Exclusive Magazine reviews Kenny Shanker, Beautiful Things

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Kenny Shanker Promo 1


by Russell Trunk

Title – Beautiful Things
Artist – Kenny Shanker
For those unaware, Kenny Shanker is back with an exciting program of original compositions and jazz standards on Beautiful Things (out August 20th, 2021), his second release on Wise Cat Records.The common element that appears throughout this wildly diverse set is a search for beauty in all of its various forms.

Some highlights include the blazingly fast Prestissimo, inspired by the early bebop recordings that Shanker grew up listening to, and the catchy, spirited original composition Cool Mint.

Other standouts include straight-ahead renditions of several jazz classics, the spontaneous freedom of Orange and Gray, and the classically influenced title track Beautiful Things.

He is joined by his longtime rhythm section of Mike Eckroth, Daisuke Abe, Yoshi Waki, and Brian Fishler, along with Bill Mobley on Trumpet.

1. Cool Mint (4:46)
2. Prestissimo (3:35)
3. It Never Entered My Mind (7:27)
4. Mirth (5:32)
5. L’Impossible (5:47)
6. Orange and Gray (7:54)
7. Without a Song (8:40)
8. I’m Old Fashioned (6:55)
9. Softly as in a Morning Sunrise (7:11)
10. Like Someone in Love (5:35)
11. In Walked Bud (4:56)
12. Beautiful Things (5:40)

This quite stunning musical adventure opens on the melodic, finger-snapping trip of Cool Mint and the gently frenetic Prestissimo, backing those up with the ornate beauty of It Never Entered My Mind, the perfectly entitled Mirth, and then both the mid-tempo, toe-tapping vibe of Oscar Peterson’s L’Impossible and the stout, yet flexible orchestrations of Orange and Gray.

Next up is the free flowing majesty of Without a Song and the Johnny Mercer co-written hipsway magnificence of I’m Old Fashioned, the perky Oscar Hammerstein II co-written escapade Softly as in a Morning Sunrise, the album rounding out on the delicately layered wonderment of Like Someone in Love, their upbeat rendition of Thelonious Monk’s In Walked Bud, closing on the luscious tranquility of the title track, Beautiful Things.

Kenny Shanker – Alto Saxophone
Bill Mobley – Trumpet (2, 4, 6)
Daisuke Abe – Guitar
Mike Eckroth – Piano
Yoshi Waki – Bass
Brian Fishler – Drums

Kenny has performed with the New World Symphony, Richard Bona, David Benoit, Lage Lund, Taylor Eigsti, Bill Mobley, Shelly Berg, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Coalescence, and many others.

Locally, he has performed at Carnegie Hall, Birdland, Dizzy’s Club, Smoke, Smalls, Fat Cat, Jazz at Kitano, Queens Jazz Festival, The Garage, Rockwood Music Hall, and The Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center. He currently resides in New York City.

Kari Gaffney

Kari Gaffney

Since 1988 Kari-On Productions has helped artists get an even footing in the industry through jazz promotion in the genres of Jazz, World & Latin Jazz through Jazz Radio and Publicity. Why do we do both, because they compliment each other, and we care about fiscal longevity for the artist.

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