Skip to main content

Best recent jazz releases: Frank Kimbrough, Al Di Meola, Jean Luc-Ponty, Stanley Clarke and others

The late piano man Frank Kimbrough returns. True Genius Ivo Perelman returns with a 12-CD box set of duets. Superstars collide at Montreux: Al Di Meola/Jean Luc-Ponty/Stanley Clarke. Drummer/Composer Ernesto Cervini makes his masterpiece. Lastly, a sextet known as Triio.

Get select jazz vinyl and more from the Goldmine shop!

   

The world lost a guiding light when pianist/composer/educator Frank Kimbrough passed away in 2020 at a mere 64. Now Palmetto Records has posthumously released two of his trio albums in the double-disc 

Frank Kimbrough

Frank Kimbrough 2003-2006. Both are remixed/remastered. Lullabluebye, in ’03, with bassist Ben Allison and drummer Matt Wilson, starts with the title track, a 22-bar blues. “Ode” is a tribute to avant-garde pianist Andrew Hill [1931-2007]. The highlight, though, has to be John Barry’s theme to 1967’s James Bond film You Only Live Twice, done as a bossa-nova ballad.
     Play, three years later, with unknown bassist Masa Kamaguchi and legendary drummer Paul Motian [1931-2011], has a waltz (“The Spins”) in tribute to saxophonist Steve Lacy [1934-2019]. It opens and closes with “Beginnings,” first as a trio and then as a piano-bass duo. The 10 tracks include two by Motian: “Play” from his 1996 Sound Of Love and “Conception Vessel” from his 1973 album of the same name.

Frank Kimbrough courtesy Ann Braithwaite

Frank Kimbrough courtesy Ann Braithwaite

Ivo

     Attention! Genius In Our Midst! It is imperative to report on anything that Brazilian tenor sax man Ivo Perelman ever does. The man who can see sound and hear colors has embarked on his most ambitious project yet in a lifetime of ambitious projects. Reed Rapture In Brooklyn is a boxed set overflowing with 12 CDs of duets with other notable reed players like David Liebman, David Murray, Joe Lovano, James Carter, Tim Berne, Roscoe Mitchell, Joe McPhee, Vinny Golia, Jon Irabagon, Ken Vandermark, Colin Stetson and Lotte Anker. It’s a reed summit with most of the assembled stars having only met for the first time minutes before the recording of these spontaneous improvisations. No rules. No written music. No harmonic or melodic structure. Just free-flowing ideas. The amazing part of it all is that it works spectacularly well. Accessible. Entertaining. Complex. Engaging. Famed documentarian Don McGlynn will unveil a new doc on the making of this incredible box. Reed Rapture In Brooklyn, the movie, will debut next year at major film festivals worldwide.

A Man Named Ivo by Celso Oliveira

A Man Named Ivo by Celso Oliveira

Rite Of Strings

     Rite Of Strings: Live at The Montreux Jazz Festival 1994 (Mercury Studios), for the first time on CD, pits three brilliant musician icons in a rare no-drums format. The spectral presence of Chick Corea hovers over these proceedings as guitarist extraordinaire Al Di Meola joins “The Jimi Hendrix of the Violin” Jean-Luc Ponty and super-bassist Stanley Clarke on this nine-gem two-disc exercise in ultimate chemistry despite Ponty having never before performed with Di Meola.
     Corea/Clarke’s 1978 “Song To John” is in the key of Coltrane. (It’s reprised with pianist Monty Alexander joining the trio.) Ponty’s 1983 “Eulogy To Oscar Romero,” off his Individual Choice album, honors the assassinated Archbishop who spoke out against social injustice. Di Meola’s exquisite “Chilean Pipe Song” fuses South American folk music with free-form flights of solo acoustic guitar dexterity that’s positively dizzying.

ErnestoCervini Joy WEB

     Joy (Three Pines Records), by Canadian drummer/composer Ernesto Cervini, is an ambitious project with a cast of 16 based on a series of detective novels by Louise Penny. It features ensemble swinging, outrageous soloing, vocals (for the first time on any of his albums) and all three of Cervini’s bands. The 15 tracks also contain solo excursions for piano and alto sax. Apparently, there is no limit to Cervini’s constantly evolving creativity.

Triio

     Six-ish Plateaus (Elastic Recordings), by Triio, is an energizing, elliptical, mysterious, marvelous and wondrous recording that sounds like nothing else ever. First of all, it’s not a trio. It’s a sextet of two reeds, guitar, vibraphone, drums and bass. The brainchild of bassist Alex Fournier, a Toronto shape-shifter between jazz and classical, he’s in numerous bands that traverse a geography of sound. Here, he lets his bandmates shine on his six compositions with soundtrack propensities. You can make up your own movie to this music. Naomi McCarroll-Butler, on clarinet, bass clarinet and alto sax is the star. But her supporting cast is ever free-flowing, friendly and filled with effervescent ideas and no known boundaries. Triio is, in a word, engaging.