Veteran French horn player, Ken Wiley, offers smart interpretations of jazz classics on “Jazz Horn Redux.” The Los Angeles, California-based musician is accompanied by some of the best musicians in the area. Together, they educate new and dedicated jazz listeners about the range and dynamics of various horns. This is done through tribute songs that honor the likes of Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins, plus others.
A note about Ken Wiley
Even if the musician’s name doesn’t sound familiar, many people have heard his work. Fans of “Family Guy” and “American Dad” have heard Wiley’s sharp and intuitive playing. For those who don’t watch cartoons of any kind, Wiley has also worked with Fall Out Boy and Lenny Kravitz. His seeming refusal to be pigeonholed makes Wiley the perfect musician to bring classic horn pieces to life.
The musicians that Wiley’s ensemble members have worked with are all household names. Gilberto Gil, James Taylor, B.B. King, Pat Metheny, Michael Jackson, and Earth, Wind and Fire, are among the greats Wiley’s fellow musicians have worked with.
“Jazz Horn Redux” by Ken Wiley
The quality of work is evident from the first song. But certainly “All Blues” by Miles Davis is a swaggering, full-bodied tune. The upright bass complements the various horn showcases. The drums clatter just right. The feel is not quite smooth jazz with bite. The horn showcases, and the pairings of different horns to play the same line is masterful. The work has texture and personality.
“Freddie Freeloader,” another track originally by Davis, is a smoldering track with smooth horn and upright bass lines. The mood is cosmopolitan and worldly wise. The percussion and drums work together, and the clattering and brushed sounds never clashed.
Wiley and his troupe of assembled musicians are masterful players. The work on “Jazz Horn Redux” is disciplined enough to show what the performers know, but at the same time, the instruments roam free within the songs’ parameters. The CD is a good time and an education.