Sep 28, 2020
" I view Kenny as the most unique composer and pianist of his generation. Because he died young and avoided the spotlight, his brilliant compositions have been overlooked for too long" - Noah Haidu
On the occasion of what would have been Kenny Kirkland's 65th
birthday, pianist Noah Haidu is getting ready to release the first
endeavor dedicated entirely to Kirkland’s original music. Noah's
CD, Doctone (Sunnyside Records) will have a
release party and trio concert at the
Bop Stop in Cleveland tonight A short
film Noah has prepared on Kenny's life will be shown as well.
Doctone, featuring pianist Haidu with Billy Hart,
Steve Wilson, Gary Thomas, Todd Coolman, Jon Irabagon and Daniel
Sadownick, will be formally released on Friday.
That same day, October 2,"The Music of Kenny Kirkland," a livestream from the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, will take place, and features a concert and interviews with Haidu, saxophonist Steve Wilson, bassist Todd Coolman, and drummer Billy Hart, as well as film excerpts.
And if that is not enough, there is also an original book about Kirkland’s life coming, featuring interviews with Sting, Jason Moran, Billy Hart, Delfeayo Marsalis, Jeff "Tain” Watts, Ronnie Burrage, Rodney Jones, Steve Wilson, Mark Sherman, Todd Coolman and Kenny’s brother, among others.
In early 2019 Haidu had begun to tour with a new band
featuring Billy Hart and Tod Coolman and the inception of this trio
gave Haidu the opportunity to present a fresh repertoire centered
around Kirkland’s original compositions. Hart had a strong
connection with the music. Kenny had been on his first two
recording dates as a leader and they had played together during the
1970’s on various fusion, Afro-Latin, and avant-garde projects.
By summer 2019 the band decided to record nine of Kenny’s songs over a couple of days. The sessions were documented on video, and the musicians talked throughout about their relationship to Kenny and his music. Hart recalled the origins of some of the pieces and shared that he was having an “emotional reaction” to recording the music. Steve Wilson talked about the inspiration he felt when first hearing Kirkland with the Wynton Marsalis Quintet in the early 1980’s and how that band had inspired him and his contemporaries. The results are now available for us all to enjoy.
Podcast 676 is my conversation with Noah, as we talk about the origins of the project, what he learned from delving into the life and music of Kenny Kirkland, and how he hopes the project to continue to grow over time. Musical selections from Doctone include Kirkland tunes "Blasphemy,", "Chambers of Tain," and "Mr. JC."