Honoring Frank Kimbrough with a Sprawling Tribute
Frank Kimbrough, who died last December at 64, was a seeker of musical intrigue and a source of musical truths. His presence in any situation was a catalyst, and he passed that spirit on to generations of younger players, including some of the finest around.
Last week, Newvelle Records paid an extravagant homage to this legacy with KIMBROUGH, a digital release featuring 67 musicians in ever-changing configurations, playing nearly 60 of Kimbrough's tunes. Our own Nate Chinen shared news of this album with an Arts feature in the New York Times, reported from the recording session.
So in this episode of The Checkout, we wanted to talk about this extraordinary body of work — an overdue celebration of Kimbrough's overlooked genius as a composer, a marvel of logistical planning, and a convocation made all the more poignant by a year and a half of pandemic restrictions.
We'll talk about Kimbrough's artistry and motivations, reflecting on some of the reasons why he never received his proper due. And we will pull the curtain back on the sessions, with excerpts of Nate's interviews with pianist and producer Elan Mehler, bassist Ben Allison, trumpeter Ron Horton and pianist Craig Taborn.