Technique, writes pianist Kenny Werner in his liner notes, "clears all the brush, so to speak, between the player and his instrument." And I read that at first as "clears off the brush," but I don't think that's so bad, because rinsing a paintbrush and machete-chopping work ultimately toward clarity, to eliminate that which has come before (paints, plants) and see, hear, the way forward. I'm leaving aside primitive visionaries for the moment. But Werner, who started performing in 1962 (aged 11), is in far too far to get back to primitive anyway.
He rarely bothers with proper expositions of head melodies, incorporating theme into always-elegant variations. He's very good at teaching, which figures from the teachable expositions of phrases going in and out of various changes. The back cover erroneously tells you Miles Davis (and not Bill Evans) wrote something called "Blue Is Green," but since the Japanese think green is blue and Bill Evans told us that Japanese thinking sprouted "kind of blue" thinking, that almost makes sense.
And the blue, and the green, sonically speaking, reinforce each other over their differences, through the power of shading. Werner knows all the changes of "Giant Steps," but I like the broader canvases here, including "Blue in Green," "A Child Is Born," and his own "Balloons," which seems to stand still until you notice how steadily the deep background's drift. Then the storm edge meets the balloon rigging and you hear rain notes popping, sliding, a short detour from their destiny below.
Album: Me, Myself & I
Artist: Kenny Werner
Label: Justin Time
Songs: (1) 'Round Midnight (2) Balloons (3) All the Things (4) Blue in Green (5) I Had a King (6) Giant Steps (7) A Child Is Born