Take Five with Kim Pensyl

Kim Pensyl By

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Meet Kim Pensyl:
Kim Pensyl is a prolific jazz recording artist, composer and arranger who has twice been named one of Billboard's Top-20 Contemporary Jazz Artists of the Year. A pianist and trumpeter, he has had four Top-10 albums on Billboard's Contemporary Jazz chart. He has recorded with jazz legends such as Toots Thielemans, and modern greats like Joey Calderazzo and Bob Mintzer. He has performed at such esteemed jazz venues as The Blue Note and Blues Alley and toured with the Woody Herman and Acoustic Alchemy. He has more than 100 published works recorded and over 150 compositions and arrangements in his catalog.

Kim performs around Cincinnati and Central Ohio in various groups. In addition to his new trombone and piano composition premier in the fall of 2010, Kim has had two other premiers. In March of 2010 a new sax quartet was premiered at the North American Saxophone Alliance conference in Georgia and a new three movement brass quintet was premiered at the International Trumpet Guild conference in Sydney, Australia in July of 2010.

In addition, he writes and performs with the Faculty Jazztet and guest artists at CCM, like Dave Liebman, Arturo Sandoval, Wynton Marsalis, Bob Mintzer, Terri Lyne Carrington, Rufus Reid, John Clayton, and Mulgrew Miller among others. Kim performs with Phil DeGreg and is also a member of the Blue Wisp Big Band, Pat Kelly's Psycho Acoustic Orchestra, and Carmon DeLeone's New Studio Big Band. Kim is an assistant professor of jazz studies at the College- Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati.

Trumpet and Piano

Teachers and/or influences?
Favorite Trumpet Players:

Miles Davis

Freddie Hubbard

Clifford Brown

Chet Baker

Woody Shaw

Plus:Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Fats Navarro, Blue Mitchell, Lee Morgan, and a lot of the current trumpet players today like Tom Harrell, Tim Hagans, Nicholas Payton, Scott Wendholt, and Terrel Stafford.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...
I saw Herb Alpert on TV with the Tijuana Brass.

Your sound and approach to music:
Melody is the Key.

Lyricism is the Rule.

Beauty must surround the Sound.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
Melodious Monk! As a composer I am thrilled to showcase the music of one of the most important jazz composers in history. I wanted to show his real lyricism and melodic beauty. It was a very special project. I have thoughts of doing his whole catalog in a series. This first one was duos and trios. I would keep expanding the ensembles until the last CD of full orchestra! That would be exciting.

The first Jazz album I bought was:
My folks had many big band recordings when I was growing up. Plus, two records by Al Hirt and Doc Severinsen. the first one I bought was a Freddie Hubbard record and I have been stuck on him every since.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
Hopefully—beauty, depth, and passion.

Did you know...
I love auto racing, especially Formula 1 and IndyCars.

CDs you are listening to now:
John Coltrane, Crescent

Blue Mitchell, Blue's Moods

Freddie Hubbard, Hub Tones

Keith Jarrett, Standards Vol. 2

Miles Davis, E.S.P.

How would you describe the state of jazz today?
An amalgam of ideas and cultures.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
At the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati we constantly address this question. There must be a balance of the rich history of the tradition of jazz that the giants gave us along with current relevant relationships to the society and culture that we live n today.

What is in the near future?
Foursight is a new group and recording project that I am very excited about. It is a very forward-looking interactive collective improvisational group featuring original music.

3 Voices is a new recording project that is focused on standards with a lineup of flugelhorn, vibes, and bass.

The Brazilian Jazz group, Samba Jazz Syndicate, performs every Tuesday at the Cactus Pear if Blue Ash, Ohio.

Kim Pensyl and Phil Degreg will be performing selected dates in Brazil from August 16-29, 2011.

Kim Pensyl's new composition for trombone and piano will be featured on a new recording by classical trombonists Tim Anderson.

Kim Pensyl's trumpet ensemble composition "Cascade" will be featured on a new recording by Tromba Mundi.

Kim Pensyl performs every Wednesday with the Blue Wisp Big Band at the Blue Wisp is Cincinnati, Ohio

By Day:
I am Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:
Formula 1 driver!

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