different albums has Chris Potter been on now where he sounds great and totally different? Even from track to track, he makes you go who is this guy again?

Jazz albums without drums can be real same-y after awhile, even Kenny's haven't been too hot (Angel Song for instance, nice but overrated). Not this one. Dave Holland picks you up by your seat and only lets you off into the cotton wrapped bronze that are the hands of John Taylor. Kenny has never sounded stronger and the tunes have that wistful bite of the ECM material, but with a real coppery shine. Yes, reverb, but less so. Never heard of CAMJazz before, but they have an interesting catalog.

Highly recommended after just three listens. 5 Berets. Plus track 1 is named "Iowa City".
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Format: Audio CD
I agree with the other reviewers of this album, on the whole. This is a fresh and breezy set of well crafted and skilfully executed songs. The magic is in the interplay between Kenny Wheeler and Chris Potter (on flugelhorn and tenor sax respectively) but that's to take nothing away from either John Taylor on piano or Dave Holland on double bass. Their accompaniment as a rythm section (there is no drummer on this album) and their solos are just as integral to the overall enjoyment of the album as those from the two leads.

A great modern jazz CD, especially considering it was recorded live in the studio, with no overdubs. Wheeler wrote the entire album and while there's not a dud to be found, I do have my favourite songs: "Iowa City" opens the set, "The Lover Mourns", as the title suggests, is a gloriously sad ballad and "Verona" is so engaging, you don't even notice that it's nine and a half minutes long. But trust me; every song on here is great.
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Format: Audio CD
As you might glean from the other reviews, this is an excellent album. It's heady stuff, but remains quite approachable. Like "Angel Song," repeated listens reveal additional nuances of every sort.

With all due respect, I disagree that the disc is marred by "sound problems." The sound is fantastic, and clear. The clicking/clipping noted by another reviewer is (to my ears) nothing more than Holland playing the double bass. I base this view on the fact that you can pretty clearly hear Potter's valve workings on several solos. The album (as noted by Mower B. yard) sounds tremendous.
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Format: Audio CD
The clicking noises some reviewers refer to are from Holland's hand on the neck of his bass. You can hear this about 4 minutes into the first song and during his solo mid song - all consonant with his changing position on the neck with great strenght and speed. At the opening of the second song, some pad noise can be heard from the sax, but it goes away soon. In other words, this is a wonderfully recorded and beautifully played cd of exceptional music.
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