Wiley, Ken - Jazz Horn Redux,
This 2014 album has only recently come to my attention, and I’m glad it has, as it is certainly different in many ways, but completely familiar in others. Firstly, as may be implied by the album title, Ken is plays the French horn, not an instrument I have ever associated with jazz, as I have always thought of it just belonging in the classical scene for some reason, and secondly this is an acoustic album with no electric instruments at all. That makes this a warm and timeless experience. As well as being well-known as a session musician in Los Angeles, Ken has played with bassist Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra, the Charlie Rouse Quintet, bassists John Patitucci (Chick Corea) and Jimmy Johnson (Wayne Johnson, Allan Holdsworth), and guitarists Mike Miller and Grant Geissman (Chuck Mangione). He has composed film music, and has also played on soundtracks for Family Guy, The Cleveland Show, American Dad and numerous records including “Infinity on High” by Fallout Boy, “The Sound of White” by Missy Higgins, and Lenny Kravitz.
Here he has turned his attention to 11 classics from the likes of Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane, and has turned them into something relaxed and special. His horn isn’t always front and centre, as he understands the need for having strong arrangements, but it is usually a flute, sax, trumpet or his horn itself that is taking the lead. All the musicians have a strong connection, and the result is an album that is easy to listen to, without ever falling into the trap of easy listening. It is possible to play tracks from both this and his more recent album, ‘Urban Horn Project’, at https://kenwiley.com