The last time we heard news from Kenn Lending was back in 2012, when he released Flying high with his Kenn Lending Blues Band. Now he is back with Kenn Lending in concert, which, as the name suggests, is a live album.
The album was actually intended as a soundtrack to the documentary that film maker Gert Fribo was about to rework Kenn Lending when Fribo suddenly passed away in 2016. The album was recorded at a concert at the Badeanstalten in Slagelse in February 2015, and beyond Kenn Lending on vocals and guitar contributes Michael Sunding on organ, Kim Yarbrough on bass and Esben Duus on drums.
There are only seven cuts on the CD, and then one could be tempted to believe that it was an ep. But no - with playing times between 6 and 13 minutes the numbers fill the record well - and give Lending and co. good opportunities to show their instrumental skills.
With "Chess", the first of two self-compositions on the album and a song that last appeared on Game of life from 1995. It is a funky soul blues, where Michael Sunding's organ alternates underlying atmosphere and solo breaks. Kenn Lending also plays some jazzet sologuitar with good use of the power pedals.
Memphis Slims "Wish me well" starts at best jumpy B.B. King-style, but surprisingly develops into another funk workout. After a nice Hammond B3 solo from Sunding, Kenn Lending takes over with the wah-wah pedal before Kim Yarbrough gives it an extra shot of funk with his bass solo.
Then follows "Today I sing the blues", written by Curtis Lewis and originally recorded by Aretha Franklin. It is a slow blues with a good, passionate vocal of Lending, and with its well over 12 minutes of playtime, there is also ample room for his impression, B.B. and Freddy King-influenced solo. It is beautifully wrapped in by the rhythm section, while Michael Sunding weaves sound carpets on the organ before he himself delivers a long, bluesy solo.
Kenn Lending's own "It's been a long time" serves primarily as a background for the band members' solo excursions. First, Kim Yarbrough steals the spotlight with a sweaty funky show in lazy bass, before drummer Esben Duus takes over with her compulsory solo. It has been said and written a lot in the course of time about drum solos, but it is yet another fact that they work best in a concert situation. Kenn Lending in concert is a live album, and therefore it is quite reasonable that the drummer gets his dove, but unnoticed Esben Duus' great talent, it is difficult to get a drum solo down on the plate without it going to work straight legally long.
Kenn Lending has had Jimi Hendrix "" Voodoo child (slight return) "on the repertoire for many years, and thus also here. It will be a fantastic version with wah-wah pedal, Thomas Koppel-like organ, funk bass and lots of rippling cymbals. But it works, not least as a demonstration of the late-60s and 70s funky psychedelic roofs on the bluesidiom.
Then traces of Ray Charles' rhythm & blues classic "What’d I Say" with Michael Sunding on lead vocal and centered around his organ are shifted. Lending spice up with tasteful blues guitars while Duus lets the drumsticks dance.
Kenn Lending rounds off with pure blues, namely Willie Dixon's "Hoochie coochie man" (originally recorded by Muddy Waters). It is a real pleasure to hear Lending settle on this Chicago classic, which, of course, cannot escape a certain psychedelic touch by Sunding's organ and Loan's effect pedals. Nevertheless, there is a feeling that Kenn Lending with this particular song brings us back to the starting point, and it is a well-chosen closing number.
Kenn Lending in concert thus comes around, and it is also precisely the purpose of a publication like this. Of course, the CD is a snapshot of a playful band that has found its groove, but first and foremost is the effective demonstration of versatility, adventure and the intuitive blues sensation in Kenning's games.
1. Chess 6:29
2. Wish Me Well 7:14
3. Today I Sing the Blues 12:22
4. It's Been a Long Time 10:46
5. Voodoo Chile 11:05
6. What'd I Say 6:14
7. Hoochie Coochie Man 8:24