Members of The New York Jazz Collective regroup, this time under the leadership of pianist Frank Kimbrough. Accompanying Kimbrough are: Ben Allison; double bass and Jeff Ballard on drums. Kimbrough is a thinking man’s pianist. His approach and execution is often multicolored, sure-handed and luminous. The opener is Ornette Coleman’s “Feet Music” and oddly enough Kimbrough’s playing is reminiscent of a Junior Mance or a young Ramsey Lewis for that classic integration of funk-blues and jazz. The Trio gets right to it with a steady no nonsense approach. Good musical sense prevails. Here, Kimbrough expands upon the melody augmented by Allison’s deep, rich bass while Ballard effectively punches out the rhythm. Jimmy Giuffre’s “Phoenix” contains an engaging melody and Kimbrough displays a penchant for romanticism and subtle yet poignant phrasing. A stickler for detail, Kimbrough makes every note speak out in articulate fashion. Nice brushwork from drummer Ballard while! Allison’s elastic sounding double bass work maintains a rigid sense of structure and pulse. The Trio composition titled “Broadside” features Kimbrough running rampant with ideas while the rhythm section explores Latin and reggae beats. "Broadside” evolves into a mid-tempo swing romp while drummer Ballard does a commendable job of pushing and prodding his bandmates in classic “swing” fashion. Kimbrough’s composition “Ancestors” is a tour-de-force for the pianist who performs gorgeous melodies utilizing sweeping arpeggios and fluid single note runs. The intensity heightens when Kimbrough explores all registers and tonal ranges of his instrument while frequently suggesting thematic statements countering the apparent or obvious. Allison and Ballard are forceful and determined throughout and perform as a finely tuned rhythmic unit.
“Chant” is a fine recording and should satisfy jazz aficionados on many levels. This reviewer wouldn’t expect anything less from these consummate professionals.