Ken Wiley

Solo Recording Artist / Studio Musician

Amazing French Horn led Latin jazz Ken Wiley – Cuerno Exotica

By Dick Metcalf, editor, Contemporary Fusion Reviews - September 7, 2018

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… an amazing and most comforting set! You can get some great perspectives on the making of the album in the 5:09 trailer that Ken and his folks created for the album…

…Ken and Dan Higgins (who does some excellent wind and reed work on the album) really provide in-depth and revealing ideas about the creation of the music.  Also be sure to check out (and SUBSCRIBE to) Ken’s YouTube channel, too.

Ken put together an excellent lineup of players for this production, too… Bernie Dresel, Rene Camacho, Dominick Genova, Dave Loeb, Mark Leggett, Luis Conte, Kevin Ricard, Gary Grant, Larry Hall, and Steve Holtman all make the music come across as totally professional and inspiring, as you’ll hear on tunes like the lively 5:36 “Carilo“… just loved the guitar work on this one; in point of fact, each instrument winds up with a voice on this exciting piece… I’ll guarantee that if you’re a lover of Latin jazz – this will be among your favorites – one of the best Latin jazz performances I’ve listened to (yet) in 2018.

The group is just stunning on their unique rendition of Cal Tjader’s “Black Orchid“… another thing that really makes this piece stand out for me is the “pacing”… nothing is hurried, nothing rushed… pure perfection.

Of the eight tunes offered up, there was little doubt in my mind which would be my personal favorite pick… there’s a tone of mystery on Ken’s original composition, “Gato Magico“, that wrapped me up in it to the point that I can’t stop hitting the “replay” button on it… totally lovely!

I give Ken and his players a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99 for this most pleasant jazz adventure.

Rotcod Zzaj (Dick Metcalf)