Kenny Wheeler – The Long Waiting
In The Long Waiting the Canadian-born expat Kenny Wheeler is joined by the very best of British Jazz musicians, making this album something quite special.
Anyone who loves Kenny Wheeler’s compositions, with their lush harmonies and tuneful melodies, will not be disappointed with the music on this album. The arrangements are also very much in Kenny’s own distinctive style, with a vocal part being scored more as a part of the band rather than a main feature. In view of the many occasions Norma Winston has sung with Kenny Wheeler it’s tempting to make comparisons between her and Diana Torto, the vocalist on this album, but all I will say here is that Torto is excellent, providing just the right feel.
Kenny Wheeler’s improvisations come across as fresh, as he solos, throughout the album, on flugelhorn, effortlessly entering the stratosphere when the mood takes him.
The band is incredibly tight, and of particular note is how the trumpet section not only has a security in the high register, but also shows stylistic restraint (you won’t hear the lead trumpet blasting out a high note at the end of a piece where it would be stylistically inappropriate).
Some of Kenny’s previous big band albums have had a distinctly low budget feel in terms of record quality, but The Long Waiting doesn’t fall into this category. With a good hi-fi you will really feel to be there, in the studio, with the musicians.
Finally, what makes this album even more remarkable is that Kenny Wheeler was in his 80s when it was recorded and, judging from the pictures in the CD jacket, most of the rest of the band wouldn’t fall into the ‘young’ category either.
This is a truly outstanding album, and one I am proud to have in my collection. Selecting a track to use as a sample was difficult as all the tracks are very strong. In the end a section from the track entitled Seven Eight Nine was chosen as it shows off Kenny's lyrical melodic writing, along with his scoring for a big band and use of a vocalist. The excerpt fades as Kenny starts his solo.