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Kenny Kirkland/Black Codes


Dave Ferris

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I was driving in the car today and this came on the radio, hadn't heard it in quite some time. I came in near the beginning on Wynton's solo. Damn, he sounded great back then! His sound so clear, focused and in your face but still warm and round, no hint of harshness. Not that he sounds harsh now but he's older and just plays differently. I liked him a lot back then-- a few years post Blakey before he felt compelled to "save " Jazz.

 

I think this is one of KKs most burning solos ever recorded. Holy Moses! He just tears it up on this track--incredible! If you missed this record (recorded back in '85) GET IT. Great record with Tain, Charnett Moffett and Branford.

 

I had the chance to hear him probably a dozen different times in their short "Leno" period before they figured out Hollywood wasn't their thing and they could no longer hang. I will say the times I heard him ranged from good to very good to jaw dropping.

 

This record though, Black Codes from the Underground is very special I feel.

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2005 NY Steinway D

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This record though, Black Codes from the Underground is very special I feel

 

I agree...amazing record! Kenny Kirkland is one of my favorites. Besides hearing him live with Sting, only got to hear him doing his own trio gig once in NYC. His one solo record is great, wish he recorded more of his own records before he passed.

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I'm *very* glad that periodically, a new Kirkland appreciation thread pops up on the forum. We need to remember how great he was.

+100

Instrumentation is meaningless - a song either stands on its own merit, or it requires bells and whistles to cover its lack of adequacy, much less quality. - kanker
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I am glad that he is not forgotten..Codes is 1 of the ultimate piano LP's for me..I still get great inspiration and ideas from that one. I have his solo CD, and he smokes on that too, but Codes is the type of jazz I dig the most, and Kenny's solo's are simply smokin.

 

A quick note on Wynton..I dont know why so many people actually dont like him, or whats he's done or something..Im not sure on that one. He has gotten a bit more conservative, but I still dig him...But he aint never had a group like the Codes group..If the man can put together a session like that, he be ok with me.

 

Cheers Kenny.

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That record was Wynton's "moon shot" where everything comes together to achieve something extraordinary. It was the last album he made with Branford and Kenny Kirkland before they joined Sting's band.

 

That's a great record. Not sure WM has done anything as daring since.

Depends what you mean by "daring". I love the playing on "Live at the House of Tribes" for different reasons than "Black Codes". Several of Wynton's large group works are outstanding. "Blood on the Fields" and "Congo Square" come to mind. There's a long form dance piece titled "Griot New York" by Garth Fagan's dance company (one of my city's great cultural exports), music by Wynton for his septet, and set design by sculptor Martin Puryear. It's an incredible work on many levels. The music from "Griot New York" is on a CD titled "Citi Movements".

 

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Wynton has one of the most extraordinary musical minds on the planet. He chose to go another direction and while his path is not my particular taste, there is no denying the enormous depth, quality and integrity of his work, both compositionally and in his Trumpet playing. His signature sound and influence can be heard in almost every young Jazz trumpeter that has come up in the last 20 years.

 

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

2005 NY Steinway D

Yamaha AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

 

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Wynton has one of the most extraordinary musical minds on the planet.

 

There's no doubt. And I didn't mean to slag him at all. The flak he has taken has been far more political than musical, stemming from the Lincoln Center stuff and what many consider his (and Stanley's Crouch's)attempt to define the jazz canon...but I am sure you all already know that.

Check out the Sweet Clementines CD at bandcamp
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Black Codes was the first Jazz CD I ever bought. I got it because it had KK and Branford who were introduced to me by Sting's records. It is a blueprint of modern jazz, Wynton's best recording ever. I still listen to it regularly.

 

I'm *very* glad that periodically, a new Kirkland appreciation thread pops up on the forum. We need to remember how great he was.

 

+1

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just bought this this morning. I'm only on the first track, but yeah, all of the above. Thanks all for turning me on to this.

 

:thu:

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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I love K-Kirkland. I like his trio record "megawats" w/ Jeff tain watts. Great record as well.

 

I'm a huge Wynton guy. Although there have been several misses (his last record w/ "rapping" was almost unlistenable), he still remains a fresh voice in jazz. I love tribes, the jelly roll and monk tributes, and especially the standard time records.

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Kirkland was phenomenal and one of my absolute favorite jazzpianists! Like Hancock on "steroids" sometimes...

"Black Codes" is a great album, and also "Think Of One"

I saw them live in 84 when they were in their 20´s...UNBELIEAVABLE !!!

 

Kirkland also did some great Moogsolos with Michal Urbaniak

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

Arthur Schopenhauer

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Years ago I put together an attempt at a complete KK discography, which was online for a while, and has since been co-opted by a number of sites (which I don't mind at all). The one on allmusic.com seems to have come from mine. He did some surprising sessions Stephen Stills, doo-wopper Kenny Vance, Ben E. King (on a disco album nonetheless), a bunch of obscure (in the U.S. anyway) Japanese jazz guys. I like his synth work on the Urbaniak albums, but man, some of that stuff has not aged well. ;)

 

Just checked the allmusic page again, and saw they've added a new entry since I last checked: a 1981 album by someone named Mabumi Yamaguchi. And that means there's more of Kenny's playing out there, that I still haven't heard. And that is a good thing.

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  • 4 years later...

I'm seeing this thread and feeling my age. I bought this at the time - on audio cassette - and more or less wore it out.

 

Yes Wynton went a bit "Bono" with his pronouncements about true Jazz and "Manowar" (only his line was death to false jazz rather than death to false metal obviously).

 

What a player though, what a player. Hoping to go and see him next time he's over this way.

I'm the piano player "off of" Borrowed Books.
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Transcription is excellent, thanks a lot!

Btw the timing for this is just perfect, because I just discovered a KK album which I had never heard of. It's a collaboration with bassist Robert Hurst, called "One for Namesake". Frankly, it's not Kenny's best output; it's a bit conventional, the bass solos are a bit too long, and there's no effort by the mixer to bring the bass out a bit more during the solos - which doesn't help the ease of listening.

But it's always a big pleasure to hear Kenny at work, especially in a trio format. He controls the musical matter in an impeccable way, and plays with a unique balance of knowledge and passion. A real giant.

 

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Related to my last post before this thread was bumped (jeezus, was it really 5 years ago??): The Mabumi Yamagichi album that Kenny is on, simply titled Mabumi, is now available on Amazon downloads (for cheap!). Listening now. Not what I'd call my favorite KK appearance, but he's tasty as ever, and he plays a lot of Rhodes, which is kinda cool.
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