KENNY DAVERN’S ART AND CRAFT (2004)

TO HONOR KENNY DAVERN, CLICK HERE: ALL MONEY GOES TO THE MUSICIANS!

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Don Wolff, our generous benefactor, has offered these performances by Kenny Davern’s favorite quartet from a 2004 New Jersey Jazz Society concert. 

Half of this quartet — Kenny and his favorite drummer, Tony DiNicola — are gone.  Happily, guitarist James Chirillo and bassist Greg Cohen are very much on the scene.

These performances mix intensity and lightness, and although I’ve sometimes thought that Davern, at this stage of his career, was more concerned with polishing his craft than taking risks, I realize that such hair-splitting is meaningless when faced with such music and the void Kenny left when he died.  The discussion between those who privilege the “art” of improvisation and the “craft” of perfecting your approach to a particular song seems less important than the result.   

Those of us who saw and admired Kenny — whether on clarinet, soprano saxophone, baritone or even bass sax — will find themselves caught up in his particular ethos immediately.  If you never had the chance to see and hear this irreplaceable man, here he is, with his most noble friends:

I’M SORRY I MADE YOU CRY:



WILD MAN BLUES:

AM I BLUE?:

BEALE STREET BLUES:

6 responses to “KENNY DAVERN’S ART AND CRAFT (2004)

  1. Thank you nephew!! Kenny Davern is on of my favorites. This sophisticated man, with the giant talent, just blows me away. I loved all the tunes, and “Am I Blue,” is something else. The easy, mellow, sound of that clarinet is beautiful.

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  3. Is it just me or is there a real shortage of jazz clarinetists? It’s a great instrument but perhaps requiring a longer learning curve. I hope younger players will take up the slack.

  4. How about Eric Elder, Will Anderson, Peter Anderson, Pete Martinez, Dan Block, Anat Cohen, Dan Levinson . . . ? Win, look up these folks on my blog. They exist and they play! (With apologies to anyone I’ve left off — this is my first comment of the morning . . . !)

  5. In my book, one of the greatest jazz clarinetists ever. It was a privilege – and remains a precious memory – to have heard him in person so often. The quirkier, risk-taking side of Kenny is on ample display in his recordings with his musical soul-mate Dick Wellstood.

  6. Kenny played with rare consistency, the type exemplified by Louis. Because of this, I find that sometimes I have to say to myself, “Wake up! Pay attention! Great music is happening here!” There is indeed great music happening in these clips. Still, I think MY two favorite moments occur in “Am I Blue?” and “Beale Street Blues” – those two brief non-musical encounters with Mr. Chirillo that are so typically Kenny…

    (And in mentioning his cast aside doubles, don’t forget his individualistic, if few in number, recorded attempts to set the C-Melody saxophone playing world on the right path. As with most things, Kenny had very definite feelings about how a C-Melody should be played.)

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