Personnel: Kenny Kirkland (piano, keyboards); Branford Marsalis (soprano & tenor saxophones); Charnett Moffet, Robert Hurst, Christian McBride (bass); Steve Berrios (drums, percussion); Jeff "Tain" Watts (drums); Don Alias (bongos, percussion); Jerry Gonzalez (congas, percussion).
Producers: Kenny Kirkland, Delfeayo Marsalis.
Principally recorded at BMG Studios A & B, New York, New York. Includes liner notes by Branford Marsalis.
It's a shame that Kenny Kirkland didn't record more albums as a leader. While his work is documented on many Marsalis brothers' records, with the pop singer Sting, and even on Dizzy Gillespie's '80s NEW FACES album, Kirkland recorded only one record under his own name. Before his premature death, the virtuoso pianist was undeniably one of the best jazz musicians of his generation.
Kirkland's soloing here is at once wild and sensitive, insightful and intimate. On his self-titled release, he demonstrates his wares best on tracks such as "Mr. J.C." a modal jam that showcases his ability to play not only with energy, but with unbridled fury. In contrast, on "Midnight Silence," the pianist displays his soft and delicate touch and superlative compositional skill. Keyboards augment the songs, giving Kirkland's music a modern flair. Don Alias' percussive talents add an Afro-Cuban touch to tunes such as "Celia," and "Criss Cross." Finally, on "Chance," Kirkland's playing is elegant and gentle; the dainty waltz feel, and Jeff Watts' warm brushwork, make this one of Kirkland's greatest recorded moments. A superb CD throughout--one laments Kenny Kirkland's loss with every beat.