Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Phil Kenzie - A Night With The Cat (2015)

Phil Kenzie is a veteran alto sax player who is well known in the music industry but the general public is mostly unfamiliar with him. His best known work is the sax solo on Al Stewart's "Year of the Cat." He also owns the solo on Poco's "Heart of the Night" and he's featured on an updated version of "The Long Run" from The Eagles Live.

Kenzie has also played alongside of some of the world's most famous rockers, including Paul McCartney, Rod Stewart, Jackson Browne, Peter Frampton, Annie Lennox, Stephen Stills, Alan Parsons, and David Bowie.

Kenzie's new album, A Night With The Cat may or may not have been released yet. No date was given with the press packet I received. No cover art was available and no liner notes were provided either so it's impossible to know who wrote and played what. What we do know is that A Night With The Cat was recorded over a ten year period from 1998 through 2008 even though it's just being released for the first time.

According to the press material the album is an instrumental interpretation of Stewart's famous hit single and the titles of all ten tracks (including "Silk Dress," Water Color," and "Incense and Patchouli") are based on the lyrics to that song.

The saxophonist is assisted by smooth jazz guitarist Peter White, who worked with Stewart for twenty years, and the late keyboard player Larry Knechtel.

Unfortunately, for a work that has taken so long to create the listener should expect a whole lot more. Most of the tracks lack melodies. They sound like Kenzie is just noodling around. They're completely uninspired and virtually indistinguishable from one another. Boredom set in early and it's impossible to figure out what this set has to do with Stewart's classic tune other than taking the artist's word for it.

This album is a case where the concept is superior to the actual work. It reminds me of when Whoopi Goldberg played a nun in Sister Act. The idea was a lot funnier than the film itself.

Kenzie is much better as a highly regarded sideman.

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