Jean-Jacques Pussiau and I have now collaborated on several projects and Iíve said before, he is my kind of producer. He trusts the musicians to make the music and supports me in any way he can. In America we are being released on Jamey D. Aebersoldís label, Double Time Records, whom I have recorded with before. There is some history here and thatís nice. I am also very proud to be the first release of Jean-Jacques new label, Nightbird. He already has the respect of many people for his previous label, Owl. So this becomes the next chapter for all of us.
We recorded three nights, three sets a night. Thatís nine sets of music! I know there will be at least one more volume if not more. We had so many great moments. At the Sunset (now named The Sunside) in Paris, we feel at home, we feel loved, and we feel respected. And people come to hear us play! Thatís an important point, because without that we donít have much to celebrate. I am proud to have done our first trio recordings at this club.
This album happens to be all standards and that is purely coincidental. I would never set out to do a theme of standards or originals. The cuts are selected based on how they feel next to one another. Itís important for the sequence to keep drawing me in. In that sense the composer is irrelevant. The good thing about standards is that they can withstand endless interpretations. They remain fresh and exciting to play. We could probably record ďNardisĒ or ďMy Funny ValentineĒ on every CD and have vastly different results each time.
Kenny Werner Form and Fantasy Vol.1
Kenny Werner : piano
Johannes Weidenmueller : bass
Ari Hoenig : drums
1. Amonkst 6í13 Kenny Werner
2. Sicilienne (intro) - solo piano 4í13 J.S. Bach
3. Sicilienne 7í42 J.S. Bach
4. Nardis 10í22 Miles Davis
5. Tears in Heaven 8í06 Eric Clapton
6. Dolphin Dance 5í56 Herbie Hancock
7. My Funny Valentine 7í59 Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart
8. Bill Remembered - solo piano 3í38 Kenny Werner
9. Time Remembered 6í50 - Lonnieís Lament 8í10 Bill Evans/John Coltrane
Ari and Johannes are great players and really open, creative spirits. I need musicians that can do both. Itís been a while since I had a trio with a voice, but I feel that this trio has it. These guys challenge me to grow and I love that. I donít listen to piano trios too much because they can be quite boring. Some great piano players for sure, but boring groups, boring bands. I donít like hearing the bass and drummer accompanying the pianist all night. A trio for me means three musicians follow their own creative urges. Itís much more fun to have to react to someone elseís impulses. Iíve always structured my trios, knowingly or unknowingly, around this formula: Iím crazy and one other member of the trio is crazy and the third guy holds us together. You could say that Ari is crazy and Johannes takes care of us. We have really good chemistry. And they have the virtuosity and imagination to ďpour formlessness into form.Ē The Philosophy Music is fantasy. I am always fantasizing while playing. Sometimes the piano is a string orchestra. Sometimes a groove is a well-oiled machine. Sometimes a melody is liquid sex. Sometimes a minor chord is soulfood. I donít have much interest in art, but I love fantasy. I have always been attracted to wildness and control. Disorientation is also nice. Definitions donít inspire me. I like to invite the audience into the space and then lock all the doors.
It really turns me on to play for people, play with their heads, with their hearts, all to a good end result, I hope. From now on my trio recordings will be live, because thatís when it really happens for me. The best thing is that after playing a set with this trio, I feel really empty, really satisfied.