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 circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.