Kenny Werner Trio | Green Mill | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Kenny Werner Trio Recommended Soundboard

When: Fri., Feb. 27, 9 p.m. and Sat., Feb. 28, 8 p.m. 2009

Though Kenny Werner is acknowledged as one of the great pianists in contemporary jazz, with the sensitivity and range to excel in dozens of widely varied sideman gigs, his talents as a bandleader and composer often get short shrift. The 2007 album Lawn Chair Society (Blue Note), where he leads a quintet that includes trumpeter Dave Douglas and drummer Brian Blade through a set consisting mostly of his own tunes, has risen exponentially in my esteem since I first heard it. I don’t like every track, but Werner’s good humor, nonchalant flexibility, eager aesthetic risk taking, and deft, intelligent solos (which address large swaths of jazz history within thoroughly contemporary arrangements—there are even experiments with electronics and computer music) impress me more with every listen. He’ll likely stick to more straightforward material here, since he’s playing not with that group but with the local rhythm section of bassist Larry Kohut and drummer Eric Montzka. Still, I wouldn’t expect him to color inside the lines all night. —Peter Margasak

Price: $12

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