The Prickle (@ThePrickle) November 21, 2015
As part of this year’s EFG London Jazz Festival, veterans filled the stage on Thursday evening to pay homage to the great Kenny Wheeler, one of Britain’s most prolific jazz composers and performers, who sadly passed away last year.
The performance was a fitting celebration of his life, both with his own work and with tributes from friends, including Norma Winstone, Dave Holland, Nikki Iles, Ralph Towner, Foxes Fox, Gwilym Simcock and many more.
Norma featured most prominently throughout both sets, with nostalgic anecdotes and vocal renditions clearly tinged with emotion. Dave Holland began the 2nd set with a bass and vocal duet, followed by a fuller orchestration as they were joined by the London Vocal Project choir and others.
The concert spanned a lifetime of works, including tangoes, blues, full-bodied orchestration and a cacophonic free jazz set from Foxes Fox (which was a little too harsh at times, with glass scratching against piano strings).
The finale was a hauntingly beautiful recording of solo trumpet by Kenny himself. Performers and audience listened in silent reflection and appreciation as the lights were dimmed and the recording filled the auditorium to finish a wonderful evening.
The British and worldwide jazz community will remember the beautiful harmonies and evocative melodies of Kenny wheeler for many years to come.