Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Bass clarinetist Jeff Kimmel drops a quartet album

Posted By on 11.08.11 at 01:30 PM

Jeff Kimmel
  • Jeff Kimmel
Bass clarinetist Jeff Kimmel moved to Chicago in 2007 after studying at the New England Conservatory of Music, and since then he's slowly but steadily enmeshed himself in the city's jazz and improvised-music scenes, both as a player and an organizer. He's involved in programming both the Monday-night Ratchet series at the Skylark and the Saturday Protest Heaven series at Heaven Gallery. Earlier this year he showed off his free-improvisation skills on an abstract trio recording with Jacob Wick (trumpet) and David Moré (musical saw) called Tilting (Peira); his unpitched, breathy snorts, extreme upper-register squawks, tightly coiled flurries, and rapidly zigzagging tangles fit perfectly into the fast-paced sound sculpting.

But Kimmel brings a very different side of musical personality to his terrific quartet, which celebrates the release of its first recording, Charm Offensive (Ormolu Music), with a Wednesday-night performance at the Hideout. The six-track recording was cut last December with tenor saxophonist Keefe Jackson, bassist Devin Hoff, and drummer Marc Riordan; the band displays a sensitive, easygoing rapport on tunes steeped in postbop and free-jazz traditions. In particular, Kimmel and Jackson interact with an impressive degree of empathy, both in the way they respond to each other's ad libs and in how their simultaneous lines braid, meld, and pull apart—as you can hear below on the opening track, "Riposte," there's a moment about a minute and a half in when Jackson's fat, garrulous tenor seems to burst right out of one of Kimmel's astringent long tones, exploding in wonderfully rude growls and honks.

The tunes provide a nice variety: the brisk, swinging freebop of the title track, the post-Braxton abstractions of Riordan's "Ballad" (the only cut not written by Kimmel), the wide-open bobbing and weaving of "Envelopment." For Wednesday night's concert, the lineup will include Jackson, bassist Jason Roebke, and drummer Frank Rosaly.

Jeff Kimmel Quartet, "Riposte":

photo: Amanda Raber

Today's playlist:

Eva-Maria Houben, Von Da Nach Da (Edition Wandelweiser)
Gwen McCrae, Lay It on Me: The Columbia Years (Reel Music)
Sonic Liberation Front, Meets Sunny Murray (High Two)
The Uniques, Absolutely Rock Steady (Pressure Sounds)
Bill Evans, Alone (Verve)

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