Monday, November 21, 2016
Music for Giving Thanks (1)
Happily, we have music, music that transports us beyond the everyday, tamping down hurt and allowing one to breathe ((if only for the time the songs are playing). Yes, some music can build barriers, construct walls that shut certain age groups and ethnicities out but those albums are not up for review this week.
Along the way, the trio explores music by Paul Motian ("The Sunflower"), George Gershwin ("Here Comes The Honey Man"), Andrew Hill ("From California With Love"), Carla Bley ("Seven"), Maria Schneider ("Walking by Flashlight"), and two by Annette Peacock ("Albert's Love Theme" and "El Cordobes"). The presence of the songs by Ms. Bley and Ms. Peacock not only point to their excellence as composers but also the influence of the late Paul Bley (who had been married to both) on Kimbrough. Both Anderson and Hirschfield solo on the Motian song, a piece that flows rather than swings, showing the influence of Keith Jarrett on the composer's writing (although one could argue that they influenced each other). The pianist writes that it was a live reading of "....Honey Man" by pianist Shirley Horn that inspired his version. The drummer sets up a steady pace on the cymbals and snare drum while Kimbrough and Anderson create a conversation that moves in and around each other's phrases. The original track, "Question's the Answer", has a bluesy feel but, like it's title suggest, the musicians are on a "quest", not so much searching for perfection as it is the trio enjoying the journey (over and over).
Sit down with "Solstice", allow the sounds free rein in your mind, and you just might enjoy the contentment that comes from listening to three musicians explore their own curiosity. The music created by Frank Kimbrough, along with Jay Anderson and Jeff Hirschfield, might not change the outside world but offers an oasis in a what might feel like a wasteland.
For more information, go to home.earthlink.net/~fkimbrough/.
Here's the title track:
After graduation, Ms. Lovell-Smith moved to Mexico with her now husband Christohper Ramos Flores. While there, she worked on her music and did some performing - the results are "Yellow Red Blue" (Paintbox Records), seven original composition and a splendid reading of Joni Mitchell's "I Had a King", performed by her group Towering Poppies. The Quintet features pianist Cat Toren and drummer Kate Gentile, both back from the earlier recording, plus bassist Adam Hopkins and bass clarinetist Josh Sinton. The blend of the two reed instruments along with the poetic work of the pianist and the sympathetic rhythm section is a joy to hear from the opening seconds of the opening track, "The Pillow Book." Notice the push of the bass and drums, not hurried but still with a sense of urgency. With the soprano sax rising over the solid piano chords then stepping aside for a more powerful bass clarinet statement, the song continues to build all the way through until the opening theme is repeated.
"Yellow Red Blue" is certainly color-filled music, the deep blues of the several cuts interspersed with the brighter hues of the opening track and the red tones of the setting sun that inhabit the ballads. Much of this music has a quality of late afternoon/early evening when the colors of the day change, seemingly every minute. Jasmine Lovell-Smith gives us beauty at a time when it seems to be most needed; however, music this good is welcome any time.
For more information, go to www.jasminelovellsmith.com.
Here's a track from the new album: