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Not Your Ordinary Musical Experience: The Fusion of Classical Music and Jazz

>> Apr 30, 2015



You’ve probably heard of the adage, “Oil and water don’t mix.” It’s simply saying that some things are not meant to go together, because of their marked differences. But jazz pianist Richard Kimball proves this idea wrong—in music, at least. Who could’ve imagined that classical music and jazz would form such a great combination?
 
Richard Kimball
Richard Kimball -image:facebook.com
Kimball’s distinct kind of music
Richard Kimball is one of those few musicians who succeed in making two entirely different music genres blend exquisitely. His innovative style in combining these two genres has resulted in a one-of-a-kind musical experience.

It can be argued, though, that Kimball’s ability to unify varying types of music rooted from the expertise in his preferred genre—jazz. His profound knowledge about it, as well as that of the complex world of composition, enables him to effortlessly collaborate with other musicians. It is not altogether surprising. After all, Kimball earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in composition at Juilliard School of Music in New York City. In his official website, he recalled an account when he successfully played with fellow artists he met for the first time:

“Let’s suppose Richard – that’s me - the bass player (I got into jazz first as a bass player before I transferred over to jazz on the piano), Al - the singing piano player, Sonny - the singing drummer, are all thrown together by our cheap and tacky quasi-gangster agent on a gig at a country club… Of course Al and Sonny knew each other – minimally, but I’d never met them, and we’d never played together. No sweat. How’d we do? Not bad. How come? The jazz format.”

The jazz format
Tune, key, feel and technical know-how—these aspects are what Kimball refers to as the must-haves so as not to get lost in a band-you-just-met.

“First, you’ve all got to be playing the same tune; Then you’ve got to be playing in the same key. What’s that? Well, it basically means, since you can start any tune on any note, we’d all better start it on the same one; everything else falls into place based on that. Now we’ve got the tune and the key. How about the “feel”? Feel means just about anything… In addition to the melody, what holds us all together most is the underlying sequence of chords, the chord changes, or simply the changes … the harmonic infrastructure… And of course, by then, lucky for us, the band is synchronized…”

Kimball’s strength and skill as a composer-artist is founded on being a truly devoted student of Western classical musical tradition. He can easily integrate its styles, vocabulary and techniques with the language of jazz harmony and improvisation. On top of it all, Kimball’s music is highly personal and evokes a mixture of emotions—an experience that most music lovers yearn for. As what Stacey Laurer Rosen describes in her review: “He is the consummate romantic - the music expressing a kaleidoscope of emotion, tension and release…”

Are you now raring to listen to his music? Click here.

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