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 love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.