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The JazzBreakfast on Kenny Shanker and Patrick Corneilus….

Kenny Shanker
Steppin’ Up
(PosiTone PR8087)
Debut from alto saxophonist Shanker and a band of Art Hirahara or Mike Eckroth on piano, Lage Lund on guitar, Yoshi Waki on bass and Brian Fischler on drums.

Shanker writes all the tunes with the exception of the closer, Lenny Bernstein’s Somewhere, and he has a nice full and fruity sound on alto. Born in California, and a student of the Manhattan Schoo, he was snapped up by the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and has since played in loads of clubs and on loads of sessions, won a composition award and written soundtrack music

Which all goes into making this a most accomplished debut. Listen to him – and the band as a whole – at a rolling boil on Fifth And Berry, and developing some forceful lyricism onRhapsody.

Really good recording sound, too, with the subtlety of Shanker’s timbre particularly lovely on Sarah.

Patrick Cornelius
Maybe Steps
(PosiTone PR8089)
Another alto player, another PosiTone recording, but a different sound and style.

Cornelius is from texas and met drummer Kendrick Scott via the All State Jazz Band. He studied at Berklee, moved to New York and was in the same Manhattan School class as trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and pianist Gerald Clayton (who, along with Scott, appears on this disc).

Cornelius has a fine way of composing which determines the improvisation that should go with it. The result is that satisfying state where written parts and solos are blurred in the listener’s ears.

Try Brother Gabriel for size. It borrows some harmonic material from Peter Gabriel’s Here Comes The Flood (hence the title) and is a little beauty of reflection and quiet emotional intensity. Cornelius has a thinner tone than Shanker but is equally eloquent.

Good unclassifiable modern jazz.