North-American jazz pianist, composer and educator Frank Kimbrough was born November 2, 1956 in Roxboro, North Carolina and has been playing piano since before he can remember, and received influential piano instruction from an early age. His foundation in classical music studies grounded him in strong technique and profoundly influenced his open musical tastes. After leaving college, he formed his first trio and set out in pursuit of real world musical opportunities, first in Chapel Hill, and then in Washington, D.C. In Washington he met Shirley Horn, who became an enthusiastic supporter and mentor. He worked there with his trio and as a sideman with Maurice Robertson, Buck Hill, Paul Horn, Anthony Braxton and Webster Young. Arriving at New York in the fall of 1981, he sought out pianists Paul Bley and Andrew Hill, both unique artists who helped him hone his artistic identity. In 1985, he won the Great American Jazz Piano Competition at the Jacksonville Jazz Festival. The next year, on Shirley Horn’s recommendation, he made his first recordings and since then has recorded twenty albums as a leader or co-leader.
Frank was a founding member and composer-in-residence of the Jazz Composers Collective (1992 – 2005), and played and recorded in nearly twenty of its associated groups, such as Ben Allison’s Medicine Wheel and Peace Pipe groups; Ted Nash’s Still Evolved Quintet and Double Quartet, Ron Horton’s Quartet and Septet, and Michael Blake’s Elevated Quartet, Free Association, and Eulipion Orchestra. Besides co-leading the Herbie Nichols Project with Ben Allison (with which he was present in Angrajazz 2004), he 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, Ed Neumeister and Jon Gordon.
As a duet partner, he’s been paired with Lee Konitz, Norma Winstone, Paul Bley, Joe Locke, Noah Preminger, Scott Robinson, and Ben Allison, among others and also has performed or recorded with saxophonists Dewey Redman, Rick Margitza, Rich Perry, and Noah Preminger, trumpeter Dave Ballou, bassist Ron Brendle, drummer Tony Moreno, and vocalists Kendra Shank, Maryanne de Prophetis, Judi Silvano, Katie Bull, and others. He has played in Ryan Truesdell’s Gil Evans Centennial Project since its inception in 2010. He is a member of Maria Schneider Orchestra since 1993.
Frank’s playing has been recognized by his inclusion in the Downbeat Critics Poll each year since 2001, and his recordings are often included in jazz critics’ year’s-end top-ten lists.