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På skive



Kenny Wollesen is known as the American, New York-based powerful drummer of Steven Bernstein’s wild-style Sexmob, myriad John Zorn configurations (The Dreamers, New Masada Quartet, The Song Project and many others projects) and Bill Frisell’s albums. Wollesen’s colorful and often kaleidoscopic new album Latrala (think tra-la-la spelled sideways) was made almost by mistake.

Wollesen organized a new quintet for a February 2022 performance at Zorn’s experimental club The Stone which was unexpectedly canceled due to Covid protocol. Wollesen seized the lemon juicer and booked the band into Shahzad Ismaili’s Figure 8 studio in Brooklyn. The quintet – Wollesen as percussionist (mainly on electric vibes, marimba and glass marimba), with drummer Nasheet Waits, guitarist Tony Scherr (who plays the bass in Sex Mob), bassist Christopher Thomas, and «surreal synths» builder Michael Coleman recorded Latrala.

The album highlights Wollesen’s inventive compositional skills and the jazz-saturated Santa Cruz of Wollesen’s youth. The quintet played in the studio for the first time ever but immediately established its energetic, tight collective dynamics, and nearly the entire is comprised of first takes. Later, Wollesen overdubbed the ten pieces with layers upon subtle layers of percussive and electronic detail with a lot of WollesonicTM percussion instruments. These pieces offer breezy and propulsive, seductive and caressing gems, rich with percussive detail and surreal sonic imagination.

A few of the pieces follow people and places in Wollesen’s world. The funky «Sam» was inspired by Kenny’s downstairs neighbor, an intriguing Upper West Side character who hasn’t crossed the New York City border in 95 years. The dreamy «Johnny Garr» is dedicated to Wollesen’s charismatic stepfather, Jack Darrough, who went on to work the California rails alongside Jack Kerouac and introduced young Wollesen to Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, and Sidney Bechet.

The LATRALA quintet may not be a one-shot deal. Wollesen’s residency in The Stone was rescheduled to 2025.

Eyal Hareuveni

Tony Scherr (guitar), Christopher Thomas (double bass), Michael Coleman (electric piano, synthesizers), Nasheet Waits (drums), Kenny Wollesen (electric vibraphone, marimba, songs bells, glass marimba, congas, tenor saxophone, organ,  tenor steel pan wollesonics)