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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

CD Review: Frank Kimbrough - Solstice

Frank Kimbrough (pno) Jay Anderson (bass) Jeff Hirschfield (dms).
(Review by Dave Brownlow)
Frank Kimbrough is a very fine pianist who has had a long and successful career in jazz which has seen him work with Lee Konitz, Scott Robinson, Joe Locke, Paul Bley, Maria Schneider, Dewey Redman and the Gil Evans Project and he has more than twenty critically acclaimed albums to his name.   This CD has him collaborating with long-time musical companions, bassist Jay Anderson and drummer Jeff Hirschfield on music by those who’ve influenced him such as Carla Bley, Paul Motian, Annette Peacock, Andrew Hill, Maria Schneider and Maryanne de Prophetis.

Carla Bley’s Seven immediately sets the tone for the whole set – a simple, languid, out-of-tempo theme with attractive, perceptive work from the bassist. Gershwin’s lovely Here Come The Honey Man has a long intro which leads into development between piano and bass highlighting Anderson’s contribution, also a constantly chattering commentary from the drums anchors the whole piece.
Solstice by Maryanne de Prophetis is a pleasing song with a major/minor feel and a chord sequence reminiscent of Autumn Leaves and Peace Piece.   Flowing solos follow from piano and bass. Paul Motian’s The Sunflower has a short, angular theme of unexpected intervals leading to an accomplished drum solo leading to further “free-ish” contributions from the trio. Annette Peacock wrote Albert’s Love Theme for Albert Ayler which slowly and quietly meanders through a reflective, meditative piece. Frank’s own Question’s The Answer (ie the question IS the answer) has a vague connection to the blues. This cleverly thought-out piece floats in six-eight time through various key changes and still retains a clear “bluesy” feel at medium tempo. Andrew Hill’s From California With Love features an angular theme and much interplay between the trio in a ‘modern and free style’ with some lovely moments from bass and piano. Annette Peacock’s second song El Cordobes has an attractive melody with a strong Spanish influence. An appropriate bass solo leads to more piano/bass exploration with drums adding a note of urgency. Walking By Flashlight - Maria Schneider’s beautiful song - is given a touching performance. Frank really makes the piano ‘sing’ here and it’s an apt homage to the composer herself.
Throughout this album the playing is thoughtful, generally played at slow or languid tempo, venturing ‘outside’ at times with some almost telepathic interplay from all three musicians. To quote the promotional material “ the trio have created a graduated musical atmosphere that envelops the enigmatic and the translucent, the mysterious and the artlessly elegant.”     Yep…..!
Dave Brownlow.
Frank Kimbrough Trio CD  “SOLSTICE” Available on Pirouet Records   PIT 3097.

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