Wednesday, March 16, 2016


“Book of Intuition” is jazz pianist Kenny Barron’s new album out March 4th on Impulse Records. The album is a trio outing that Barron made with bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa and drummer Johnathan Blake. Seven of the ten cuts on the album are from Barron’s songbook. There are two obscure Thelonious Monk compositions and one Charlie Haden jewel. In the jazz universe, Barron is seen as one of the most elegant and listenable jazz pianist alive. Listeners of this godsend of an album can pick any selection for proof of Barron’s gift to hook and dazzle listeners. Over the decades, Barron has led some fabulous jazz trios, which had members such as jazz saints bassist Ron Carter and drummer Roy Haynes. Barron has also led larger bands, the most beloved being the Thelonious Monk tribute band Sphere. But the trio is the best context to experience Barron. Nearing two decades now, Barron has been touring regularly with Kitagawa and Blake. And as “Book of Intuition” shows the musicians know each other’s musical psyche intimately. An often asked question is why so long for the trio to record. The cuts on “Book of Intuition” most likely to hit your spot are “Bud Like,” "In the Slow Lane,” and “Light Blue”. The former Barron called on the ghost of bebop icon Bud Powell. It was as if Powell’s ghost possessed Barron’s fingers given how Barron zoomed through the song’s changes. On Monk’s “Light Blue,” which Barron played solo, Barron took Monk’s spirit ground it to a fine powder and sprinkled it all over the studio piano. The long wait for Barron, Kitagawa, and Blake to record was worth the wait. 
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