Frank Kimbrough & Joe Locke: Saturn's Child

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No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Saturn's Child is one of several new releases brought to you by the brand new modern jazz-based "Omni Tone" label. Smart packaging, insightful liners and premium sound quality come to the forefront along with two splendid new releases by members of the "red-hot"New York Jazz Composers Collective. Along with trumpeter Ron Horton's Genius Envy (see Nov '99 AAJ review) we are enamored with the absolutely stunning duet performances by much in demand vibraphonist Joe Locke and a man who seemingly possesses the skilled hands of a surgeon behind the keys, pianist Frank Kimbrough.

Saturn's Child is a striking foray into supremely intuitive interplay and lush melodicism via charming and bittersweet phraseology coupled with the duo's sensitivity, compassion and mutual "musical" respect for one another which is evident from the opening moments of Frank Kimbrough's composition, "727". Light, airy thematic statements by Locke who is rapidly becoming one of the top session musicians in jazz besides a successful solo career rides the crest of the wave atop Kimbrough's rhythmically inclined left-hand chord voicings. Here and throughout, Kimbrough and Locke engage their thoughts and demonstrate uncanny synergy as they delicately articulate sleek, smooth passages which are at times, somber, pensive and in many instances, spiritually uplifting. Joe Locke's "Saturn's Child" features a poignant yet zestful theme through clear well stated unison lines as if the song was truly intended to be a bedtime lullaby. Locke's serene "Trouble Is A Gorgeous Dancer" features a catchy melody all with a touch of class and finesse as the gentlemen alternate solo chores while ultimately converging to restate the endearing and quite memorable theme. Here, the recurring motif serves as a bridge for Kimbrough's inspiring and somewhat ethereal ruminations, displaying artful use of harmonics, tremolo and conveying somewhat of a majestic presence. These men perform as though they were seeking that ever elusive - "pot of gold", mainly from a musical and/or artistic standpoint. Perfection seems attainable on Saturn's Child as the story evolves on Kimbrough's "Waltz For Lee" while the duo create an affable, positive groove over a simple waltz motif. Lush romanticism on "Empty Chalice" and - ever so soft - poetry in motion on the light-as-a feather ballad "I Still Believe (In Love)" are magnetically appealing and further indicate the duo's powerful compositional skills. Accolades aside, Saturn's Child may be the logical heir to Chick Corea and Gary Burton's momentous and critically acclaimed "Crystal Silence" outing on the ECM label. Kimbrough and Locke have created a sparkling gem here... Saturn's Child is music of a higher order, a colossal effort!! Highly Recommended...

OmniTone Web:

Record Label: OmniTone

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream

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