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Album Review: The Art of Aging
Richard Kimball
Cover image of the album The Art of Aging by Richard Kimball
The Art of Aging
Richard Kimball
2011 / Richard Kimball
58 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
The Art of Aging is a collection of original jazz piano solos by Richard KImball. Five of the ten tracks were inspired by original cues Kimball wrote for a chamber music score for the 2000 PBS documentary, Grow Old Along With Me. Kimball himself has had a long and varied career in music as a performer, composer, accompanist, teacher and collaborator. For the past thirty-three years, he has been co-house pianist, along with Brazilian pianist Dom Salvador, under the Brooklyn Bridge at The River Cafe’ playing his unique arrangements of jazz standards and “The Great American Songbook.” With two degrees from Juilliard, Kimball has a thorough understanding of classical music as well as jazz, and his music is both structured and free-flowing, complex yet accessible.

The Art of Aging begins with “Make Hay While the Sun Shines,” a three-part piece that carries a sense of urgency, underscoring the notion that time is wealth. Many of the passages are light and whimsical while others are a bit more serious. “Chaconne for My Sons” is gorgeous. Set in a classical theme and variations form, this slow, deeply emotional piece conveys feelings that may be difficult to put into words - my favorite track! I also really love “I’ll Be Somewhere,” which refers to the idea of an afterlife. Dreamy and reflective, this is music from a soul at peace. “Patricia’s Theme” is a love ballad that begins with a long rubato introduction. The main part of the piece is in a moderate swing rhythm that never loses track of the beautiful opening melody. The title track begins with an easy jazz rhythm that is constantly changing meters. Kimball says this piece is based on a fragment of one of his earliest compositions, making a connection between his past and present. “Blackout in Bolivia” has a lively rhythm on the left hand while the right hand is more exploratory. A sense of urgency propels the piece forward as Kimball tells his story with fingers dancing on the piano keyboard. “The Tree of Life” is another graceful beauty. It becomes more intense as it develops, bringing together two contrasting themes that merge seamlessly. This is another favorite. “Hymn for the Farmer” is written in the form of a 17th century protestant chorale with harmonic materials from the Americana style of the mid-20th century. Slow and somber with lots of open space, it’s a beautiful tribute.

The Art of Aging is an exceptional album from start to finish! It is available from warwickinfo.net/rkimball.html, CD Baby, and Amazon. Recommended!
October 1, 2011
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