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 band. "Continued Obscurity" features tenorist Glen Berger in a serpentine solo. Richmond opts for low brass and reeds solos on "Precious Promises," which has Bob Carr on bassoon and Bruce Fowler on trombone.
Pianist and arranger Bob Florence lends his considerable talent to the lengthiest piece of the record, a fantasia on "You Must Believe in Spring," and is given a broad latitude for soloing with alto saxophonist Jeff Driskill and trumpeter Ron King also contributing bright solos. "Stella By Starlight" is plush with Joey Seller’s informed trombone solo. The hoot of the disc is ten minutes of "Tumbling Tumbleweeds." Almost everyone gets into the action on this cleverly orchestrated and very unlikely jazz standard. Following a lengthy brass and reeds introduction, the bass introduces us to a swinging, slightly off-kilter take on this Bob Nolan classic. Glen Berger again solos on tenor saxophone, as does trumpeter Clay Jenkins and leader Kim Richmond.
It is difficult to dislike big band music as finely crafted as this. If you're looking for Basie or Ellington, look elsewhere. Otherwise, if you seek something a little bit different, this disc might just be for you.
Track Listing: Continued Obscurity; Precious Promises; You Must Believe In Spring; Variations; Franz; Stella By Starlight; 3
Refractions; Tumbling Tumbleweeds; America The Beautiful.
Personnel: Leader, Conductor, Alto/Soprano Saxophones: Kim Richmond; Woodwinds: Jeff Driskill, Phil Feather, Glen
Berger, John Yoakum, Bob Carr; Trumpet, Flugelhorn: Mike Mcguffey, Ron King, Steve Huffesteter, Clay Jenkins;
French Horns: John Dickson, Paul Loredo Or Jean Marinelli; Trombones: Bruce Fowler, Joey Sellers Or Bill Tole,
George Mcmullen; Bass Trombone: Morris Repass; Tuba, Voice: Bill Roper; Guitar: Tom Hynes; Piano: Rich
Eames; Basses: Trey Henry, Ken Wild; Drums: Ralph Razze; Hand Percussion: Brad Dutz; Mallet Percussion
(Vibes, Timps, Orchestra Bells, Chimes): David Johnson; Guest Piano Solo: Bob Florence.
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
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