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Frank Kimbrough - Solstice


Here Come The Honey Man


The Sunflower

Albert's Love Theme

Question's The Answer

From California With Love

El Cordobes

Walking By Flashlight

Frank Kimbrough (piano): Jay Anderson (bass): Jeff Hirshfield (drums)

Recorded May 2016, Sear Sound, NYC

PIROUET PIT3097 [56:04]

This is a particularly intriguing set. Pianist Frank Kimbrough has a number of trio recordings to his name but this one seems especially imbued with the spirit of limpid lyricism. There’s a textually deft sense of colour throughout and a barely sublimated romanticism that will appeal to those for whom the piano trio genre these days has become altogether too much of an artillery experience – all powerhouse and virtuoso chordal crash.

But there’s nothing supine or too becalmed about his trio’s approach to the repertoire. They take Carla Bley’s Seven and generate a burgeoning strength, the bass and drums becoming more assertive, colouring the piano’s thoughtful finesse-rich commentaries. Maryanne de Prophretis’ ballad Solstice, the title track, enshrines some rich harmonies and a yearning character its melodies decorously picked out and enriched by a rich-toned solo from Jay Anderson. Drummer Jeff Hirshfield and Anderson take centre-stage in Paul Motian’s The Sunflower where Kimbrough’s harmonies prove allusive. There is a definite spirit of the ruminative and pensive in Annette Peacock’s Albert’s Love Theme summoning up a sense of distilled atmosphere that is perfectly sustained. The only original is by Kimbrough, Question’s the Answer, and it evinces almost jaunty blues licks that expand the expressive reach of an album notable for its romantic affiliations, though after the songfully rich From California With Love, Peacock’s El Cordobes is jaunty and angular. Choosing a closer by Maria Schneider, the poet of the open expanses, was an excellent and perceptive move. Her ethos and that of Kimbrough mesh well and this piece is both romantically vivid and harmonically interesting, honouring the song’s liquid reverie with grace.

This trio is at the top of its game and has produced an album of the utmost refinement and poetic depth.

Jonathan Woolf

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