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Sweet Sister Suite By Kenny Wheeler

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Sweet Sister Suite By Kenny Wheeler
Sweet Sister Suite By Kenny Wheeler


"Sweet Sister Sweet", commissioned by Tommy Smith in 1995, was written by the late trumpeter/composer Kenny Wheeler over a two-year period and completed in 1997. It was premiered in performance by the SNJO in 1998 and it remains a wonderful example of his signature style. This performance features trumpeter Laura Jurd and vocalist Irini Arabatzi.

The suite is a textured, measured and deeply layered work for trumpet and vocal that also features SNJO improvisers stepping out from the orchestra to take the spotlight. It quickly develops from an understated introduction into an expansive essay in complex jazz, and it epitomizes Wheeler's mastery of harmonic contrast, rhythmic changes and melodic clarity.

Wheeler often composed by noting down ideas and fragments whenever and wherever they occurred to him; a method that he was seen to employ while recording and touring with Tommy Smith and his group. These fragments grew into interconnecting pieces, lovingly shaped into layers of light, colour, tone and texture. If there is any stitching in the unhurried arrangement then it is nevertheless quite invisible to the naked ear.

There is a subtle sense adventure in Wheeler's writing, and Laura Jurd is a gifted player who brings her own compass to this reading of Kenny Wheeler's sonic map. The piece also features voice parts, which featured prominently throughout Wheeler's long composing career. Irini Arabatzi fully embraces the sympathetic, almost reassuring intent in Wheeler's writing. It is soul searching without bitterness or melancholy, and there is, if anything, the suggestion of a certain kind of joi de vivre that is often inwardly, yet intensely felt by quiet people.


  1. Name
  2. Sweet Sister
  3. Keeper Of The Light
  4. Worlds Apart
  5. Her Love Is Like An Endless Stream
  6. Constant Star
  7. Wondering Dream
  8. Twilight Chant
  9. Utopian Recital
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