Ron Brendle may not be a household word in New York, Chicago, or West Coast jazz clubs, but he is regarded as the leading bassist in the vicinity of Charlotte, North Carolina. Brendle has been the recipient of several awards in this regard and has collaborated with pianist Frank Kimbrough, another North Carolina native, on several albums over the past few years. This new release, although recorded in 2002, is their fourth effort on Brendle's own LoNote label.
Photograph consists of seven compositions by Frank Kimbrough and Ornette Coleman, with one tune by Brendle. Kimbrough, who has a lengthy recording history as leader and sideman, is known as a player who is comfortable with both mainstream and outside jazz. The presentation of alternate compositions by Kimbrough and Coleman offers an interesting contrast. On "Affirmation" and "Southern Lights" the pianist is firmly engaged in modal, introspective trio jazz, while "Centering" has a bit of a Monkish influence.
On the other hand, Coleman's "Comme Il Faut" and the lengthy "Broken Shadows" present a more fragmented melody. On the latter tune, Kimbrough's playing evolves into a Paul Bley-like piano solo over the course of the eleven-minute track. Although Ron Brendle reports that the music of Paul Bley and Ornette Coleman were the chief inspirations for this album, most of the flavor of Photograph is squarely in Bill Evans territory.
It is also obvious that these three musicians have a longstanding musical relationship and a shared intuition. Ron Brendle gets several opportunities for solos and otherwise anchors the trio with a steady pulse.