Frank Kimbrough & Noah Preminger
Thursday, February 25, 8 p.m.| Morris Graves Museum of Art, Eureka
"Kimbrough belongs to an elite group of pianist-composers able to dream in many odd colors and time signatures, leaving curious designs—and brighter moods—in their wake."
—Gene Seymour, New York Newsday
"Preminger seems to have arrived on the scene fully-formed, with incisive musical instincts, a distinctive personal sound, and an ability to write great tunes."
—David Wayne, Jazz Review
(For music and links, scroll to the bottom of this page)
With his 2008 CD Dry Bridge Road, twenty-something tenor saxophonist Noah Preminger made one of the most celebrated entrances in recent jazz history. (The album was named best debut of the year by everyone from Slate to the Wall Street Journal.) Preminger grew up in Connecticut in a family of jazz enthusiasts. After studying at the New England Conservatory with pianist Danilo Perez and drummer Bob Moses, he came to New York sounding (in the words of the Times’ Nate Chinen) “less like an upstart than a natural arrival.” Though his tone and touch have drawn comparisons to modern giants like Joe Lovano and Joshua Redman, his sound is distinctive and personal, drawing on everything from Coltrane to Classic Rock. Yet for all his critical laurels—and his massive chops—there’s no swagger about him: Preminger is all circumspection and humility. And in his short time on the scene, he’s consistently sought out his elders, gravitating toward “musicians of deep experience and generous judgment,” as Chinen puts it—people like Jim McNeely, Roscoe Mitchell, and a passel of Daves (Liebman, Douglas, Holland). But foremost among that group may be pianist and composer Frank Kimbrough.
Kimbrough, whose influences range from Bill Evans to Andrew Hill (see the full gamut in his desert island picks), also happens to be one of our favorite pianists. Long respected by peers and critics as a “musician’s musician”—Hill himself hailed him, early in his career, as “one of the few meaningful artists of the future”—Kimbrough’s once low profile has risen in recent years, thanks in large part to his key role as a soloist in the Maria Schneider Orchestra (where he’s held down keyboard duties for over fifteen years) and to a series of acclaimed duo albums with vibraphonist Joe Locke.
Originally from Roxboro, North Carolina, Kimbrough started piano at three and became church organist by the age of twelve. Though he had an early bent for improvising, he only got the bug for jazz when he saw Bill Evans on PBS as a teenager. He eventually made his way north to New York, where he spent several struggling years working on a solo piano career and discovering the then-forgotten music of Herbie Nichols. In the early 90s he met bassist Ben Allison, and together they founded the Herbie Nichols Project, a repertory group dedicated to unearthing, performing, and recording the music of the neglected pianist and composer, and the Jazz Composers Collective (“a coalition of simpatico players dedicated to furthering the development and performance of original music”). The JCC’s core members, including saxophonists Ted Nash and Michael Blake and trumpeter Ron Horton, have in Nate Chinen’s opinion “been responsible for some of the most consistently creative albums of the past decade.”
Kimbrough has a reputation as a nimble but meditative improviser, with a spacious, sometimes ethereal sound. Says Ben Ratliff in the New York Times:
In addition to three acclaimed albums at the helm of the Herbie Nichols Project, Kimbrough has released seven discs under his own name. (An eighth, “Rumors,” is due out on Palmetto in March.) He has also taught at NYU and conducted workshops at universities and institutes around the globe.
(Adapted in part from Nate Chinen, "Frank Kimbrough: Ghost Dance" [Jazz Times, June 2004])
Tickets ($15 General Admission, $10 Students & Seniors) are available here at our website, or at Missing Link Records, People's Records and The Works.
Frank Kimbrough and Noah Preminger will also present a FREE public workshop Friday, February 26th at 11:00 a.m. on the stage of HSU's Fulkerson Recital Hall. People of all levels of experience are welcome.
More on Frank Kimbrough & Noah Preminger:
This performance is presented in partnership with the Humboldt Arts Council at the Morris Graves Museum of Art.
Friday morning's workshop is made possible through the generosity of HSU's Office of the President, Provost Robert Snyder, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Interim Dean Kenneth Ayoob, and the Department of Music.