Monday, October 19, 2015

Album Review: Ron Carlson- Kind Folk

Ron Carlson’s new album Kind Folk is dedicated to Charlie Haden and Kenny Wheeler. 

The title track of the project would almost certainly have pleased both jazz legends.  The core band of saxophonists Rob Scheps and Roger Rosenberg, guitarist Carlson, bassist Bob Bowman and drummer Brian Steever interpret Wheeler’s composition with the elegant finesse associated with the late bassist and trumpeter.

Scheps and Rosenberg shine on John Abercrombie’s “Soundtrack” and Haden’s exquisite ballad “First Song.”  Rosenberg’s bass clarinet gives the latter selection an old world feel.

Kind Folk provides valuable documentation of the New York based Scheps’ annual collaborations with Kansas City jazz musicians.  The pairing of Bowman, a Kansas City institution in the midst of a late career renaissance, and the energetic young Steever, reflects Carlson’s savvy as a bandleader.

Three prominent Kansas City jazz vocalists- Shay Estes (“A Felicidade”), Angela Hagenbach (“Bye Bye Country Boy”) and Kathleen Holeman (“A Beautiful Friendship”)- are also featured on Kind Folk.

Carlson is content to let his consistently tasteful Kenny Burrell-style playing augment the contributions of his bandmates.  His thoughtful statement on “J.S.”, the album’s gorgeous closing track, lasts less than a minute.

In electing to act in a complementary role, Carlson has overseen the creation of a solid album of  mainstream jazz.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

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