Born in Canada, Kenny Wheeler has been a pivotal figure in British jazz since his arrival in London in 1952. He was part of the Johnny Dankworth band for its legendary Newport Jazz Festival appearance in 1959 and stayed to become a major soloist for the orchestra. From 1966, Kenny Wheeler became increasingly interested in free jazz, joining the Spontaneous Music Ensemble and Tony Oxley’s band. In 1969, he released his first album as a leader – 'Windmill Tilter' which showcased his writing and featured emerging British jazz stars like John McLaughlin, Dave Holland and Tony Coe. As a member of Anthony Braxton's group from 1971 to 1976, he commuted between New York and London, while still finding time for his own projects. He recorded 'Song For Someone' in 1973 with Evan Parker and Derek Bailey (a Melody Maker Album Of The Year) and in 1975 his first album for ECM, the seminal Gnu High, featuring Keith Jarrett, Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette. The 1970s also saw the emergence of Azimuth, a chamber jazz trio featuring pianist John Taylor and singer Norma Winstone. Having become a key recording artist for ECM, Wheeler has gone on to record many classic albums for the label including Deer Wan 1977 (with Jan Garbarek, John Abercrombie and Ralph Towner), Double, Double You 1983 (with Michael Brecker) and Angel Song 1997 (with Lee Konitz, Dave Holland and Bill Frisell). He continues to perform and write, in 2005, a series of concerts to celebrate his 75th birthday, saw him reunited with Lee Konitz, Norma Winstone and Dave Holland. Kenny Wheeler is one of Europe’s most sought after trumpet and flugelhorn soloists and is a highly influential composer and arranger.
Johnny Dankworth Orchestra – Windmill Tilter (BGO 2010)
Gnu High (ECM 1975)
Music For Large And Small Ensembles (ECM 1990)
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