10 Songs, 1 Hour 8 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Pianist Kenny Barron’s recording career dates back to the early 1960s. He’s collaborated with countless artists and played a variety of styles, and 2008’s The Traveler finds this top-notch musician appearing in a number of settings. The core unit on the album is comprised of Barron, the Cuban drummer Francisco Mela, and the Japanese bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa. Steve Wilson plays soprano sax on three cuts, including “Speed Trap,” an uptempo, hard swinging piece driven by Kitagawa’s fierce walking. The much-in-demand Benin-born guitarist Lionel Loueké adds his versatile acoustic playing to “Duet,” “Phantoms,” and “Calypso.” (“Duet,” with its herky jerky rhythms, modernist dissonances, and angular lines, is particularly striking.) Barron has worked with many singers and here he accompanies three distinctive vocalists. “Um Beijo” features Grady Tate, whose excellent performance evokes Johnny Hartman and Joe Lee Wilson; Ann Hampton Callaway’s lovely tones grace “Clouds;” and Gretchen Parlato’s sensuous approach works well on “Phantoms.” Barron composed everything on The Traveler except a solo piano version of Eubie Blake’s “Memories of You,” but he puts his personal stamp on this classic as well.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Pianist Kenny Barron’s recording career dates back to the early 1960s. He’s collaborated with countless artists and played a variety of styles, and 2008’s The Traveler finds this top-notch musician appearing in a number of settings. The core unit on the album is comprised of Barron, the Cuban drummer Francisco Mela, and the Japanese bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa. Steve Wilson plays soprano sax on three cuts, including “Speed Trap,” an uptempo, hard swinging piece driven by Kitagawa’s fierce walking. The much-in-demand Benin-born guitarist Lionel Loueké adds his versatile acoustic playing to “Duet,” “Phantoms,” and “Calypso.” (“Duet,” with its herky jerky rhythms, modernist dissonances, and angular lines, is particularly striking.) Barron has worked with many singers and here he accompanies three distinctive vocalists. “Um Beijo” features Grady Tate, whose excellent performance evokes Johnny Hartman and Joe Lee Wilson; Ann Hampton Callaway’s lovely tones grace “Clouds;” and Gretchen Parlato’s sensuous approach works well on “Phantoms.” Barron composed everything on The Traveler except a solo piano version of Eubie Blake’s “Memories of You,” but he puts his personal stamp on this classic as well.

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