B’MANS BLUES REPORT
Wise Cat Records artist: Kenny Shanker – Beautiful Things – New Release Review
I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release (August 20, 2021), Beautiful Things, by Kenny Shanker and it’s a warm blend of cool bop. Opening with the original composition, Cool Mint, Kenny Shanker is upfront on sax carrying the melody. Blowing solid bebop riffs and paired with Mike Eckroth on piano, and Daisuke Abe on guitar, this is a strong opener with a solid bottom by Yoshi Waki on bass and Brian Fishler on drums. Another original track, Prestissimo, is excellent with aggressive sax runs by Shanker and fine trumpet lead by Bill Mobley and crisp piano soloing by Eckroth. Very nice. One of my favorite tracks on the release is Mirth with it’s searching sax lead lines and classic piano/bass/drum backing. Mobley pops in again with some really solid trumpet lead and again, Eckroth follows with a great piano lead. Really nice. With a great play on and original classic, Without A Song, has a great bottom and Shanker really hangs it out there with super lead lines. Abe is back with swing guitar soloing that’s bound to make you smile and Eckroth’s turn at lead is stellar as the band really hugs the pocket. Very nice. Another traditional classic, Like Someone In Love, not only gives Shankar a great base to lay out some of his cooler solos on the release but I really like the forward nature of Waki’s work on bass as well as his extended solo. Monk’s In Walked Bird has great tempo and Shanker really gets it humming and Eckroth’s piano work, especially punched up by Fishler’s tight riffs will have you stomping. Wrapping the release is a smooth composition and title track, Beautiful Things. Shankar has excellent tone, supported by Eckroth on piano closing the release on a quiet note. Very solid release.