Frank Kimbrough: Wig Wise


Wig Wise


Frank Kimbrough (piano)


Air (Palmetto PM 2127)

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Frank Kimbrough (piano).

Composed by Duke Ellington


Recorded: Maggie's Farm Recording Studios, Bucks County, PA, July 20, 2003 and March 20, 2007


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

By Frank Kimbrough's own admission, Air is the fortuitous result of an informal get-together, apparently instigated by producer Matt Balitsaris, to test out some newly acquired sound equipment and a reworked vintage Steinway piano at the Palmetto studios. After letting some of the original material sit for almost four years, a second recording date was planned, and the resulting music is a testament to, as Kimbrough states, "in the moment" playing. I am especially drawn to his beautifully, fully realized performance of Duke Ellington's "Wig Wise." Kimbrough's carefully thought-out phrasing and sparse but harmonically illuminating approach result in an almost Monk-like rendering of a masterful composition that perhaps needed this "less is more" approach to bring it to light. When Duke played it on Money Jungle, he was driven by the energetic and probing rhythm section of Max Roach and Charles Mingus. Here, without the aide of such a stellar supporting cast but with a refreshingly minimalist approach, Kimbrough makes this Ellington classic admirably his own. As pianist with Maria Schneider's big band, Kimbrough is no stranger to the jazz world. But this work should expose his talent to a wider audience.

Reviewer: Ralph A. Miriello

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