KENNY SHANKER, VORTEX
Kenny Shanker returns with a new and exciting collection of music designed to pull the listener into a satisfying aural “vortex,” whether through original compositions or reinterpretations of well-worn standards. The acclaimed and eclectic saxophonist sounds at the top of his game on Vortex, his third full-length outing on Wise Cat Records. Brimming with creativity, expressivity and vitality, Shanker is joined on Vortex by a lineup of longtime collaborators, including guitarist Daisuke Abe, pianist Mike Eckroth, bassist Yoshi Waki and drummer Brian Fishler. Trumpeter Bill Mobley adds color and flair to three of the tracks on the record.
After a brief opening line, Eckroth, Shanker, Mobley and Abe all take solos on the swirling original title track, which opens the album (and that you can hear via the player below). Collectively, the sound offers a modern take on the fabled post-bop tradition but is also peppered with more than a pinch of Afro-Cuban influence. This deep cut, upbeat and joyful, is the perfect way to open an album that testifies to the eclectic experience gathered by Shanker over the years, both as a bandleader in his own right and as a collaborator with the New World Symphony, Richard Bona, David Benoit, Shelly Berg and Lage Lund, among many others.