Album Review of
Beautiful Things

Written by Joe Ross
August 20, 2021 - 11:22pm EDT
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Talented New York-based saxophonist Kenny Shanker’s fourth album as leader during the past decade is a lively set of solidly played originals and nicely handled covers, each track brimming with personality of its own.  Laying his soul right out there, Standring’s punchy also sax is equally at ease with the contemplative Rodger and Hart composition “It Never Entered My Mind” as it is with his up-tempo self-penned “Prestissimo.”  Kenny  Shanker and Co. keep the groove solid and jaunty as they explore beauty in a variety of musical forms from show tunes like Jerome Kern and Johnny Mercer’s “I’m Old Fashioned” to a post-bop original like “Mirth.”  

The eclectic saxophonist is joined on all tracks by Daisuke Abe (guitar), Mike Eckroth (piano), Yoshi Waki (bass) and Brian Fishler (drums). Bill Mobley’s trumpet colors three of Shanker’s originals. Whether your tastes in jazz lean more towards a classic Van Huesen/Burke song “Like Someone in Love” or Thelonious Monk’s “In Walked Bud,” you’ll appreciate the depth of artistic expression on Beautiful Things.  Tasty sax play and a street-smart, erudite lyrical sense translate to a thoroughly enjoyable listen.  (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)