Frank Kimbrough

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Frank Kimbrough - Piano, Composer

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Pianist/composer FRANK KIMBROUGH has been active on New York’s jazz scene for 25 years. He is currently a Palmetto recording artist, having previously recorded as a leader for OmniTone, Soul Note, Igmod, and Mapleshade. Frank is a founding member and composer-in-residence of the Jazz Composers Collective (est. 1992), and has participated in 20 different groups associated with that organization. He is also otherwise in demand as a sideman, and is currently appearing with the Maria Schneider Orchestra and with saxophonist Dewey Redman’s quartet, among many others. Frank’s playing has been recognized by his inclusion in the Downbeat Critics Poll each since 2001.

Kimbrough’s involvement in the Collective, with its 11-year-long concert series, diverse recording projects and frequent touring, has fostered several of Kimbrough’s groups: trios with bassist Ben Allison and drummer Matt Wilson (Lullabluebye, on Palmetto), or Allison and Jeff Ballard (Quickening, a live JCC concert recording on OmniTone), his duo with vibraphonist Joe Locke (Saturn’s Child and The Willow, both on OmniTone); and his Noumena group with saxophonist Scott Robinson, guitarist Ben Monder and drummer Tony Moreno (Noumena, also a JCC concert recording on Soul Note). Kimbrough’s work as a composer has been supported by funding from Meet the Composer and from Chamber Music America’s Doris Duke Jazz Ensembles Project among others.

In 1995 Frank was awarded a Jazz Performance Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts for his work on Herbie Nichols’ music, which had begun in 1985. The Jazz Composers Collective's Herbie Nichols Project, with Kimbrough and Ben Allison as co-leaders, and a rotating cast of drummers and horn players usually involving Ron Horton and Michael Blake. The HNP has toured the U.S., Canada, Brazil, France, Portugal, Wales, Netherlands, Azores, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, and England, and has documented its work with three critically acclaimed CDs, with the first two (Love Is Proximity and Dr. Cyclops’ Dream) on Soul Note Records, and its most recent, Strange City, on Palmetto. Kimbrough has
written about Nichols' life and work for the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, and with Ben Allison, contributed liner notes to The Complete Blue Note Recordings of Herbie Nichols.

As an integral part of most of the Collective’s groups, Frank works closely with the other composers-in-residence, touring and recording with Ben Allison’s Medicine Wheel and Peace Pipe groups; Ted Nash’s Still Evolved Quintet and Double Quartet, Ron Horton’s Quartet and Septet, Michael Blake’s Elevated Quartet, Free Association, and Eulipion Orchestra. Besides co-leading the Herbie Nichols Project, he has participated in other Collective endeavors focusing on the music of Andrew Hill, Lucky Thompson and Lennie Tristano; and he’s played on concerts and recordings by some of the Collective’s guest composers including Eddie Gale, Joe Locke, Ed Neumeister and Jon Gordon. Outside the JCC, Kimbrough’s also a sought-after sideman, performing or recording with saxophonists Dewey Redman, Rick Margitza, Rich Perry, and Lee Konitz; trumpeter Dave Ballou, and vocalists Kendra Shank, Luciana Souza, Judi Silvano, Katie Bull and others.

Kimbrough has held down the piano chair in the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra since 1993, performing in the U.S., Macao, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Spain, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, France, England and Finland, all in addition to its five-year (1993-98) Monday night residency at Visiones in New York’s Greenwich Village. He is prominently featured on Schneider’s Grammy-winning CD Concert In The Garden, and also appears on her three previous albums: Coming About, Days Of Wine And Roses: Live at Jazz Standard, and Allegresse.

From 1996 – 2001, Kimbrough served on the adjunct faculty of New York University's Department of Performing Arts Professions, where he taught applied jazz piano, jazz piano classes, improvisation, and led two student ensembles. Residencies and workshops include the Paris Conservatory (with Maria Schneider), Oxford University (England) and The New School University (with the Jazz Composers Collective), Berklee College of Music, Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, Indiana State University, the University of Iowa, the University of North Florida, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, among others.