Kenny Stahl
Kennys from Heaven

KLM Jazz, 333

Kenny Stahl, flute, alto flute, bass flute, and piccolo; Dave Garibaldi, drums and percussion; Murray Lowe, piano; Stan Poplin, bass

Unlike many players, Kenny Stahl doesn't use the flute just to augment a battery of saxophones. It is his main ax, and he plays it with a feel for its particular strengths. In the days of Dixieland and marching bands, the clarinet or flute used to play obbligato figures on top while the trumpet stated the melody in the middle and the trombone did harmonic things underneath. Kenny's solos evoke that playful obbligato function as he improvises over this strong rhythm section. They are not the kind of solos a saxophone would play. And being brisk commentaries on the musical underpinnings, they especially promote and depend on interaction with the other players. So you get a kind of music that's original, spontaneous, and fun.

On Jaco Pastorius's "Three Views of a Secret," Kenny's bass flute alternates with the bowed bass on the head, and the tone quality is so similar it will fool you if you're not listening for it. On other tracks Kenny gets interesting effects playing unison or voiced harmonies with the piano. There are several original compositions and a number of standards by more modern writers like Jaco, Keith Jarrett, and Tom Harrell. Only toward the end of "What Is This Thing Called Love" does the music get a little out there; otherwise it's straight ahead without being in any way dated or old-fashioned.

by Robert Tate

Kennys From Heaven is available through the Jazz Now Direct CD Store.