Ted Nash's The Creep, Frank Kimbrough's Live at Kitano

Ted Nash and Frank Kimbrough—co-founders of the Jazz Composers Collective, which I recently wrote about in this space—have new albums, and they're both among the year's best.

Nash's The Creep (on his own Plastic Sax Records label) has an Ornette vibe from the get-go. Bassist Paul Sikivie hard-plucks a dirge against drummer Ulysses Owens' frantic polyrhythms; then Nash (switching from his usual tenor sax to alto) enters with an anthemic phrase as fellow-JCC'er Ron Horton harmonizes on trumpet. (Yes, there's no piano.)

It's shades of Coleman's 1959 The Shape of Jazz to Come, though there's a bluegrass undercurrent, and jauntier melodies, more reminiscent of his 1960 follow-up, Change of the Century. The nine tunes are Nash originals, and they have their own flavor: in the Ornette tradition, but not at all derivative. (Nash's compositional chops are long established, and they're polished here in a slightly rougher cut.) It's exuberant, exhilarating.

Kimbrough's Live at Kitano (on Palmetto) has a very different sound—a piano trio session, with Jay Anderson on bass and Matt Wilson on drums, that harks back more to the imploding sizzle of Andrew Hill or Paul Motian's trios, with a thread of Shirley Horn's hard-laced romance tossed in. Hill and Motian composed two of the disc's eight songs; there are also covers of "Lover Man," Oscar Pettiford's "Blues in the Closet," and Ellington's "Single Petal of a Rose," the last of which raises palpable goosebumps; and three moody originals. This is for late nights and close listening.

The Nash was recorded by Matt Balitsaris, the Kimbrough by Jimmy Katz; both sound very satisfying.

Allen Fant's picture

Concur. The Creep is an outstanding disc!