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Classical - Released October 9, 2015 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
When you see someone called Z-Star among the guest artists, it's a fair bet that you're not getting a conventional recording of Vivaldi's Four Seasons violin concertos. And sure enough, bad-boy violinist Nigel Kennedy and his Orchestra of Life use the score as a starting point for various kinds of embroidery. There are beats, long solo interjections, abrupt tempo shifts, electronics, rock guitars, samples of various kinds of outdoor sounds, some of them quite loud, and so on. How you'll feel about this may well depend on your stance toward The Nige in the first place, but give this a chance either way: several things make it work better than you might guess. One is fidelity to Vivaldi's spirit, if not to his notes: Kennedy reproduces (in English) the sonnets, perhaps by Vivaldi himself, that accompanied the original score, and his sound effects generally correspond to the scenes in the poetry. Second, Kennedy has perhaps never played better than he does here, slashing through his various heavy accompaniments with brilliance and speed. And finally, there's an X factor here that's due to a certain break-on-through-to-the-other-side quality. The performance is not just loud and brash but focused and intense as well. In all, you may be left with the impression that if Liszt had known Vivaldi's music and had had access to modern popular forms and technologies, he might have come up with something like this. Even if not, it's a wild, wild ride. ~ James Manheim
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Classical - Released February 4, 2013 | Warner Classics

Distinctions Gramophone Record of the Year
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Classical - Released May 11, 2018 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet
It is not so much a question of Nigel Kennedy meeting Gershwin with some “Maestro Gershwin, I presume” than of Gershwin hitting upon Kennedy in the New York jungle with a “Mister Kennedy, I presume, playing some Gershwin”. The present album is as much by the now classic explorer of jazz-cum-classical music as by Kennedy and, at that, by his jam session colleagues, to wit guitarists Howard Alden and Rolf ‘die Kobra’ Bussalb, bassist Tomasz ‘Insomnia’ Kupiec, as well as flutist David Heath. Hence the fact that though the booklet states all pieces are “arranged by Nigel Kennedy”, the input of all these jazz soloists is nothing less than seminal. Let us say he has arranged the accompaniment sections, written for strings and sometimes piano and harpsichord – both of which Kennedy plays himself, by the bye. His rewritings are epitomised by three main ingredients: the fusion of jazz and classical music, the beautiful melodic influences of Jewish culture and the unique energy of New York City – with a further (and obviously extemporaneous) exploration into Pink Floyd style rock for one of the numbers. A further ingredient is doubtless Kennedy’s personal acquaintanceship with Stéphane Grappelli when he was around 14 years old. Given “that this music evolved as a live project”, writes Kennedy in the liner notes, he “continued along these lines in the studio, thus: no glorious reverb, so that the music is and sounds like five cats playing live in a room. This is the old style of recording, more similar to some of [his] favourite recordings from the 30s and 40s.” Of course, Gershwin would not necessarily always recognise his pieces but certainly he’d have loved the way these musicians have jammed around the notes. © SM/Qobuz
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Violin Concertos - Released December 23, 2016 | Berlin Classics - Neue Meister

Hi-Res Booklet
Arriving 32 years into the recording career of English violin virtuoso Nigel Kennedy, My World is his first album of original compositions. It comprises two multi-part works, Dedications and Three Sisters, with the former paying tribute to idols such as Yehudi Menuhin, Isaac Stern, and Stéphane Grappelli. Three Sisters is a suite inspired by the Anton Chekhov play. Expressive and staunchly melodic, the pieces land in an area of folky Romanticism that aims to please more than challenge, at least where listeners are concerned. My World features performances from the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra, percussionist Orphy Robinson (Don Cherry, Wynton Marsalis), and guitarist Doug Boyle (Robert Plant, Caravan), among other contributors on guitar, bass, and drums. ~ Marcy Donelson
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Classical - Released June 1, 1997 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released January 1, 2000 | Decca

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Concertos - Released September 25, 1989 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released February 6, 2015 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released November 25, 2005 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released October 2, 2006 | Warner Classics

Nigel Kennedy made quite a reputation for himself as a classical violin virtuoso, though he long expressed an interest in jazz prior to the making of this CD. A number of jazz veterans, including bassist Ron Carter, drummer Jack DeJohnette, pianist Kenny Werner, and tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano (along with several others) are present and provide a stimulating group for Kennedy, who early on in the disc is comparable to Jean-Luc Ponty during the early stages of his career as a leader. But Kennedy seems a bit too conservative throughout much of the date, not taking the kind of chances one would expect of a jazz violinist during his improvisations. Another part of the problem is due to the presence of some rather pedestrian material like Butch Cornell's bland funk vehicle "Sunshine Alley" (which adds organist Lucky Peterson) and the forgettable treatment of "Expansions," featuring Raul Midón's vocal and Kennedy's bizarre use of digital delay on his instrument. Even Horace Silver's hard bop masterpiece "Song for My Father" doesn't reach his potential. Nigel Kennedy demonstrates clearly how hard it is to play jazz convincingly when it is not a major part of his regular playing schedule. ~ Ken Dryden
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Classical - Released October 4, 1999 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released October 15, 2002 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released July 1, 1991 | Chandos

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Classical - Released September 1, 2003 | Warner Classics

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Jazz - Released September 1, 1984 | Chandos

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Classical - Released September 15, 2010 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released January 30, 1998 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released November 1, 1988 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released March 11, 1991 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released February 25, 2008 | Warner Classics