Country : United States Label : Whirlwind Genres and styles : Free Jazz / Jazz Year : 2020

In the Heat

· by Steve Naud

Kenny Warren is a trumpet player who grew up in Denver but is now part of the New York jazz scene. As he is not a one-man band, he also plays in Laila and Smitty, with whom he digs into Americana, Nashaz, which fuses jazz and Arabic music, and Slavic Soul Party, a brass ensemble dedicated to Balkan music. In the Heat is his second album as a leader after Thank You for Coming to Life, on which he was at the helm of a quartet that took a fresh look at post-bop jazz.

The solidified lava on the album cover forebodes: this time, we’re embarking on an expedition to the land of incandescent free jazz. The trio that Warren forms with double bassist Matthias Pichler and drummer Nathan Ellman-Bell surely took the time to prepare themselves well before this excursion, since the chemistry works wonderfully between these three volcanologists, be it in the pure improvisation passages or in the more composed moments. The tension that animates the dark “Brain Phone Wired” will leave fans of the genre stunned. 

The first moments of the journey recalls Ornette Coleman’s band, Warren being a trumpet player whose sensibility approaches that of Don Cherry. Then, during the “House Plants/Finally a Breeze” diptych, influenced by the work of Roscoe Mitchell and the AACM, Lester Bowie came to mind. Very flattering comparisons for a musician who, although he is not yet pushing the limits of the genre in which he evolves, burns with a fire that is not about to be extinguished.

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