Other People

Other People

The veteran trumpeter Kenny Wheeler has covered a lot of ground in his career. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, the Canadian native played with a number of different British jazz groups, including the John Stevens Spontaneous Music Ensemble, the Mike Gibbs Orchestra, and the drummer Tony Oxley’s band. In the U.S., he might be best known for his work with the idiosyncratic composer and saxophonist Anthony Braxton and for his solo releases on ECM and other labels. 2008’s Other People features Wheeler’s compositions for trumpet, flugelhorn, piano (longtime associate John Taylor), and strings (Hugo Wolf String Quartet). The melancholy music possesses an intensely yearning quality that evokes both romanticism and film scores. (As is often the case with chamber jazz, the music can hint at tango, too.) Wheeler and Taylor sit out two pieces here, the brief “Nita,” and the 14-minute “String Quartet No. 1,” but the whole albums flows seamlessly. Wheeler has created a moody gem that’s part of a jazz tradition where expressive horn soloing is wedded to excellent string writing.

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