Guitar International Reviews Randy Klein’s Two Duos “What’s Next?” w/Alex Skolnick and Boris Kozlov
Pianist Randy Klein is an alumnus of Berklee College of Music. He is an Emmy Award winner for Free To Dance (PBS Great Performances), Beyond Tara – The extraordinary Life Of Hattie Mc Daniel (American Movie Classics) and Richard Wright – Black Boy (PBS/BBC Production).
Klein has also enjoyed great success in Musical Theatre, and has released 11 recordings as a leader for his record label “Jazzheads.” Klein states that he hopes to continue his series of duo recordings for years to come.On this project Klein is joined on alternating tracks by bassist Boris Kozlov and guitarist Alex Skolnick.
Kozlov is Russian born, and has been with the Mingus Big Band for many years. Skolnick is best known for his work with Testament and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. His reputation for technical prowess in the heavy metal genre is well deserved.
The opening tune is titled “Exalted Kingdom” and featured a tight unison statement of a Latin tinged melody. Skolnick immediately shows that he is capable of a nice full traditional Jazz tone and phrasing. Klein’s note selection and soloing is a combination of Bill Evans and Ahmad Jamal. He plays nice full chords underneath thoughtful single lines that flow effectively through the changes.Next up is the title tune “What’s Next.”
Kozlov provides the perfect voice to blend with Klein both as a support instrument and soloist. Their natural interplay shows a commonality of musical background and approach that works wonderfully. “Casa China” brings Skolnick back to share in a somewhat mysterious melodic statement and feel.
“Dear Charles Mingus” is a bass feature that I am sure has the departed legend smiling from above. “No” is a playful tune with a somewhat fugal treatment and presentation. Once again Skolnick serves as a perfect partner to Klein’s musical intent.All of the compositions are Klein originals. Other titles included are “Lark,” “Where’s My Glasses,” “Tea for Three,” “Inner Voice” and ‘Return to Splendor.”
Each tune is perfectly placed in the order of the presentation to guarantee a solid contrast throughout. The melodies are all extremely well crafted and interesting. Klein’s chord progressions offer a modern approach while maintaining enough of the traditional thought processes to be logical and pleasing to the most hard line old school listener.
This is a truly fine recording performed by three excellent musicians. It will be a welcome addition to the library of any Jazz fan. It can be enjoyed as either relaxing background music, or analyzed and appreciated for its complexity. That is a truly rare combination and a testament to the quality of the compositions.
“What’s Next?” available on JAZZHEADS, and
MWE3.com Interviews Randy Klein
mwe3: Aside from the different instrumentation, how different is your new duo album What’s Next? compared to your first duo album? Also how did you meet Boris Kozlov and Alex Skolnick and how would you describe the musical chemistry in play on What’s Next? how was the material chosen for the album and how did it begin and end?
RANDY KLEIN: The compositions on Sunday Morning, the first CD from the Two Duos project, are more melody and harmony driven. They were chosen because they fit the two players performing them. Oleg Kireyev has a deep warm saxophone sound and Chris Washburne has a unique facility in all ranges of the trombone. Both are superb all around musicians and improvisers. As I was preparing What’s Next? I wanted to make the CD simply different from the last one. The most important difference was to use two rhythm instruments and the compositions on What’s Next? are written with this idea in mind. The compositions also forced my demands as a pianist to grow.
MWE3.com Reviews Randy Klein’s Two Duos “What’s Next?” w/Alex Skolnick and Boris Kozlov
Jazz duo albums can sometimes be a hit and miss affair yet one that completely hits the bullseye is What’s Next? by jazz pianist Randy Klein. For the 12 track, hour long What’s Next? Randy teams with guitar virtuoso Alex Skolnick and bassist Boris Kozlov and the results are a delicate yet sonically durable outing that puts Klein’s sumptuous grand piano skills in a very favorable light. Both Skolnick and Kozlov are fine players to compliment Klein’s sensitive sounding, jazzy piano tracks. What’s Next? is actually the second CD of Randy Klein’s Two Duos album series from the pianist, the first one being 2010’s Sunday Morning, featuring Klein with trombonist Chris Washburne and saxophonist Oleg Kireyev. Guitar fans will note Skolnick’s tasteful fretboard work on What’s Next? and indeed Skolnick’s deft touch sounds quite well suited to Klein’s jazzy piano. Commenting on working with Skolnick and Kozlov on What’s Next? Klein adds, ‘These are top notch players! And when you play with players who are on this level, it really becomes a dream come true.’ Jazz fans who appreciate sensitive, varied, acoustic piano-based albums are truly well served by this album, while music fans should keep their ears open for more releases from the soon to be acclaimed series of CD releases from Randy Klein’s Two Duos on Jazzheads - the record label started by Klein back in 1992.
“What’s Next?” available on JAZZHEADS, and
Randy Klein’s Two Duos: What’s Next? is the Ringer of the Week on Jazz Weekly!
I’ve always been a sucker for jazz duets. Lonnie Johnson and Eddie Lang, Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, Jim Hall & Pat Metheny…the list could go on forever. There’s nowhere to hide, and if you’re posing, it’s going to come out. This disc with pianist Randy Klein has him in duo setting with either guitarist Alex Skolnick or bassist Boris Kozlov, and the result is one of the most lyrical, melodic yet incisively swinging releases to come out in many moons. Klein’s got a flowing touch with an inherent sense of pulse, flow and timing, making these tunes come off like intriguing conversations between longtime friends. Skolnick’s warm guitar embraces sonatas like “Exalted Kingdom” and the luxurious “In The Twilight Hours” with delicacy while he can also give it all he’s got, yet without shouting, on the fun loving ”No.” Kozlov’s elastic and electric 6 string bass dances around “Dear Charles Mingus” with exciting fingerwork while his sensitivity is spotlighted on the lilting “Inner Voice.” All throughout, Klein keeps the mood serene yet without somnambulism. Gently gliding like a spring brook, this music is refreshing to the soul.
“What’s Next?” available on JAZZHEADS, and
AllMusic Reviews Randy Klein’s Two Duos “What’s Next?” w/Alex Skolnick and Boris Kozlov
Pianist Randy Klein is a talented composer and lyricist who has written extensively for film, television, and theater, though he has had plenty of opportunity to show off his jazz chops since launching his Jazzheads label in the early 1990s. This session is a bit unusual as it is divided into a series of duets with two different musicians: electric guitarist Alex Skolnick and electric bassist Boris Kozlov (who is better known for his work on acoustic bass). All of the tunes are Klein originals, alternating tracks with each partner. Skolnick is an interesting choice, as most of his career had been spent playing heavy metal. But the match recommended by Klein’s radio promoter proves inspired, as Skolnick absorbs the subtlety of the pianist’s music and proves himself to be a good listener, complementing Klein’s work with thoughtful solos and accompaniment, beginning with the infectious opener “Exalted Kingdom,” which is reminiscent of the kind of duets Chick Corea often plays with vibraphonist Gary Burton. The soft, understated samba setting of “No” is full of inspired moments, while the lush “In the Twilight Hours” has a sense of melancholy. The tracks featuring Boris Kozlov are eye-opening as well. There’s a lot to like about the lyrical “Dear Charles Mingus,” with its mix of romanticism, nostalgia, and humor, with Kozlov’s sublime playing being the perfect match for Klein’s whimsical piano. The elegant ballad “Lark” suggests a morning sunrise, as the pianist and bassist deftly engage one another in a delightful musical conversation. The lovely “Tea for Three” has a reflective mood, as if Klein was recalling a first love from his youth, and the delicate ballad “Inner Voice” has a child-like innocence, as Klein’s spacious chords engage the ebb and flow of Kozlov’s bass. What’s Next? is an all-around success.
“What’s Next?” available on JAZZHEADS, and
New Release: Randy Klein’s Two Duos “What’s Next?” w/Alex Skolnick and Boris Kozlov
Pianist-Composer Randy Klein Releases Second Two Duos Project “What’s Next?” Featuring Bassist Boris Kozlov and Guitarist Alex Skolnick.
For the second in his series of Two Duos recordings, pianist-composer, Randy Klein engages in musical conversation on What’s Next?, featuring electric bass guitarist virtuoso Boris Kozlov and guitarist Alex Skolnick. What’s Next?, is the followup to his 2010 acclaimed CD, Sunday Morning, which showcased Klein in duets with trombonist, Chris Washburne and Russian saxophonist, Oleg Kireyev. This outing summons up the delicate interaction of pianist Bill Evans and guitarist Jim Hall on their classic 1962 encounter, Undercurrent, and the crystalline duets over time between Chick Corea and Gary Burton. Alternating tracks with Boris Kozlov, the Russian-born bassist, the longstanding anchor of the Mingus Big Band, and Alex Skolnick , the heavy metal turned jazz guitarist (of Testament and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra), Klein establishes an indelible hookup in the studio with his versatile duet partners.
Grammys Restore Best Latin Jazz Album Award!
The Recording Academy’s recently held spring Board of Trustees meeting in Los Angeles yielded GRAMMY Awards category changes in the Classical, Jazz, Latin, and R&B Fields, including the addition of Best Classical Compendium, Best Latin Jazz Album, and Best Urban Contemporary Album as categories. The total number of categories to be recognized at the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards on Feb. 10, 2013, will be 81. More info.
Jazzheads congratulates and thanks NARAS for reinstating the Best Latin Jazz Album Category to the Grammy Awards roster! We thank all who signed the petition and supported the cause.
With this decision, we encourage NARAS to reinstate the other categories that were deleted as well. For music to continue to grow and be understood by younger generations, there has to be an awareness of that music. This decision by NARAS shows their commitment to the music education of the next generations. As always, Jazzheads will continue to support Latin Jazz releases with great honor and respect.
We are proud to announce the new release of ‘Multiverse’ by the Bobby Sanabria Big Band coming this August!
Randy Klein’s Music on KPFA 94.1 FM
The radio show Early Morning Music with Eddy Pay on KPFA 94.1 FM radio station in Berkeley, CA continues to feature Randy Klein’s compositions: Sunday Morning and Her Beautiful Soul from CD ‘Sunday Morning’ (Jazzheads, 2010), and Inner Voice from CD ‘Love Notes From The Bass’ (Jazzheads, 1996). Thanks again, KPFA!
Mastering ‘What’s Next?’
Putting on the finishing touches. Recording and mixing engineer, Daryl Bornstein, mastering engineer, Gene Paul and pianist/composer, Randy Klein mastering What’s Next?, the new CD featuring Alex Skolnick on guitar, Boris Kozlov on electric bass guitar and Randy Klein on piano. The CD is scheduled for release on Jazzheads this October 2012.
Randy Klein Visits Brooklyn Frontiers High School
On May 3, 2012 Randy Klein joined with other panelists in the music industry in a visit to the Music Entrepreneurship class at Brooklyn Frontiers High School. The school is a new partnership between the Dept. of Education and Good Shepherd Services to serve students who have not been succeeding in traditional high school settings. Randy was there to offer insight and advice to the student-run record label “Frontier Sounds” which is releasing their first CD of all original student work on June 9, 2012. The students were delighted to hear Randy’s perspectives after 20 years of running his own record label, Jazzheads. Perhaps even more importantly, Randy shared his passion for music-making and the process of getting your voice out into the marketplace and into the world. It was a real treat for the students and they are looking forward to his next visit to the school - Jeff Lederer
Many thanks to Jeff Lederer for the invitation!
On April 26, 2012 Chris DiGirolamo and Randy Klein were interviewed by Sharif Abdus-Salaam on Columbia University Radio, WKCR 89.9FM. They discussed mentoring students and the business of music from the side of an experienced press representative and a record label. Two For The Show Media and Jazzheads have been working together as a team for many years and the back and forth conversation between Chris and Randy was informative and entertaining. Sharif played cuts from Jazzheads CDs and announced the upcoming Jazzheads Jazz Festival at the Players Club on May 4-5, 2012. Randy gave away a pair of tickets for each night to the shows. The phones rang off the hook and the winners will be the guests of Jazzheads for the big 20th Anniversary concert celebration! Thank you Sharif and WKCR for your continued support of Jazzheads music!
Charles Mingus, the great bassist and composer, was one of my musical heroes. He was extreme in everything he did. There is a story I heard, that he took an axe (not his!) to a really bad piano in a club. I totally relate to this. He also had a grand sense of humor and it came out in his music. Cocktails For Two from the album Charles Mingus & His Quintet Featuring Eric Dolphy - I love this track! Here are Charles Mingus LPs from my collection:
I composed a piece, Dear Charles Mingus, dedicated to him which I recorded with the esteemed bassist Harvie S on the CD, Love Notes From The Bass (Jazzheads 1994).
There are no out of tune pianos in heaven. Happy Birthday Charles Mingus!