Kenny Barron & Buster Williams. Live
Recorded Live at Umbria Jazz (Perugia) Italy, on July 1986.
Kenny Barron is joined by Buster Williams for this live set from the 1986 Umbria Jazz Festival. Since the two had worked together on a number of recording sessions previously, they were very familiar with each other's skills and they mesh very well on all five of the standards on this date. Williams is not a mere accompanist but a musical equal who finds interesting paths when the pianist is in the lead. Barron's inventive approach to these chestnuts is always inventive, especially in the extended takes of "All of You," "This Time the Dream's on Me," and "I Love You." "Someday My Prince Will Come" is rather brief by comparison to the remaining performances, but the novel treatment includes repeating several of the phrases within its structure before moving on, as well as Williams' pulsing repeated bassline. "My Funny Valentine" especially benefits from Barron's bittersweet arrangement. This rewarding date should be considered essential.
All Music Guide
Half of Sphere. One of the Two Sphere discs on RED Records is Pumpkins Delight: Sphere Live At Umbria Jazz (CD 123207). July 14, 1986 at the Umbria Jazz Festival. Included in this set were as series of duets by pianist Kenny Barron and Bassist Buster Williams. The result is a collection of music every bit as exciting as Pumpkins Delight. The stand out on the previous Sphere discs was Buster Williams and he is no less of a stand out here.
The piano trio is a hard enough forum in which to perform, but take away the percussive timekeeper, and things getting even harder. Barron and Williams engage in an almost standards counterpoint. Williams plays a beautiful straight-ahead foils to Barron's obtuse approach to melody. Barron's conception is quite unique and provoking. He solos beautifully and when comping, sweeps Williams on in his own bass solos. Buster Williams is among the most creative and attention grabbing soloists on his instrument and this disc displays his chops at full stride.
Umbrio. This duet clinic included everything a student of the genre would need to know. The vehicles are a collection of lengthy standards, all well played. Barron and Williams allow one another to stretch out with a great effect. This disc is a super companion to Pumpkins Delight.
- C. MICHAEL BAILEY, Published: September 1, 1999