Musicians are doing it for themselves
By JOE KLOPUS
The Kansas City Star
Record companies aren’t hurrying to sign jazz artists in Kansas City or anywhere else. But the musicians are getting their art represented on record anyway.
They simply do it themselves.
The do-it-yourself approach to recording is increasingly common these days, judging by the number of locally produced CDs that arrive in this writer’s mail. Naturally, some artists bring it off better than others. And here are a couple of cases where artists with Kansas City connections make DIY sound much better than just OK.
Stan Kessler, Open: Trumpeter Kessler’s long, thoughtful solo lines, delivered with gorgeous tone, have long deserved the kind of recorded showcase he gives himself here. This is a free-spirited blowing date, and the leader’s trumpet and flugelhorn lines really take flight.
Egged on by pianist Phil DeGreg, guitarist Danny Embrey, bassist Bob Bowman and drummer Todd Strait, Kessler works out on a few standards and some originals. “It Could Happen to You” is intriguingly re-arranged; “Cool Struttin'” has an urgently bluesy trumpet solo; and “Detour Ahead” has ballad-playing on a very high level.
Kessler’s originals by themselves are worth the price. “Berlin November,” a gorgeous waltz inspired the fall of the wall, is as lyrical as anything being played anywhere. “Blue Man,” a blues, has an astonishingly long-lined trumpet solo. And “Squall Line,” a duet with Strait, is pure excitement.
This disc provides an accurate picture of Kessler’s strengths as a player. In the end, it doesn’t sound like anybody else but him. It’s available from www.stantonkessler.com.
The Kansas City Star.
Fri, Nov. 07, 2003