3. The Long Waiting
4. Canter No.1
5. Sly Eyes
7. Old Time
8. Pretty Liddle Waltz
Kenny Wheeler - Flugelhorn
Stan Sulzmann - Tenor saxophone
John Parricelli - Guitar
Chris Laurence - Bass
Martin France - Drums
Recorded in December, 2013 at Abbey Road Studios, nine months before the legendary Canadian trumpeter and composer's death at the age of 84, this CD is
Kenny Wheeler's last recording. It also serves as a tribute from producer Manfred Eicher to the whole body of work (listed in an accompanying booklet) that
Wheeler recorded for ECM. The four musicians joining him on this date were four of his closest musical associates in recent years. All the compositions are
by Wheeler including several that have been recorded by other Wheeler line-ups in the past, for example The Long Waiting, which is the title track
of the magnificent big band recording from 2012 on Cam Jazz, Canter No. 1 from that same recording and Nonetheless from one of Kenny's
finest recordings, the 1997 `Angel Song'.
In the last few years of his life, Wheeler preferred to play the flugelhorn with its mellower sound and suitability for reflective solos. Inevitably, given
the fragility of his physical state, his playing on this recording is not without occasional fluffs. It will be appreciated by Wheeler aficionados but
perhaps less so by listeners unfamiliar with his work.
Wheeler's fragility on this date has the effect of galvanising the other musicians to new heights. In particular, Sulzmann, always thoroughly professional,
plays quite magnificently throughout as if he were trying to breathe new life into his old friend's frail physique. Parricelli, too, contributes a number
of excellent guitar solos - there's a particularly fluent one on Seventy-Six - and the commanding support provided by bassist Laurence and drummer
France could hardly be bettered.
The tango-influenced Sly Eyes has an authoritative solo by Sulzmann whilst Wheeler sounds more secure when playing in unison with the saxophonist.
On Pretty Liddle Waltz, a typically attractive Wheeler tune, Kenny plays a haunting solo over Parricelli's gentle riffs.
There are many moments of melancholic beauty on this CD as well as a powerful sense of collective creativity that speaks movingly of the great affection in
which this gentle and modest musical genius was held.