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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Kim Richmond Concert Jazz Orchestra: Artistry

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"A Tribute to the Music of ..." That's a phrase encountered regularly when one surveys today's recorded efforts--jazz and otherwise. A number of factors might be the motivation: there's a tremendous legacy of 20th century music (and legacy is usually bankable), or, perhaps, there isn't enough bankable current music. Either way, looking in the rearview mirror isn't too bad an idea.With Artistrythe tribute is to one of the most innovative bandleaders in jazz, Stan Kenton. However, while that's certainly noteworthy (especially coming off the recent Kenton centennial), there's much more here than memories. Augmenting the traditional big-band structure ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Kim Richmond Concert Jazz Orchestra: Artistry

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On Artistry, the Kim Richmond Concert Jazz Orchestra pays homage to one of Richmond's former employers, the legendary Stan Kenton, not by rehashing music performed by the Kenton Orchestra--no matter how forward-leaning that may have been--but rather by renovating a few themes associated with Kenton (and quite a few others that weren't) in the manner in which Stan conceivably might have approached them if he were alive today. Among the album's dozen tracks are three that are explicitly bound to Kenton: “Intermission Riff," “The Peanut Vendor," and his venerable theme song, “Artistry in Rhythm," which raises the curtain on this ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kim Richmond Ensemble: Live at Cafe Metropol

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Returning for his third release on the Origin label, Grammy-nominated composer/arranger/saxophonist Kim Richmond leads his ensemble in a dynamic performance at the Café Metropol in downtown Los Angeles, representing the ensemble's first live album.

Recorded in March, 2007, the Kim Richmond Ensemble is essentially a sextet where the piano duties are shared by Rich Eames and Brian Friedland. The group performs two original Richmond compositions--"Seagate 1 and “Fuzzy Wuzzy. --and Clay Jenkins' “In Fine Line, with the balance of the repertoire devoted to familiar standards given new and sophisticated interpretations through Richmond's rearrangements.

Four ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kim Richmond/Clay Jenkins Ensemble: CrossWeave

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CrossWeave 's opener, Troubleshooter," drives in on a tight rhythm groove that leads into some clean three horn harmony by trumpeter Clay Jenkins, alto saxophonist Kim Richmond, and tenor sax man Rich Perry, with a sound that harkens back to the classic Blue Note Records days, some of those classic sets by Lee Morgan and Art Blakey. A tight, shining ensemble mode with sharp soloing all around. CrossWeave is the third disc by the Richmond/Jenkins team, and it acts as a followup of sorts for Richmond's Grammy-nominated big band workout, Refractions, from last year. Richmond and Jenkins lead ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kim Richmond Concert Jazz Orchestra: Refractions

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...a lush cinematic soundscape...

Kim Richmond is a Left Coast saxophonist and arranger who has won his bread performing in pop-oriented settings. Well respected and sought after, Richmond has made several recordings as a leader. On Refractions, he opts for an impressionistic/expressionistic big band sound, music that ebbs and flows, demanding the attention of the listener. There are no mindless blues here.

Refractions is composed of nine originals and standards that are handled in an opaque and abstract manner. The results are lush indeed. Richmond’s two opening compositions illustrate his unique and intentional approach to introspective big ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kim Richmond Concert Jazz Orchestra: Refractions

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The twenty-four piece Kim Richmond Concert Jazz Orchestra boasts a full roster of instrumentation, including double reeds and French horns, for a sound that is somewhat rare in the professional jazz world, but familiar to anyone guiding a child through a high school music program with a “concert band." Lush and multi-layered, Refractions contains a full range of color and emotion.The word "symphonic" comes to mind with so many deftly-woven textures underlying the free-swinging improvisations; the classical ideas married to jazz spontaneity; and the tunes laid down live, no overdubs, retaining their feel of freshness and freedom. Saxophonist ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Kim Richmond Concert Jazz Orchestra: Refractions

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Refractions is a beautiful album, one in which almost everything composer/arranger Kim Richmond touches turns to gold. From one who was largely unimpressed by the Concert Jazz Orchestra's previous endeavors, that's saying a lot. But I'm only too happy to change course and sprinkle praise where it is due. If every album by a “concert orchestra" were as picturesque and persuasive as this one, I'd not hesite to give all of 'em an emphatic thumbs up. That's not usually the case, however. Too often, it seems, the composer/arranger is more eager to flaunt his/her mastery of the idiom than to ...



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