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Kimbrough, Frank | Solstice | PIROUET | CD


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Frank Kimbrough – Solstice – PIROUET  Records 2016


Frank Kimbrough :piano                                                                                      frank_kimbrough_trio_academywebstore

Jay Anderson :bass

Jeff Hirshfield: drums                                                                            



Here Come the Honey Man


The Sunflower

Albert’s Love Theme

Question’s the Answer

From California with Love

El Cordobes

Walking by Flashlight


Finding one’s place on the post-Bill Evans, post-Paul Bley, post-[insert-pianist-of-exalted-artistic-magnitude] playing field of jazz can prove an enervating and demoralizing prospect for even an established purveyor of the ivories. So much precedence exists within the idiom that the task almost instantly becomes how to reconcile the weight of the canon with the freedom of personal expression. Frank Kimbrough’s been hewing a personal path over the past three decades through a strategy that combines reverence for things past with an integrity of intent in staying true to his muse. Solstice is his sixteenth album as a leader. All but one of the previous efforts were recorded over the last two decades, proving that paralysis isn’t a problem for him.

Kimbrough’s erudition and embrace of his instrument’s jazz history is immediately evident in the selection of tunes. Of the nine pieces, only one resides in his songbook. The others are less-obviously chosen chestnuts by a cadre of the music’s respected composers. Carla Bley’s “Seven” comes first in an absolutely gorgeous incarnation that emphasizes the merger of melody and melancholy at its core. Gershwin’s “Here Come the Honey Man” is from the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of temperament, but Kimbrough invests it too with a warm and enveloping emotionalism against the steady commentary of his colleagues. “Albert’s Love Theme” and “El Cordobes”, both by Annette Peacock, travel open-ended tributaries that run parallel to the Bley piece.

Bassist Jay Anderson and drummer Jeff Hirshfield are old hands that this sort of enterprise and each adjusts to Kimbrough’s patient, at times introspective approach to space and dynamics. Often their parts amount to careful shading and coloring of the pianist’s gilded chordal structures. That agreement of roles certainly rings true on the title piece, a pastoral tone poem that echoes the intimations of its title in a gently renewing and receding motif that feels at once inexorable and reassuringly simple in form. Paul Motian and Andrew Hill also receive nods through compositional selections with “The Sunflower” visiting the trio at its most visceral and untethered and “From California with Love” bringing the mood back to calm and restorative collective contemplation. The compositions may be mostly borrowed, but Kimbrough perseveres in that central tenet of jazz by placing his indelible personal stamp upon them.

Derek TaylorDustedMagazine

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