Ken Wiley

Solo Recording Artist / Studio Musician

Ken Wiley’s “Cuerno Exotica” serves to showcase French horn sound

Ken Wiley’s “Cuerno Exotica” is the French horn player’s latest album. The release has the potential to change listeners’ perception of the French horn as they hear the instrument used in soundscapes that are pure jazz and Latin-infused. “Cuerno Exotica” is a mix of originals and cover tunes. Tracks like a version of Ravel’s “Bolero” and the original “Gato Magico” demonstrate the various moods that the French horn can be used to create.

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Ken Wiley - Cuerno Exotica

From Julius Watkins to Arkady Shilkloper - the French horn already has its own, albeit rather short history in jazz. A small group of leading jazz horns continues to strengthen the traditions of this instrument, each in its own style. Belonging to this group and living in Los Angeles is American horn player, Ken Wiley. 

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Amazing French Horn led Latin jazz Ken Wiley – Cuerno Exotica

Amazing French Horn led Latin jazz Ken Wiley – CUERNO EXOTICA:  As I pointed out in my review of Ken’s “Jazz Horn Redux” album (not too long ago), it’s rare (for me, anyway) to hear a jazz band that’s led by a French Horn; it’s even more rare to hear it in the context of great (and very well-performed) Latin jazz…

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KEN WILEY, Cuerno Exotica

The title of Ken Wiley’s melodically and rhythmically inviting new album translates to “Exotic Horn” – but his lead voice is not an instrument, like trumpet, flugelhorn or saxophone, that we normally associate with the kind of sultry, soulful and romantic Latin jazz he’s playing here with esteemed cohorts like Mark Leggett (acoustic guitar) and Dan Higgins (flute and sax).

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Ken Wiley: Jazz Horn Redux

The French Horn is rarely given a chance in jazz circles; usually there’s a problem with either dynamics or dexterity, so it’s relegated to being a “section” instrument, unless it’s in the right hands (and mouth). Ken Wiley shows how it can be accomplished with a collection of all stars…

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Ken Wiley's Jazz Horn Redux

Ken Wiley's new album is so surprising. He's a french horn player, which obviously sounds a lot more mellow than a trumpet or a flugelhorn or a sax or a trombone. Wiley is celebrating the contribution of horns in the jazz songbook, so we get smooth and textured renderings of such classics as Freddie Hubbard's "Little Sunflower," Charlie Parker's "Scrapple from the Apple," John Coltrane's "Equinox" and Sonny Rollins' "Oleo." You even get two faithful covers from Kind of Blue--"All Blues" and "Freddie Freeloader."

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Ken Wiley Jazz Horn Redux

French horn is not a common solo instrument in jazz, often found in ensembles to add musical color such as in Gil Evans orchestrations or Hall Overton’s Big Band arrangements of Thelonious Monk for Monk’s legendary Town Hall Concert. Wiley is among those who have provided more prominence to the instrument and on this disc he has put together eleven interpretations of some famous jazz compositions…

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Ken Wiley’s new CD, “Jazz Horn Redux” displays masterful playing

Veteran French horn player, Ken Wiley, offers smart interpretations of jazz classics on “Jazz Horn Redux.” The Los Angeles, California-based musician is accompanied by some of the best musicians in the area. Together, they educate new and dedicated jazz listeners about the range and dynamics of various horns. This is done through tribute songs that honor the likes of Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins, plus others.

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Ken Wiley fresh french horn jazz

I didn’t realize it when I first started spinning this very comfortable album, but Ken’s instrument is the French Horn, and as you listen to his interpretation of classic jazz standards like Freddie Hubbard’s “Little Sunflower“, you’ll hear why I fell in love with the album right away…

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