The twenty-four piece Kim Richmond Concert Jazz Orchestra boasts a full roster of instrumentation, including double reeds and French horns, for a sound that is somewhat rare in the professional jazz world, but familiar to anyone guiding a child through a high school music program with a "concert band." Lush and multi-layered, Refractions contains a full range of color and emotion.
The word "symphonic" comes to mind with so many deftly-woven textures underlying the free-swinging improvisations; the classical ideas married to jazz spontaneity; and the tunes laid down live, no overdubs, retaining their feel of freshness and freedom. Saxophonist Kim Richmond fits into the Gil Evans/Bill Holman/Don Sebesky school of expansive arrangement, and Refractions can sit on the shelf alongside anything those giants have done.
The Victor Young classic "Stella by Starlight" opens with a fanfare-ish trumpet leading into the familiar melody floating on a woodwind cloud, until it gets tethered down by the gravitational tug of Joey Sellers' trombone solo. The the Richmond-penned "Franz" (based on the first four notes of Franz Schubert's "Seranade," sounds classical, underlaid with an exotic rhythmic groove.
"Fantasy on You Must Believe in Spring" unfolds with a swirling-yet-subtle grandeur supplied by a pastel wash of flute, French horn and double reeds, and an introspectively lush piano opening by guest Bob Florence. The opener, "Cultural Obscurity," eases in with a pensive mood that soon swells into a dark-hued fanfare before it settles into an intricately-arranged theme.
This disc is on par with those of the masters of the genre; and I don't know if the Los Angeles-based Richmond works in the movies or for television, but his compositions seem tailor- made for cinematic treatment, full of strong story lines with numerous facinating subtexts. A grand set of sounds.
Track Listing: Continued Obscurity, Precious Promises, Fantasy on You Must Beleive in Spring, Variations, Franz,
Stella by Starlight, Refractions, Tumbling Tumbleweeds, America the Beautiful
Personnel: Kim Richmond--leader/conductor, alto/soprano saxophonesLeadJeff Driskill--saxophones, flute,
piccolo; Phil Feather--alto saxophone, oboe, flute; Glen Berger--tenor saxophone, flute, clarinet;
John Yoakum--tenor saxophone, flute, clarinet, English horn; Bob Carr--baritone saxophone, bass
clarinet, bassoon; Mike McGuffy, ron King, Steve Huffesteter, Clay Jenkins--trumpets and
flugelhorns; John Dickerson.Paul Loredo or Jean Marinelli--French horns; Bruce Fowler, Joey
Sellers, or Bill Tole, George McMullen--trombones; Morris Repass--bass trombone; Bill Roper-tuba,
voice on "Tumbling Tumbleweeds"; Tom Hynes--guitar; Rich Eames--piano; Trey Henry, Ken Wild--
basses; Ralph Razze--drums; Brad Dutz--hand percussion; David Johnson--mallet percussion;
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.