Jack Kilby and the Front Line receive a stirring review from Midwest Record

Jack Kilby and the Front Line was formed in 2014 in New York City and includes members from New York, Washington DC, and Virginia while also spanning several generations of musicians. Kilby, age 29, and bassist Kris Monson, 26, both grew up in northern Virginia and attended the University of Virginia where they met veteran trumpeter John D’earth who directs the UVA Jazz Ensemble and is a centerpiece of Charlottesville’s music scene. There they also met tenor saxophonist Charles Owens (46), who had grown up in northern Virginia and went on to spend a dozen years in New York City performing with some of the world’s finest musicians. During their time in Charlottesville, Kilby and Monson’s relationships with D’earth and Owens blossomed from teacher-student to a brotherhood bound by their love of music. The group’s sextet formation was solidified upon Kilby meeting trombonist Elad Cohen (29) in New York, another kindred spirit who shared his love for Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Washington D.C. native and master pianist Allyn Johnson rounds out the rhythm action for the band’s debut album.”

Jack Kilby and the Front Line will release Volume Two of their two-part debut, Love Is A Song Anyone Can Sing, via Crab Shack Music LLC on January 11, 2019.

The album, recorded at Grammy Award-winning Bias Studios, was mixed and mastered by Grammy Award-winning engineer Dave Darlington. Dennis Mackrel calls Love Is A Song Anyone Can Sing “a tour de force, featuring a group of emerging young musicians who are genuine talents deserving much wider recognition and a timely message delivered by a gifted and capable messenger.” The former Count Basie Orchestra drummer and conductor praises “Mr. Kilby [as] a true keeper of the flame previously lit by jazz masters such as Art Blakey, Philly Joe Jones and Miles Davis. His brilliance on the drums in conjunction with his formidable skills as an arranger/producer/bandleader have resulted in a wonderful recording that marries creative and soulful emotion with technical excellence.”

Volume One, released on October 5, 2018, features the band’s core sextet performing their hard bop-inspired repertoire. The second Volume includes superb guest artists who take the band and music to new heights. Saxophonist Antonio Hart, whom Mackrel calls “one of the finest representatives of the new generation of jazz masters,” provides powerful solos on Kilby’s arrangements of “Life in a Glasshouse” and “Jupiter.” Vocalist Christie Dashiell shines on her R&B re-imagination of Kilby’s “Pure Imagination” arrangement and steals the show on “Colors of The Wind,” which also features Mark G. Meadows on piano and Braxton Cook on flute. Other guests include vocalist Micah Robinson who tastefully introduces the album and basso Soloman Howard who sings alongside the members of the Front Line in an amusing ode to Lester Young. Trumpeter Marcus Tenney and French hornist Peter Del Grosso make beautiful contributions to “Jupiter,” Kilby’s ambitious adaptation from “The Planets Suite” and make for a commanding six horn players on the Front Line.

Volume One:
1. Micah Robinson Introduces 1:10
2. Love Is a Song Anyone Can Sing 6:47
3. With Love from Kris Monson 0:52
4. Hipsippy Blues 4:26
5. With Love from Sam Blakelock 0:47
6. Pure Imagination 5:28
7. With Love from The House Band 0:28
8. A Tribute to Someone 6:06
9. More Love from The House Band 0:43
10. Sensitive Like Ladies (feat. Soloman Howard) 4:21
11. Even More Love from The House Band 0:39
12. Life in a Glasshouse (feat. Antonio Hart) 7:26
13. A Bridge Between 0:56

Volume Two:
14. Driftin’ 5:34
15. With Love from Ian Dansey 1:03
16. Jupiter (feat. Antonio Hart, Peter Del Grosso, Marcus Tenney) 8:18
17. With Love from Mark G. Meadows 1:08
18. Colors of the Wind (feat. C. Dashiell, M.. Meadows, Braxton Cook) 5:27
19. More Love from Ian Dansey 0:49
20. Pure Imagination (Reimagined) (feat. Christie Dashiell) 5:53
21. Micah Robinson Concludes, [Hidden Track] 7:25

The Band:
Jack Kilby: drums, bandleader
Kris Monson: bass
Allyn Johnson piano
John D’earth: trumpet
Charles Owens: tenor saxophone
Elad Cohen trombone
Featured Guest Performers include:
Antonio Hart: soprano and alto Saxophones
Christie Dashiell: vocalist
Soloman Howard: vocalist
Micah Robinson: vocalist
Braxton Cook: flute
Mark G. Meadows: piano
Marcus Tenney: trumpet
Peter Del Grosso: french horn

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