FRANK KIMBROUGH Rumors (Palmetto)
North Carolina-born pianist Frank Kimbrough is renowned for his work as a member, since 1993, of the Maria Schneider Orchestra and as a core member of the Jazz Composers Collective, founded in 1992. For Rumors, Kimbrough is joined by bassist Masa Kamaguchi and drummer Jeff Hirshfield. One day last September, the pianist/ composer accepted an impromptu invitation to record with Jimmy Katz (who is best known as a photographer). The trio met at Avatar Studios in New York and played for three hours; this album is the result. “At a time when so much is planned, contrived, or preconceived, this session was simply a three-way musical conversation between friends, with no agenda other than to play music together,” Kimbrough says in the liner notes. The title track shows some serious chemistry by the trio members, although the generally rubato music is often more suggestive than demonstrative. “Hope” is gorgeous, if placid, chamber jazz. The bolder “Sure as We’re Here” finds Kimbrough athletic and imaginative, Kamaguchi active over the range of his instrument, and Hirshfield generating a quiet stew of timekeeping and improvisation. Kimbrough demonstrates an orchestral technique on “Over” as he builds the music to something far-out. “For Andrew,” an elegiac piece for the late pianist Andrew Hill, would have been more splendid if it were knottier and not simply gorgeous.
— Paul Weideman