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Air Single

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Audio CD, Single, January 8, 2008
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 8, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Single
  • Label: Palmetto Records
  • ASIN: B0012F3OQO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #464,514 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. It should've happened a long time ago
2. Quickening
3. Coming On The Hudson
4. Air
5. Wig Wise
6. Three Chords
7. The Spins
8. Jackie-ing
9. Ca'lina

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In 2003 Matt Balitsaris, president and producer at Palmetto invited Frank Kimbrough to Palmetto's recording studio (Maggie's Farm) to test some modifications that had been made to our vintage Steinway piano. The first session consisted almost entirely of tunes by Monk and Annette Peacock. The second session took place in Spring of 2007 and included more of Frank's originals as well as compositions by Paul Motian, Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk. These sessions produced AIR : informal, mostly first takes, played in the comfortable confines of Maggie's Farm.


Frank Kimbrough has a great deal of experience playing solo piano; in the liner notes to his latest release he recalls a five-year stretch early in his career when the format sustained him. Yet somehow Air is his first solo album. Fittingly, rewardingly, it's a mature and personal reflection. Mr. Kimbrough divides his attentions here between his own tuneful work and a handful of semi-standards by Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington and Paul Motian. (That list is instructive, as is the album s dedication to the pianists Andrew Hill and Shirley Horn.) He approaches each theme with generosity and composure; he's more interested in lurking around a melody than in figure-skating over a harmony. Despite his percussive touch, he creates a sense of flow by letting chords chime, overlap and decay. The title track, obviously named after the most ethereal of elements, captures this feeling best. Mr. Kimbrough is ultimately more engaging, though, on material with some root-level relationship to the blues. He gets frisky on just a couple of originals, the stridelike Ca'lina and a modal waltz called The Spins, and imbues the rest of the album with a quietly rhapsodic tone. His readings of Monk's Coming On the Hudson and Jackie-ing, both resplendent in tensions, hint at an elusive mastery. The album's chief distraction, for some listeners, will be Mr. Kimbrough's flashes of deference to Mr. Hill, Paul Bley and even Keith Jarrett, who would surely hear some of himself in this version of an older original called Quickening. But these moments unfold with an appealing spirit of candor. Apparently Mr. Kimbrough would be the first to admit he didn t conjure his style, so to speak, out of thin air. NATE CHINEN, New York Times --New York Times

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Aaron Martin on April 13, 2008
Format: Audio CD
First off, let me say that I'm quite surprised I am reviewing this album before the peerless reviewer Jan P. Dennis, aka "longboardjazzer." Mr. Dennis, a tip of the hat to you and many thanks for all your thoughtful, spot-on reviews. This is my first review on Amazon, and there's no way that I can come close to reaching the literary heights which Mr. Dennis achieves in his reviews. However, I shall try, and I also hope to convey just how good this album is to those who've not heard it.

It was not "longboardjazzer" who first turned me on to the esteemed Frank Kimbrough... I have Ben Allison, Maria Schneider, the Jazz Composer's Collective, and a musician friend in my native Wilmington, NC to thank for that. If I had to sum up Kimbrough's first solo recording in one word, that word would probably be "ethereal" (as the album title might suggest). I'm simply blown away and profoundly moved by this recording, and more so with each successive listening.

A brief note on a few of the tracks. "It Should Have Happened a Long Time Ago" is a haunting and esoteric rendition of the Paul Motian tune from the ECM album of the same name. Kimbrough's take is as poignant as that of Motian, Lovano and Frisell's, with a floating yet foward-moving feel. "Quickening" needs no introduction to Kimbrough fans; suffice it to say that it's wonderful to hear a solo version of this bluesy, ambling (but by no means meandering) piece. I also love it how Kimbrough and the afore-mentioned Ben Allison often revisit previously-recorded tunes---it's wonderful to hear the artistic evolution. "Coming on the Hudson" has an urgency and a left-hand vamp that, to me, is slightly reminiscent of Vince Guardaldi. The title track is as light and effervescent as its name implies.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By the way I see it on July 30, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
At the age of 57, I am a latecomer to Frank Kimbrough, but as the saying goes, better late than never. What a joy his music is (at this point I only have this CD and one of his trio recordings)! I can understand why one reviewer, Jan Dennis "longboard jazz", rates Kimbrough at the THE very top of his list of favorite jazz pianists. I'm not there yet, but he is definitely a stunning talent. (What a joy it is to "discover" Kimbrough around the same time I am "discovering" Robert Glasper and Matthew Shipp!)

IMO, solo piano recordings are a very difficult art form, much more so than would appear at first glance. Lots have tried and most have not recorded anything that captures these ears. Bley has been among the most captivating; in fact, Bley is the ONLY jazz pianist whose solo work I consistently prefer over his ensemble recordings. Perhaps it is no surprise that Kimbrough excells as well, because Bley's influence is obvious, as Kimbrough himself acknowledges. Yet at the same time, Frank has his own totally unique style and sound. All those hours playing solo before unappreciative audiences and being underpaid at the same time have paid off big time!

This is a wonderful CD, and I am much more inclined to listen to Kimbrough play unaccompanied than someone such as Mehldau (whom I adore in trio formats.) I intend to gradually purchase everything Kimbrough has recorded, and I hope he will have the opportunity to put out more solo CDs. He is an amazing talent, and one of the few who can truly, truly excel in both an ensemble and solo format.

On an existential note, it is recordings like these that quite literally help me to hang in there, and for that, I owe Frank as well as a number of other musicians whose music serves as a healing balm a deep bow.
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By Amazon Customer on July 6, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Casualmente, al saber que en mi ciudad, Manizales, Colombia, se íba a llevar a cabo una vez más el campamento de Jazz que desde hace 3 años patrocina el Colombo Americano, y a la par se celebraría el Primer festival internacional de jazz universitaro, donde participarían grupos provenientes de las escuelas de Cincinatti, Baltimore, Manizales, y de Nueva York, representado por un grupo del Julliard, se invitaba también a un taller de improvisación dictado por el pianista Frank Kimbrough. Como no conocía al pianista, solicité a través de Amazon 2 cd, uno de ellos AIR y oh! sorpresa, que delicia de interpretación, había pulcritud, entrega, energía en cada uno de sus temas, con composiciones propias y de grandes como Ellington, Monk y Motian, Kimbrough nos conduce de lo etéreo a lo terrenal, con una facilidad propia de los Maestros, y, con un sonido cuidadosamente controlado por el sentimiento.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The music was very light but very sophisticated. This pianist is very similiar to Paul Bley. I would buy other cds by this pianist.
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2 of 9 people found the following review helpful By P. Venn-Watson on October 27, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I purchased the album based on hearing the Monk tune - absolutely beautiful and innovative. The first cut is reflectivd and very nice. The rest are middle of the road jazz - nothing special. To me, very disappointing. The talent is there, but I think the target audience, by design, is mainstream. Of course the mainstream won't like the Monk cut. Screwed again by the record companies. By that I mean you buy an album for one 3 plus minute cut and the remaining cuts you don't listen to. I'm really glad the record companies are in poor shape, as they've never cared about the consumer, only money. At 68 yrs. I can assure these money mongers that I've purchased over 1,000 albums and sever hundred CD's. I grit my teeth every time I find one or two cuts I like out of a whole album. Yes, the artists pander to this culture, but they have to make enough money to live. So I find it hard to blame them. They still have to travel to Europe make enough to survive. Too bad they can't make enough money to live off what's in their heart.

Jazz Enthusiast
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