Press

WEIGHTS & MEASURES

4 Stars – Downbeat Magazine
“Guitarist and Ornette Coleman protégé Kenny Wessel tackles provocative grooves and left-of-center ideas on his third recording as a leader.”
Bill Milkowski – Downbeat 

• “Though still best known for his 12-­year tenure with Ornette Coleman as one of the twin engines powering Prime Time, guitarist Kenny Wessel has carved out a niche as a thoughtful player who explores structure and freedom across a range of genres.”
John Sharpe – New York City Jazz Record

• Best of 2012
Craig Nixon – Acoustic Levitation

• “Wessel’s versatility combined with the ability to move well past the “one note” status makes him a serious instrumentalist of note….Critical remarks? Goose egg. None here … A stealth like talent that could easily fly under the musical radar of most people not to mention publications. Easily one of the best for 2013! Five Stars.”
Brent Black – CriticalJazz.com

• “On [Weights & Measures], the criminally slept on guitarist Wessel is in fine form, with a crack quartet of peerless peers on a tune of mostly originals. Why this one took nearly seven years to come out is a mystery since it’s absolutely cracking. At the record’s heart is the compelling contrast between the leader’s slightly ethereal clean tone and Joel Frahm’s super-earthy tenor voice. The punchy, and slightly reeling opener gets things off to a good start, and the energy the band brings to this theme is consistent throughout the wide range of material here…. And with the fairly abstract take on the Ornette tune to close things out, it’s a brisk, inventive, and invigorating set of music. Warmly recommened.”
Jason Bivins – Cadence Magazine

 

JAWBONING

• ”Consistently exciting, often moving, and certainly, an exceptional session.  Here’s hoping that there is more for Wessel on the horizon, as this is undoubtedly a contender for one of the best records of the year.”
Jay Collins – One Final Note

• “Matriculation from sideman to frontman can be a stressful process. Guitarist Ken Wessel makes the long due move with aplomb….Creative improvised music is a crowded place these days, with plenty of new players cropping up and older ones jockeying for more prominent positions. With all the activity it’s hard to keep track. But based on this auspicious debut my money says Wessel is one to watch.”
Derek Taylor – All About Jazz

• “The guitarist demonstrates an adeptness at creating a spacious ambiance with delay lines and volume-pedal swells on Filiano’s complex suite, “Behind the Mirror.” And he shows a penchant for gentle lyricism on his lovely ballad “Sunset,” which also serves as a showcase for Filiano’s expressive arco work. The trio closes out with the collective improv, “Diminutive Innuendos,” full of darting, jagged lines and daring intervallic leaps by the adventurous and underrated guitarist.”
Bill Milkowski – Jazz Times

• “Ken Wessel is backed up by Ken Filiano on bass and the genius free jazz drummer Lou Grassi. The tight interplay and original improvisations these three musicians put out there can only get one to clap ones hands . . . Wessel is technically a very talented guitarist, who is dedicated to play music that has a heart. Wessel has a pure and clear sound, that he spices with distortion and use of the volume pedal en masse’. All the tracks on this cd are really solid compositions . . .All in all a fantastic album, that can not be recommended enough.”
Henrik Kaldahl – Jazznet Denmark

• “Jawboning also points to limitless possibilities. Wessel shows himself to be not only a guitarist and improviser of ideas and imagination but also a strong group leader.”
Robert Iannapollo – Cadence

• “Leave it to the pros! With this release lead soloist, guitarist Ken Wessel slashes and burns through a hot n’ heavy modern jazz trio date featuring bassist Ken Filiano and drummer Lou Grassi. The gents turn up the heat on more than one occasion. . . Moreover, the artists distinct musical personas shine radiantly throughout . . .This is top shelf stuff, indeed!”
Glenn Astarita – The Jazz Review

 

DAYBREAK

• “One of the ten best recordings of 1998.”
Howard Mandel – JAZZIZ

• “…sublime beauty can be powerful too, and in that sense, this is one of the finer power trio discs in recent memory….those who dig artful composition and soulful, unhurried improvisation should seek this one out.”
Adam Levy – Guitar Player

• “When the song finally opens up for improvisation, Wessel’s solo – punctuated with chord clusters and tight double stops – floats gracefully atop a deep tabla groove. Here Wessel manages to be delicate without being precious – a fine line that he walks with ease….Half-way into his solo, as Roy and Takeishi egg him on with rhythmic volleys, Wessel kicks into overdrive – literally and figuratively – showing off an edgier side of his musical personality without resorting to rock/fusion cliches. Other cuts – notably “Processional” and “Daybreak” – offer further evidence of Wessel’s patience and maturity.”
Adam Levy – Guitar Player

 

THUNK

• “The discovery here is Wessel. He favors a supportive role when Gauci solos, but stitches together a running commentary throughout tracks like “Nutty” and dresses up “Ask me Now,” in duo with Gauci, that simply elevates the track into a dream state.”
Mark Corroto – All About Jazz (Dec 14, 2012)

 

WITH PRIME TIME

• “Wessel showed great promise. He listened closely to Ornette and constantly reworked alto phrases, often inspiring further variations from the leader. With time in the band, Wessel should assume a more active, up-front role.”
Bob Blumenthal – The Boston Phoenix

 

MORPH THE CAT

• “Among these hired guns…Kenny Wessel pushes blues-rock runs into jazz harmony…”
Bob Keelaghan – Guitar One

• “And Ken Wessel’s rocky solo is the cream on top of “Security Joan.”
John Heidt – Vintage Guitar Magazine (Apr 18, 2007)

 

MISCELLANEOUS

• “….guitarist Kenny Wessel, whose cleanly phrased single-string solos give the group a relaxed, swinging feeling.”
John S. Wilson – The New York Times

• “Badal Roy and Ken Wessel have choreographed the musical score and played the tabla and guitar respectively, enhancing the beauty of this presentation which was a joyful blend of music and movement.”
The Hindu, India

• ”…Wessel’s work here is witty and makes me move in my seat.”
Steve Koenig – LaFolia.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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