US pianist Frank Kimbrough, known for his longstanding work with Maria Schneider, has died

Media in the US have reported the death of pianist and composer Frank Kimbrough. He was 64 and the cause of death was due to a heart attack. A pianist with the Maria Schneider Orchestra for a quarter of a century a span that included his having …

Published: 31 Dec 2020. Updated: 16 days.

Media in the US have reported the death of pianist and composer Frank Kimbrough. He was 64 and the cause of death was due to a heart attack. A pianist with the Maria Schneider Orchestra for a quarter of a century a span that included his having appeared on the recently acclaimed album Data Lords, Kimbrough also stacked up a lengthy discography of well received records under his own name. His monumental take on Monk titled Monk's Dreams for instance generated a lot of interest when it came out in 2018.

Kimbrough's fellow pianist Ethan Iverson has paid tribute on his blog Do the Math: ''Frank was part of the Jazz Composers Collective, a group with Ben Allison, Ted Nash, and others. They programmed original music at a series held at the Greenwich House Music School. One of the best sets of the many I heard there in the 90s was a trio with Frank, Ben Allison, and Jeff Ballard. The opening piece was unforgettable, where Frank offered some bluesy triadic piano riffs before the bass and drums came in with controlled chaos.

''After Paul Bley died, I organized a memorial concert on the Greenwich House Music School stage. Frank was the Paul Bley expert, and he showed up with a stack of Annette Peacock music. In a way I wish I had made the concert more about playing those Peacock and Carla Bley melodies; some of the best stuff that night was simply Frank reading through 'Nothing Ever Matters, Anyway' and 'Butterflies' at the soundcheck.''

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Muriel Grossmann, Quiet Earth

I'm late to Muriel Grossmann, only discovering the saxophonist-composer's earlier albums far too late for a topical review but pretty much liking what I could meaningfully glean. My first thoughts turning to Quiet Earth, which is very much part of …

Published: 31 Dec 2020. Updated: 17 days.

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I'm late to Muriel Grossmann, only discovering the saxophonist-composer's earlier albums far too late for a topical review but pretty much liking what I could meaningfully glean. My first thoughts turning to Quiet Earth, which is very much part of an ongoing artistic mission by the saxist, are that if you like Manchester saxophonist Nat Birchall you'll probably immediately get this Austrian as she compares favourably. Both fine players swim in the same spiritual, Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, waters and know how to conjure a world that is far bigger than themselves.

Quiet Earth was recorded in Ibiza and with Grossmann are guitarist Radomir Milojkovic, organist Llorenç Barceló, bassist Gina Schwarz and drummer Uros Stamenkovic. The guitar flavours are typically delta bluesy in flavour and can on opener 'Wien' divert away from the core sound. There is room for lots of deviation because the organ solo is more mainstream than what you might expect and bumps along agreeably enough.

Grossmann has a very strong communicative sound and the clarion call of her initial statements on 'African Call' are positive and stirring. Tunes are by Grossmann and they make sense. 'Peaceful River''s altered tuning is a good contrast and shifts harboured assumptions as to possible direction completely away into another space. The album is particularly good at putting up roadblocks to prevent any tendency towards second-guessing.

The title track sequenced last has a cymbal-coloured beginning and again an altered tonal saltiness to it when the sax enters, the Grossmann lead more experimental and rudimental and this is where the saxist is at her most interesting and inspiring. Overall a persuasive approach and a record worth getting to know straight away especially if you are a committed Coltranian and yearn to hear a contemporary and imaginative treatment of the building blocks that derive from that world shattering creativeness. SG

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