Album:Balloons: Live At The Blue Note
Kenny Werner is a very versatile jazz pianist. He has been around since the 70s but he has recorded as a leader since the 90s. He was born Nov. 19, 1951 in Brooklyn, NY and he grew up in the Long Island town of Oceanside. He played stride piano as a teen and he appeared on TV leading an orchestra. He could have been a concert pianist. But instead he studied jazz at Berklee with Madame Chaloff. He recorded an album of stride piano on Atlantic in 1977. In the 80s, Werner was pianist and musical director for The Mel Lewis Orchestra. But he also worked with Charles Mingus, Archie Shepp, Joe Lovano and Peter Erskine. And then in 1990, Werner signed with Sunnyside Records and also recorded for Concord, Steeplechase and RCA. He also became musical director for Broadway star Betty Buckley and he continues to work with her today. Betty is not a jazz singer and she could sound very kitschy. It's to Werner's credit that he gives her a jazz base. And Werner recorded with harmonica legend Toots Thielemans, sax player Joe Lovano and drummer Ari Hoenig. Siena is from the 2011 album Balloons recorded live at The Blue Note in New York by Half Note Records. Musicians are Randy Brecker on trumpet, David Sanchez on sax, John Patitucci on bass and Antonio Sanchez on drums. Werner's latest CD Poesia is with singer Joyce Moreno on the German label Pirouet. He has worked with Joyce for many years and he has also worked with singers like Rosanna Vitro, Tessa Souter and Patricia Barber. His work with singers reminds me of Tommy Flanagan. He is currently appearing at the New York club Kitano with singer Joyce Mann but he will be on tour after that. Here's Kenny Werner with Avishai Cohen on trumpet, Omer Avital on bass and Jonathan Blake on drums performing Siena at the Taormina Jazz Featival in Italy July 18, 2012.