Frank Kimbrough / Joe Locke
photo © Frank Tafuri

In their concert performances, whether in the intimate environment of the Bach, Dancing and Dynamite Society's hall overlooking Half Moon Bay in California, at the Boston Conservatory, or in a two thousand-seat festival tent at the Caramoor Jazz Festival, Frank Kimbrough and Joe Locke have succeeded in creating a quiet electricity that belies the perception of the "introspective" duo. Their playing has been described as comfortable, telepathic and warm, yet having virtuosity to spare.

"Magic is magic because it can't be explained" says Kimbrough about his duo with Joe Locke. "Joe and I have known each other for more than twenty years. Sometimes when we play, we find ourselves as surprised at our rapport as anyone who may be listening. Playing with Joe is always a beautiful experience, no matter the circumstances."

Frank Kimbrough and Joe Locke have recorded three CDs for OmniTone: their critically acclaimed 1999 debut Saturn's Child, The Willow, released in 2003, and their latest, Verrazano Moon, recorded live at the Windham (NY) Chamber Music Festival in 2006, and released in October, 2008.

Media coverage of the duo made much of the connections between Saturn's Child and the Chick Corea/Gary Burton classic Crystal Silence, but The Willow showcases a broader pallette of sounds. Locke adds marimba to the mix, Tim Ries plays saxophones, flutes and bass clarinet, and Jeff Ballard contributes hand percussion. And of course, the distinctive and unmistakable flavor of Maria Schneider's title track adds its own dimension as well. Like Schneider, Kimbrough and Locke have created a sound that has the accessible melodies to appeal to budding jazz fans, while also having the sophistication, soul and intellectual depth to satisfy aficionados.

"...the Frank Kimbrough/Joe Locke duo proved to be the high point of the afternoon. This duo has mastered the art of the perfectly placed note, the ebulliently swinging storyline, the poetic ending. There was no mistaking the audience's amazement."
David Adler - AllAboutJazz New York



Joe Locke/Frank Kimbrough: Verrazano Moon (NEW on OmniTone)

Joe Locke (vibraphone)
Frank Kimbrough (piano)

1. Miramar (Locke)
2. Twenty Bars (Kimbrough)
3. Verrazano Moon (Locke)
4. Vigilance (Kimbrough)
5. She's Always a Woman (Joel)
6. Forgiveness (Locke)
7. Katonah (Kimbrough)
8. Single Petal Of A Rose (Ellington)
9. Trinkle Tinkle (Monk)

recorded live at the Windham Chamber Music Festival


"..vibraphonist Joe Locke and pianist Frank Kimbrough have set their own standard for playing as a duo. Much like friends who, despite the passing of many years between encountering each other, pick up where they left off as if no time has passed, Verrazano Moon—recorded live in 2006—captures Locke and Kimbrough continuing the conversation begun seven years earlier on the stunningly beautiful Saturn's Child (OmniTone, 1999). Locke and Kimbrough are players with that rare ability to find perfection in every corner. Virtuosity is a given, yet both players approach the music with complete reverence and respect; it's the music, first and foremost after all, and when the musicians serve it, magic happens."
John Kelman, Allaboutjazz.com



Frank Kimbrough/Joe Locke: The Willow (OmniTone 12201)

Frank Kimbrough (piano)
Joe Locke (vibraphone, marimba)
with special guests:
Tim Ries (tenor, alto, soprano saxophones, alto flute, bass clarinet)
Jeff Ballard (hand drums, assorted percussion, cymbals, bells, cajon)

1. The Moon For Her (Tim Garland)
2. Just Suppose (Kimbrough)
3. The Willow (Maria Schneider)
4. Forsythia (Kimbrough)
5. Now I Lay Me Down (Locke)
6. Pick Up Sticks (Kimbrough)
7. Broken Toy (Locke)
8. Highland (Locke)
9. Truth Be Told (Locke)
10. For Duke (Kimbrough)


  • ***** All Music Guide
  • Publisher's Top 16 CDs 2002 - All About Jazz
    "...the finesse of chamber music...the combustion is so much more surprising for coming on the quiet; call it pastel with punch. The title track is gently astounding..."
    Randal McIlroy, CODA

    Frank Kimbrough/Joe Locke: Saturn's Child (OmniTone 11901)

    Frank Kimbrough - piano
    Joe Locke - vibraphone

    1. 727 (Kimbrough)
    2. Saturn's Child (Locke)
    3. Trouble Is A Gorgeous Dancer (Locke)
    4. Silence (Charlie Haden)
    5. Waltz For Lee (Kimbrough)
    6. Empty Chalice (Locke)
    7. Sanibel Island (Kimbrough)
    8. I Still Believe In Love (Locke)
    9. Midnight (Locke, Kimbrough)

    (Saturn's Child is) ... "a very different sort of recording... The players... keep the edge polished, but don't round it off. Their chords have too many minor-key sparkles, their interplay staggers across too many off-centered rhythms, to be mistaken for mere prettiness. It's thoughtful and stimulating, full of more quiet surprises than its mood would lead you to suspect."
    Fred Kaplan, The Absolute Sound

    "These luminous duets offer plenty of substance and creativity... mellow but interesting, complex but not cluttered, and frequently lovely. Saturn's Child may inspire new appreciation for the importance of balance and touch... A good showcase for two inventive, melody – oriented players who deserve further investigation."
    Jon Andrews, Downbeat

    "a gloriously reflective, deep musical journey. There isn't a note played on this CD that doesn't spring from the reflective mindset that we cherish most...the inner spirit that brings us peace and beauty, inspiration and truth."
    Paula Edenstein - Jazzreview.com

    Saturn's Child was chosen as one of the Best Jazz Recordings of 1999 by Jazzonline.com, and was featured on NPR's All Things Considered in April 2000.

    Joe Locke – vibraphonist, composer and arranger is known internationally for his contagious, high-energy vibraphone playing. With more than a dozen recordings as a leader for labels such as Sirocco, Milestone, and Steeplechase, Locke is one of the most in-demand vibraphonists on the scene today. As a sideman, he has worked with a diversity of artists including Eddie Henderson, Cecil Taylor, Dianne Reeves, David Hazeltine, Walt Weiskopf, Bob Berg and Grover Washington Jr. He and Kimbrough have also worked together on Locke's Beauty Burning CD on Sirocco, and on recordings by Russian tenor saxophonist Igor Butman and vocalist Kendra Shank.