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Hear jazzy Kenny Werner at Harris Center

By From page B5 | February 12, 2014

Kenny WernerWorld-class pianist and composer Kenny Werner brings piano jazz mastery to Folsom at the Harris Center in Brings Piano Jazz Mastery to Folsom on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 14 and 15. Joining him will be the rest of his long-standing trio, Ari Hoenig and Johannes Weidenmueler.

From receiving the 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship Award for his masterpiece, “No Beginning No End,” to duets with Toots Thielemans and Betty Buckley, his 40-year friendship with Joe Lovano and the publication of his groundbreaking book “Effortless Mastery” — one of the most widely read works on music and improvisation, Werner’s influence is unsurpassed.

Born in Brooklyn, on Nov. 19, 1951 and then growing up in Oceanside, Long Island, Werner began performing at a young age, first recording and then appearing on television at the age of 11. Although he studied classical piano as a child, he enjoyed playing anything he heard on the radio. In high school and his first years of college he attended the Manhattan School of Music as a classical piano major.

A natural instinct for improvisation led Werner to the Berklee School of Music in 1970. There he sought tutelage of the renowned piano teacher Madame Chaloff. Her gracious wisdom and inspiration became a driving force in Werner’s conception: music conscious of its spiritual intent and essence.

Several outstanding musical partnerships began in the 1990s and  Werner continues to play duo with Thielemans, the legendary harmonica player. For 20 years he has played with and arranged for Buckley, a Broadway legend. They made six albums together and she has sung his arrangements for small bands and orchestras across the globe. He also has had a nearly 40-year friendship and musical collaboration with Lovano.

Werner formed a new trio with Hoenig on drums and Weidenmueller on bass in 2000. They released three albums, with Werner acting as composer, arranger and pianist. He created three CDs before the release of his masterpiece “No Beginning No End.”

In 2007, Werner released his first album for Blue Note Records, “Lawn Chair Society,” featuring Chris Potter, Dave Douglas, Scott Colley and Brian Blade. He received critical acclaim for its fusion of electro and acoustic elements.

For several years now he has toured with his quintet featuring David Sanchez on sax, the legendary trumpet player Randy Brecker, Antonio Sanchez on drums and Scott Colley on bass. Their recent release on Half Note is titled “Balloons.”

Despite his creative output, Werner is still focused on the music. “I am still more and more aware of the true purpose of the music and the people who play it: to heal and unite the planet.”

Kenny Werner Trio will perform at the Harris Center, 10 College Parkway in Folsom, at 7 and 9 p.m.

Tickets are priced at $29 to $39 and student tickets with ID are $12. Tickets are available online at harriscenter.net or from the Harris Center ticket office at 916-608-6888 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday through Saturday and two hours before show time. Parking is included in the price of the ticket.

Harris Center for the Arts

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