Frank Kimbrough Trio – Live At Kitano – Palmetto Records PM2161, 60:43 ****:
(Frank Kimbrough – piano; Jay Anderson – bass; Matt Wilson – drums)
Frank Kimbrough has been one of those consistently adventurous pianists who found his footing back in the 1990s and who was able to combine convention and originality in his playing. With this live release by his trio, he again demonstrates that he is a musician who should not be ignored or underestimated.
Preferring to work in an unrehearsed and unstructured setting, the trio runs through a set list of originals and standards that relies on the band’s considerate and open-minded partnership to deliver a sound-garden of original ideas. The three Kimbrough originals, “Helix”, “Falling Waltz” and “Hymn” cannot be easily categorized. There is a somewhat morose underpinning to the first offering, while the second composition is more unrestrained yet does not lose its focus. The final composition maybe the most accessible as it has a readily identifiable bluesy appeal. Throughout the three pieces, Kimbrough’s playing is edgily resourceful and he receives thoughtful support from the adaptable bass of Jay Anderson and the uncluttered style of drummer Matt Wilson.
Oscar Pettiford’s “Blues In The Closet” swings right along with its own unadorned dynamics and gives drummer Matt Wilson plenty of solo space in which to shine. In 1958, Duke Ellington wrote The Queen’s Suite for Queen Elizabeth II from which “Single Petal Of a Rose” is a singular feature. Kimbrough and the trio offer a heartfelt rendition that captures the composer’s intention in all its frailty. Jimmy Davis, Ram Ramirez and James Sherman wrote “Lover Man” in 1941 for Billie Holiday and her version was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1989. In the liner notes, Kimbrough indicates that the tune has long been one of his favorites and it shows. His stylish and delicate version is enhanced by the brilliant and reflective bass playing of Jay Anderson.
This is an affirmative album from an knowledgeable and expressive pianist.
TrackList: Helix; Blues In The Closet; Arabesque; Dusk; Single Petal Of A Rose; Falling Waltz; Lover Man; Hymn
This is a delightful holiday collection.