Kenny Wheeler Memorial
I was very honoured to be a part of the Kenny Wheeler Memorial Concert at St. James Church in London on October 31st. I first met Kenny in 1989 and recorded with him several times throughout the years. His music has been a guiding force in my life and playing with him, one of the highlights. Two years ago, Kenny was honored at the FONT Trumpet Festival in New York City and my large ensemble had the wonderful opportunity to play his newest music with him. It was an experience that everyone in the band will cherish forever.
As I walked into the church for the soundcheck/rehearsal for the memorial I heard Kenny’s own big band play the opening to Sweet Time Suite, an iconic opening that I know has deeply influenced many musicians from that first moment they heard it. John Taylor as well as Norma Winstone performed Kenny’s smaller group music and in between the music Stan Sulzmann, Evan Parker, Dave Horler and John Taylor talked briefly and poignantly about the impact Kenny had on their lives. They all included some funny Kenny impressions of course! The service ended on a very powerful note, with the playing of Kenny’s solo trumpet piece from Around Six. After hearing all of these great musicians play his music and talk about him, it was that much more moving to hear Kenny at his best – I, like many others, have heard that piece before, but at this particular moment the utter emotional power and outright originality brought everyone to tears. The memorial was organised by Kenny’s right hand man, Nick Smart, who is already starting to work on a biography of one of the most original voices music has ever had.
Here is a short clip I made with my phone of the rehearsal of the opening of Sweet Time Suite:
and now on to CQ news…
THE CLAUDIA QUINTET ON TOUR IN EUROPE
WIST – GRAZ, Austria
KMKC Kompleks – RAVNE, Slovenia
Gromka – LJUBLJANA, Slovenia
Jazz Club Ferrara – FERRARA, Italy
Jazzkeller im Mautnerschloss – BURGHAUSEN, Germany
Jazz GUT Unterwegs Schwanenburg – HANNOVER, Germany
Liveclub Telegraph – LEIZIG, Germany
A-Trane – BERLIN, Germany
And another addition to THE CLAUDIA QUINTET VIDEO PROJECT
Video by Christopher Davenport featuring “Meinetwegen” from CQ’s first album.
“The film footage is from Hurricane Creek, a tributary of the Black Warrior River in Alabama. The creek is the geologic/geographic place where the Gulf Coastal Plain and Applachian mountains meet and is a fragile but fertile ecosystem. The fish in the film only exist in the creek. The Black Warrior River is one of the 10 most threatened rivers in the nation.”