Frank Kimbrough: piano; Jay Anderson: bass; Jeff Hirshfield: drums.
Frank Kimbrough is a fulfilling pianist, a precious element of the New York jazz scene, who deserves the accolade for his musical capabilities, shown both as a bandleader and sideman. His influences range from Keith Jarrett and Bill Evans to Paul Bley and Andrew Hill. Recognized bandleaders such as Maria Schneider, Dewey Redman, Michael Blake, Ted Nash, and Ben Allison, with whom he co-led the Herbie Nichols Project, elevated his pianistic talents within their own projects.
Solstice, Kimbrough’s first album on Pirouet after a longtime association with Palmetto, adopts the introspective moods of the Bill Evans trio as it explores the music of composers such as Maria Schneider, Annette Peacock, Andrew Hill, George Gershwin, Carla Bley, Paul Motian, and Maryanne de Prophetis.
Bley’s “Seven”, a pensive ballad that offers us a quasi-soluble melody over complacent, simplistic textures was the chosen tune to open the album.
The next move is no less than bewildering: “Here Come the Honey Man” is a Gershwin tune that doesn’t sound like Gershwin. The imminent electricity of Hirshfield’s cymbal work, together with Anderson’s encouraging bass lines, enriches the bandleader’s strong harmonic passages and contemplative lyricism.
The title track, composed by de Prophetis is a sluggish, dreamlike 3/4-meter piece that features Anderson’s bass solo.
With drums and bass solos right after the head as a special attraction, Motian’s “The Sunflower” reclines in the abstraction while Kimbrough’s unique composition, “Question’s the Answer”, is one of the most satisfying. It moves at a reverberant 6/8 time, guaranteeing inquisitiveness and expressiveness in considerable proportions. Clearly, the trio was more concerned with the overall sound they may extract than with any type of individual ride.
The recording’s couple last tunes deserve to be mentioned for their intensity and powerful interplay. “El Cordobes”, composed by Annette Peacock, was assembled with an incisive groove at the base, involving us with the stirring vibes poured from the interesting rhythmic and melodic ideas generated. Maria Schneider’s sweet ballad “Walking by Flashlights” opposes to the latter tune by irradiating warmth and serenity.
The untroubled condition in Solstice invites us to meditate, suggesting tolerance as it breathes comfortably at every note. It describes mostly peaceful atmospheres as it attempts to convey that the world and we are seen as one. This is a ruminative work that the ones looking for quality would be content to discover…
06 – Question’s the Answer ► 07 – El Cordobes ► 09 – Walking by Flashlights