This book serves as an insight to modern jazz piano language at the turn of the 21st century by analyzing pianist Kenny Kirkland through six original transcriptions. An examination of Kirklands collected recordings as a sideman as well as analysis of unreleased trio material showcases a large variety of Kirklands playing. The versatility of Kirklands playing style and recording career allow for analyses of jazz language across multiple styles and subgenres to examine characteristics of advanced modern jazz piano playing.
The chosen selections of Kirklands improvisations focus on standard jazz repertoire including blues, rhythm changes, pop and contemporary, modal music and Giant Steps as well as other challenging compositions. Kenny Kirklands influence and the advanced harmonic and rhythmic devices in his playing remain relevant and in practice today. Examining these playing elements highlight advanced harmonic and rhythmic concepts in modern jazz piano and give new insight into his playing.
"To refer to Kenny Kirkland as an exceptional musician only begins to describe this once in a lifetime artist.
His works as an improviser, composer and accompanist demonstrate what is possible when one is informed,
selfless and spiritually engaged with music. Melody, harmony and rhythm are deftly employed with style and taste, always in service to the song. Listening, of course, provides all one needs to know, as it all truly felt so good;
a reflection of the gracious human being that he was."
Jeff "Tain" Watts