Frank Kimbrough, Quartet + Michael Blake, Tiddy Boom

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Tom Storer
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Frank Kimbrough, Quartet + Michael Blake, Tiddy Boom

Postby Tom Storer » November 3rd, 2014, 5:57 am

Back in the early 90's, pianist Frank Kimbrough and saxophonist Michael Blake were among the founding members of New York's Jazz Composers Collective. The Collective was active until 2005, organizing concerts and promoting the performance of original jazz compositions. (The other founders were bassist Ben Allison, trumpeter Ron Horton, and saxophonist Ted Nash.)

(Probably the highest visibility project they had was the Herbie Nichols Project, which took Nichols' compositions and arranged and performed them for a jazz group with horns, whereas Nichols only ever recorded them with his piano trio.)

The members have had full careers since then, but I haven't always kept up with them. So I was curious to hear two new CDs, Michael Blake's "Tiddy Boom" and Frank Kimbrough's "Quartet." Both of them are excellent.

"Quartet" features Kimbrough on piano, Steve Wilson on alto and soprano sax, Jay Anderson on bass and Lewis Nash on drums. Wilson has a supple sound and the rhythm partners are eloquent and highly interactive. The songs have lovely melodies, often creating a bittersweet mood. It's a beautiful, sophisticated set with roots in bebop and some of Keith Jarrett's quartet music, and with a touch of Ornette's plaintive sound and phrasing in the alto here and there. Wilson is particularly impressive with his great control and his passionate delivery.

"Tiddy Boom" also has Kimbrough at the piano, with Ben Allison on bass and Rudy Royston on drums. The title no doubt refers to the steady swing rhythm that Lester Young preferred, "tiddy boom" as opposed to the irregular, surprising bass drum accents beboppers called "dropping bombs." ("Don't drop me no bombs," he is said to have requested of drummers, "Just give me some tiddy boom.") And indeed the album clearly pays hommage to both Young and Coleman Hawkins with Blake's own compositions. But whereas Blake mines the tradition convincingly, he has a freewheeling personality of his own and so this is not a tame rehash by any means. He's a virtuoso tenor player and serves up exciting, sensual playing on compositions the quartet can dig into.
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pig pen
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Re: Frank Kimbrough, Quartet + Michael Blake, Tiddy Boom

Postby pig pen » November 3rd, 2014, 8:58 am

I just received the Blake CD a few days ago, (MB is on my "buy all releases with him on it" list). Definitely enjoying it a lot.

I haven't picked up the Kimbrough release yet, thanks for the reminder.
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Re: Frank Kimbrough, Quartet + Michael Blake, Tiddy Boom

Postby jwaggs » February 7th, 2015, 9:13 pm

Claude, I'm with you on Blake.

Wish we could get Frank here doing the "ask musician" thread like he did at the old place

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