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Recital / Nigel Kennedy

Release Date: 05/07/2013 
Label:  Sony   Catalog #: 544727   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Thomas "Fats" WallerDave BrubeckZe GomezNigel Kennedy,   ... 
Performer:  Nigel Kennedy
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

NIGEL KENNEDY RECITAL Nigel Kennedy (vn, cel); Rolf Bussalb (gtr); Yaron Stavi (db); Krzysztof Dziedzic (perc); Barbara Dziewiecka (vn, va) SONY 88765447272 (58:29)

WALLER Sweet & Slow. I’m Crazy ‘bout My Baby. Viper’s Drag. How Can You Face Me Now? BRUBECK Take Five. GOMEZ Por do sol. KENNEDY Read more class="ARIAL12bi">New Dawn. TRADITIONAL (arr. Kennedy) Out in the Ocean. BACH (arr. Kennedy) Allegro. Vivace. STAVI Helena’s Honeysuckle. KENNEDY Dusk

Nigel Kennedy’s freshness and electric virtuosity, whether he’s descanting a sultry quasi-improvisation over a throbbing bass in Fats Waller’s Sweet and Low, or offering Dave Brubeck’s Take Five as a tribute to the musician who died during the collection’s preparation, dominates his vibrant ensemble of collaborators, though he fits with them seamlessly. Traces of other pieces weave slyly in and out, as when listeners will hear the Nigun from Ernest Bloch’s Baal Shem (and Kennedy points out in his notes that the rhythm to the introduction spells out “take five” in Morse code). He sounds as idiomatic as his mentor of sorts, Stéphane Grappelli—some of whose mannerisms he adopts, and effectively at that—in I’m Crazy ‘bout My Baby , another Waller tune. Of course, he goes further than Grappelli did in his harmonic and timbral explorations, but that’s to be expected, for this isn’t a sterile tribute. Kennedy and the ensemble deliver a sultry rendition of Ze Gomez’s Por do sol ; and Waller’s Viper’s Drag begins almost tongue in cheek but continues as a tangy if campy version, with a heady improvisation at its center that removes the number far beyond the confines of parody. Kennedy’s own piece, New Dawn, turns out to be hauntingly atmospheric and leads without pause into in the more overtly rhythmic Celtic Out in the Ocean . Waller’s How Can You Face Me Now? brings spiky timbres and tangy rhythmic and melodic improvisations, including an especially genial bass solo by Yaron Stavi.

It’s been said that Bach’s music translates easily between musical styles, and the final movement from his Solo Partita in A Minor lends weight to the suggestion. Of course, Kennedy’s cheeky playing doesn’t diminish the force of the argument, either, except for those who expect Bach to be played in the manner of the early 20th century or, as an acceptable or perhaps preferable alternative, in a “historically informed” manner. Those cherishing those preferences must beware that Kennedy’s playing will be neither; despite its bright-eyed enthusiasm, it won’t entirely satisfy them. The same goes for his version of the first movement of the Master’s Double Concerto, in which he’s joined by Barbara Dziewiecka as second violinist in a spicy rendition that should, again, either appeal to or repel listeners, depending on their predilections. But nobody will doubt the vivacity of the two violinists’ by-play in this movement, more spontaneous in many ways than Yehudi Menuhin’s with Grappelli in their early collaborations, which succeeded, when they did, perhaps mostly on account of the crisp arrangements and Grappelli’s authentic Grappelli, despite what many might hear as Menuhin’s comparative squareness and stiffness. Stavi’s sweet little piece, Helena’s Honeysuckle , hardly lasts long enough to be cherished before the collection ends with Kennedy’s Dusk , another study in atmosphere—and again, one that seems to leave before its number has been called.

For those who enjoyed Menuhin and Grappelli, Kennedy’s newest collection of pieces will represent a modest stylistic step forward. It’s one well worth taking. Strongly recommended.

FANFARE: Robert Maxham
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Works on This Recording

Sweet and Slow by Thomas "Fats" Waller
Performer:  Nigel Kennedy (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Take Five by Dave Brubeck
Performer:  Nigel Kennedy (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
I’m Crazy About My Baby (And My Baby’s About Me) by Thomas "Fats" Waller
Performer:  Nigel Kennedy (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Por Do Sol by Ze Gomez
Performer:  Nigel Kennedy (Violin)
Viper's Drag by Thomas "Fats" Waller
Performer:  Nigel Kennedy (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
New Dawn by Nigel Kennedy
Performer:  Nigel Kennedy (Violin)
Out in the Ocean by Traditional
Performer:  Nigel Kennedy (Violin)
Notes: Arrangement: Nigel Kennedy 
How Can You Face Me Now by Thomas "Fats" Waller
Performer:  Nigel Kennedy (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Sonata for Violin solo no 2 in A minor, BWV 1003: 4th movement, Allegro by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Nigel Kennedy (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
Notes: Arrangement: Nigel Kennedy 
Concerto for 2 Violins in D minor, BWV 1043: 1st movement, Vivace by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Nigel Kennedy (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1717-1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Notes: Arrangement: Nigel Kennedy 
Helena's Honeysuckle by Yaron Stavi
Performer:  Nigel Kennedy (Violin)
Dusk by Nigel Kennedy
Performer:  Nigel Kennedy (Violin)

Sound Samples

Sweet & Slow
Take Five
I'm Crazy 'Bout My Baby (And My Baby's Crazy 'Bout Me)
Por Do Sol
Viper's Drag
New Dawn
Out in the Ocean
How Can You Face Me Now?
Allegro (Inspired by Bach's Sonata No. 2 for Solo Violin, BWV 1003)
Vivace (Inspired by Bach's Concerto for 2 Violins and Orchestra, BWV 1043)
Helena's Honeysuckle

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