Kenny Werner Trio; Monday, February 24, 2014
Kenny Werner Trio
Monday, February 24
Kuumbwa Jazz Center
“Kenny Werner is a total musician” – Toots Thielemanns
Kenny Werner is relentless. A brilliant pianist, Werner is also an esteemed composer whose compositions have been performed by the Mel Lewis Orchestra; Finland’s Umo Jazz Orchestra, and several other European big bands; as well as classical ensembles. His work with harmonica savant Toots Thielemanns and saxophone giant Joe Lovano is lauded by all, as are his stellar groups with Randy Brecker, David Sanchez and Chris Potter. But the acoustic piano trio is Kenny’s home base. A savvy and energetic improvisor, his touring trio includes Johannes Weidenmueller on bass, and Ari Hoenig on drums.
Born in 1951, Kenny Werner grew up on Long Island in New York. A child prodigy on the piano, he made his first television at age eleven. Although his early studies focused on classical music, he was interested in playing anything he heard, regardless of category. While in high school, he attended the famed Manhattan School of Music, majoring in classical piano but found it too confining. Kenny’s natural inclination for improvisation put him at odds with the strict classical regimen and he transitioned to the Berklee School of Music. His teacher at Berklee, Madame Chaloff, helped Kenny to realign his not just his piano technique but to change his whole approach to playing music in a spiritually conscious fashion. The next major step in Werner’s evolution as a performer happened in Brazil, studying with Joao Assisa Brasil whose approach to the piano was another major influence on his playing. These learning experiences, over the years, eventually led to Kenny publishing his book, Effortless Mastery, a blueprint for all musicians looking to improve their playing and improvising.
Werner interned through a number of sideman gigs as a young musician, eventually putting together his own long- running trio, beginning in 1981, with Ratzo B. Harris, on bass, and Tom Rainey, on drums. The group lasted for a decade-and-a-half with four recordings to their credit. By the mid-’80s, Kenny occupied the coveted piano chair in the Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra (formerly the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra). This was an especially creative period for Werner as he began composing and arranging for big band and classical ensembles. In the ensuing years, his compositions have been played by a number of European jazz orchestras that include the Umo (Finland); Metropole (Holland); as well as big bands in Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and Belgium. Werner also expanded into the classical realm with pieces for string and wind ensembles, as well as full symphonic orchestras. In the past twenty years, Kenny has collaborated with harmonica master Toots Thielemanns; Broadway singer Betty Buckley; and saxophone great Joe Lovano. The group he formed with drummer Ari Hoenig and bassist Johannes Weidenmueller, in 2000, set a new standard for the piano trio format. Other post-2000 projects have included David Sanchez, Chris Potter, Brian Blade, and a number of leading jazz artists. In 2010, Werner was a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship Award for his large ensemble work, No Beginning No End.
Kenny Werner Trio
DATE: Monday, February 24, 2014
VENUE: Kuumbwa Jazz Center
ADDRESS: 320 Cedar St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
TIME: 7:00 PM
PRICE: $22/Adv $27/Door
TICKETS: Logos Books & Records, 1117 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz (831) 427-5100 and online at: http://www.kuumbwajazz.org
MORE INFO: http://www.kuumbwajazz.org or 831-427-2227
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