Recorded by Todd Carder at The Bunker, Brooklyn (March, 2016)
Mix by Nathaniel Morgan (Brooklyn)
Mastered by Nate Wood (Brooklyn)
Produced by Kenny Warren
Executive Producer - Michael Janisch
released March 10, 2017
ABOUT THE ALBUM
Trumpeter and composer Kenny Warren brings his new album Thank You for Coming to Life to Whirlwind – with close friends and empathetic colleagues JP Schlegelmilch (piano), Noah Garabedian (bass) and Satoshi Takeishi (drums) – in a program of six self-penned tracks that flare with character and eclecticism. Hailing from Denver, Colorado and now an integral part of the New York improvised music scene, Warren’s multifarious collaborations include Ben Stapp’s Zozimos, Andy Biskin’s 16 Tons, Slavic Soul Party; and in addition to two album releases with his folk-jazz songwriting project Laila and Smitty, he has duetted with guitarist Jeremiah Lockwood, fellow Whirlwind artist and pianist Bobby Avey and tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby.
This confluence of artists – whose disciplines and considerable track records lie in both the traditional and more experimental strands – inspires freedom in improvisation aligned to an exciting rhythmic symbiosis, all fronted by Warren’s lucid and engaging trumpet: “There’s a lot of trust in this band. So although we’d played this set live, maybe ten times before recording, as leader it was great to say, ‘Well, this is the piece… you know how it goes… but really play it however you want.’ And we got a result that I’m proud of.”
A perfect example of the quartet’s connection is opener ‘Stones Change’, which Warren says creates its own little world through contrapuntal trumpet and piano lines: “Over a few years of playing inside this composition, the band has become more and more free to stretch and superimpose ideas over it.” Episodic ‘Huge Knees’ (arising from Warren’s compositional piano imaginings) is linked thematically – and this broad, shifting, twelve-minute leviathan contrastingly pulsates and shimmers with impressive continuity, the trumpeter blasting rapidly and chromatically, ever higher.
Reflecting on the pressing issues revolving around unity and the global populace, the modal fifths progression of ‘Iranosaurus Rex’ creates a melancholic landscape, Warren’s softer tones melding with piano ahead of a tumultuous, percussive uprising. Snappy ‘Hala Hala’ (named after a favorite Brooklyn Bodega) is full of agitated, free energy and swing as breathless, combined riffs exemplify this personnel’s meticulous synergy; and ‘Cheese Greater’ – described by Warren as being “played from top to bottom, with the sections then revisited in reverse order for improvisation” – enthusiastically jives through the solidity of Garabedian’s bass and Takeishi’s kit. Closing track ‘Every Moment is Born, Lives and Dies’ contemplates the vastness of creation with lyrical wonder (“the entirety of our human experience is almost like the blink of an eye”), its song-like simplicity revealing a softer-edged facet to this entertaining quartet.
Kenny Warren is delighted to have the opportunity to extend this music beyond his New York environs: “I love the way these guys play, individually as well as in this band. JP and I have worked closely on a number of projects over a dozen years (we went to school together and he drove me to see shows at legendary clubs such as Tonic, Barbes and Zebulon – life-altering moments); and Noah and Satoshi have a really interesting hook-up. So it’s great to finally get a quartet album out there.”