Kenny Wheeler's beautiful sound on trumpet and his wide range are well-displayed on his four compositions, three of which are given performances over ten minutes long. With the assistance of ECM regulars Jan Garbarek (on tenor and soprano), guitarist John Abercrombie, bassist Dave Holland, drummer Jack DeJohnette and (on one song) guitarist Ralph Towner, Wheeler emphasizes lyricism and romantic moods on this fine set of original music.
The veteran Chicago harpist's long-overdue debut album is quite credible, but you can't help but think he's got a far more satisfying set within him yet. Dreary backing by the overly cautious Ice Cream Men is the prime reason the set only occasionally soars – with a less derivative combo, Wheeler could come up with something special before he's through.
Kenny Wheeler has long been a talented composer, improviser, and soloist, though he is still overlooked by some jazz fans because most of his work has been issued by European labels. Among the composers of his generation, Wheeler is one of the best, along with the late Bob Brookmeyer, in writing and scoring creative works for a large ensemble. For this session, Wheeler's charts are performed by a 17-piece big band – with the addition of Diana Torto's wordless vocals – conducted by Pete Churchill.
When Kenny Wheeler expatriated from his native Canada to England, it was not headline news. But upon the release of Gnu High, he became a contemporary jazz figure to be recognized, revered and admired. Playing the flugelhorn exclusively for this, his ECM label debut, Wheeler's mellifluous tones and wealth of ideas came to full fruition. Whether chosen in collaboration with label boss Manfred Eicher or by Wheeler alone, picking pianist Keith Jarrett, bassist Dave Holland and drummer Jack DeJohnette was a stroke of genius. They support the elongated and extended notions of Wheeler's in many real and important ways.
This is without question Jeff Lorber's finest and most consistant album of the 1980's and is very difficult to locate on CD.The classic title track,featuring the dynamic vocals of singer Audrey Wheeler is the main centerpiece of this album and most of the material tends to be very similar-uptempo vocal funky R&B/fusion with a few light touches.