Thanks to all who made our first show an unqualified success! The Kenny Werner Trio played to a full house at Fulkerson Recital Hall (indcluding onstage seating) on September 25th--and they smoked!--and Kenny taught a well-received master class to an overflow crowd the next day. Keep your eyes open for news about our next show, coming in Spring 2007.
For its inaugural event, the RJA is delighted to present the Kenny Werner Trio in concert at HSU's Fulkerson Recital Hall at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, September 25th. Tickets (available at The Metro, The Works, and the University Ticket Office) are $15 General Admission and $10 for students and seniors. Mr. Werner will also present a free public master class on campus the following day, Tuesday, September 26th, at 10:00 a.m., also in Fulkerson Recital Hall.
Part of the RJA's mission is to complement a thriving local jazz scene and a venerable annual concert series with visits by critically acclaimed performers who may nevertheless lack the name recognition to fill a large auditorium in a small town. With that in mind, we thought first of pianist, author, and educator Kenny Werner, a big name who enjoys doing small shows. Though he regularly plays clubs like the Blue Note in New York, the Green Mill in Chicago, the Dakota in Minneapolis, and Yoshi's in Oakland (after Arcata, he and his trio are booked for a week at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles), Werner e-mailed us back within hours of our initial query to say "Count me in!"
Werner is often described as unjustly underrated (he “has long seemed to be one of the best-kept secrets in jazz,” says the All Music Guide’s Ken Dryden), but those in the know appreciate that he has few peers among modern jazz pianists. Over a 30-year career, Werner has played with some of the biggest names in jazz--everyone from Charles Mingus to Mel Lewis to Archie Shepp to Chris Potter. He's a much sought-after sideman and a frequent collaborator with his good friend Joe Lovano. But like many listeners, we're especially fond of the various trios that Werner has led over the past twenty years; his recordings with those groups (including 1998's "A Delicate Balance" with Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette) are among the most highly regarded piano trio discs in jazz history.
With his current trio, featuring Ari Hoenig on drums and Johannes Weidenmuller on bass, Werner may well be at the top of his form. Werner's playing is by turns avant-garde and lyrical, cerebral and spiritual. (He's the originator of an innovative, zen approach to improvisation that he expounds upon in his book Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician Within.) And whether the three are playing standards or originals, post-bop or post-mod, atmospheric ballads or angular improvs, the interplay between piano, drum, and bass is intuitive and inspired.
Werner is an experienced lecturer and educator as well as a stirring performer. The recipient of multiple NEA grants, he has also been a professor at The New School University and an artist-in-residence at NYU and the Berklee School of Music, and he's presented workshops and clinics at colleges and universities across the country and around the world.
For a complete biography and discography, as well as streaming audio samples and a full press kit, visit www.kennywerner.com. (For online lessons, downloads, and "Effortless Mastery" materials, visit the ArtistShare section of the site.)
You can also read excerpts from an RJA interview with Kenny Werner.