Animal Crackers Kenny Werner Trio
- 2The Song Is You05:07
- 3Animal Crackers03:59
- 4Breathing Torso06:41
- 5I Should Care04:04
- 7If I Should Lose You06:42
- 9Mechanical Arm07:08
Info for Animal Crackers
Animal Crackers: The Kenny Werner Trio opens up a box of tasty musical surprises 18 years together, three consummate storytellers, pianist Kenny Werner, bassist Johannes Weidenmüller and drummer Ari Hoenig, create an incisive masterpiece of spontaneous discovery.
The Musicians: Kenny Werner has long been a major force on the New York scene. The Village Voice hailed him “... an ebullient stylist” whose solos “...become wooly rides into the darkness”, The New York Times described him as “a pianist who tempers fearsome technique with a questing spiritualism”, and Quincy Jones called him “360 degrees of soul and science in one human being”. Werner and saxophonist Joe Lovano have been trading chairs as leader and sideman since the early 1980s, and in the 90s, Kenny began a long-term musical relationship with Toots Thielemans. He has garnered four National Endowment for the Arts grants, received a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship award, and has been commissioned to compose for orchestras throughout Europe and the USA. Ari Hoenig is a musician who conjures a fascinatingly melodic sound on the drums. Hoenig won the prestigious 2013 BMW World Jazz Award with his own band, and has played with jazz giants Joe Lovano, Pat Metheny, and Wynton Marsalis. In 1991 bassist Johannes Weidenmüller left Cologne, Germany to make the move to New York. Since then he has worked with a number of world-renowned players, including Randy Brecker, George Benson, and Joshua Redman. Werner reflects that Ari and Johannes have been in his trio since 1999: “They were just kids and they would come around my home in New Jersey to play whenever I wasn’t on tour. They could play my music with such ease that they were creating on the tune while I was still trying to read it! That's what I like in a band – players that compose spontaneously rather than just solo all the time.”
The Music: Kenny was so enamored of a rhythm Hoenig had created for an arrangement on one of his own albums that Werner wrote the melody for Ari around it. The piece has a dark minor feel, over Ari’s rhythmic layering. There’s a whimsy and lightness to the trio’s version of Jerome Kern’s The Song Is You as they dissect, transform and expand the song. Kenny says that, “One of our favorite things to do is take a standard and turn it into one of our own compositions.” Werner’s Animal Crackers has the sense of child-like joy, as the trio plays with time and line. Kenny calls it a challenging song. “It’s more of an étude. The idea of the complexity is that it sounds simple but abstract.” First freely improvised and later orchestrated by Werner, Breathing Torso undertakes a journey into the heart of the band as they sing of the body electric. The trio once again transforms a standard on I Should Care, with the melody more implied than stated as the three play around and outside the changes. A companion piece to Who, from the trio’s 2015 Pirouet record, The Melody, What? seems to venture into some sort of dark Avant-funk, as the trio explores new territory, electronic overdubs and all. The trio’s beautiful interpretation of the standard If I Should Lose You floats in out of a balladic and a medium-up swing feel. The Latinesque Iago was inspired by the harmonic concepts of Brazilian composer Weber Iago, and Mechanical Arm is another collaborative concoction that breathes life into the machine through rhythmic layering and group interplay. With Animal Crackers, Kenny Werner and his trio have created an intricate, passionate album that feeds the spirit as well as the senses.
Kenny Werner, piano
Johannes Weidenmüller, double bass
Ari Hoenig, drums
has been a world-class pianist and composer for over forty years. His prolific output of compositions, recordings and publications continue to impact audiences around the world. In 1996 he wrote his landmark book, Effortless Mastery, Liberating The Master Musician Within. Werner has since created videos, lectured world-wide and authored many articles on how musicians, artists or even business people can allow their “master creator” within to lift their performance to it’s highest level, showing us how to be spontaneous, fearless, joyful and disciplined in our work and in our life.
Kenny was awarded the 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship Award for his seminal work, No Beginning No End. No Beginning No End is a musical journey exploring tragedy and loss, death and transition, and the path from one lifetime to the next. Utilizing over 70 musicians, Kenny’s third album for Half Note Records is an expansive composition featuring Joe Lovano, Judy Silvano, Wind Ensemble, Choir and String Quartet.
This album contains no booklet.