Ron Brendle
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Ron Brendle

Charlotte, North Carolina, United States | INDIE

Charlotte, North Carolina, United States | INDIE
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"Review of new CD, Rhizome, by Ron Brendle & Mike Holstein"

RHIZOME—www.ronbrendle.com, www.myspace.
com/mikeholstein. Smoke signals; Rhizome;
When I was There; Loose Interpretation; Soapbox;
Topohicvo; Sardegna; Lava Lamp; Whisper; Up
Start; Mealy Mouth.
PERSONNEL: Ron Brendle, Mike Holstein, double
bass.

By Bob Gish

Two bass players, two double basses, in this case
make for more than a two bass hit. This CD is a home
run. Surely the title indicates just how fundamental,
how rooted, the stand up bass, the acoustic bass, is in
any ensemble.
The bass if fundamental to any rhythm section
just as any rhythm section is fundamental to the rest
of the band or orchestra. In the theory of the humors,
correspondences might be made with the fundament
of earth, and so it is in music when a typology of roles
is outlined.
So how about the bass as a solo instrument?
That point is well established by now and with considerable
talent and vividness. What’s unique here is
the dynamism, the
forcefulness and “rootedness” of bass duets.
And once you hear one bass duet chances are you’ll
crave for more, especially in the artful hands of Mr.
Brendle and Mr. Holstein.
Who knows which is which, who is who, on the
tracks? And, in a sense, who cares?
These two partners play as one, whereby the
listener envisions a kind of magical octopus, not just
capable of choosing a World Cup winner, but wondrously
able to hold up two bizarrely beautiful instruments
with all eight arms - exploring all the intervals,
be they thirds or fifths or octaves, what have you, as
well as inventing new scales, new modes, new sounds
of the enchantment for Neptune and his pards. Even
mermaids would be charmed if not awe struck by the
assembly of earth and sea shaking sounds and vibrations
heard here.
In a less fanciful context, let’s just say the sounds
heard here will make you sit right up and say howdy
and hot damn! Shuffle the tracks if you will. Play one
over and over. Play then in succession. Do what you
want, do what you will. You’ll be spellbound by what
you hear. And what you’ll hear will be at once quintessentially
musical and trans-musical! You’ll hear the
breaths as well as the bowing, the plucking as well
as the caressing of the newest of ancient strings and
strokes. You’ll hear heaven more near than far!
Bass players in particular will come away with
waving hair and sparkling eyes and others will want to
“weave a circle round them thrice,” knowing full well,
convinced, that like Coleridge’s dreamer, these guys
on honey dew hath fed and drunk the milk of paradise!
And they’ve only listened to the CD. Just imagine
what Brendle and Holstein look like after soaring
through this experience. No just another day at the
studio, to be sure. Ah, bass lessons, bass duets will begin
to proliferate all over the world. You can bet on it.
It’s rooted and the shoots are spreading as we speak.
- 52 August 2010 • Jazz Inside™ Monthly • www.jazzinsidemagazine.com


"Review of new CD, Rhizome, by Ron Brendle & Mike Holstein"

Ron Brendle & Mike Holstein
Rhizome
LoNote Records
by George Harris

There have been two bass players in big bands, and in some small bands, but as a duo…well, you’ve got to do some research. Dave Holland did one about 30 years ago, and it was a painfully free affair. Charlotte’s Ron Brendle and Mike Holstein’s Rhizome hits all the right spots, making it more like a summit between guitarists in the sense that the feeling of swing is always present. Together, they do everything you can do with a bass, from slapping (“Smoke Signals”) to strumming (“Sardegna”) to bending (“Soapbox”) to bowing (“Rhizome”). The music is original and fresh in feel, with some lyricism and reflection on “When I Was There” and the hip jive of “Loose Interpretation” serving as highlights. Going from the funky snap of “Topochico” to the passionate aria of “Whisper” is a formidable task handled well by the four hands available here. Rhizome is lots of fretless fun provided for your ears.

Track Listing: Smoke Signals/Rhizome/When I Was There/Loose Interpretation/Soapbox/Topochico/Sardegna/Lava Lamp/Whisper/Up Start/Mealy Mouth
Personnel: Ron Brendle, Mike Holstein, bass

July 2010 • Volume 8 Number 5 • www.allaboutjazz.com
- July 2010 • Volume 8 Number 5 • www.allaboutjazz.com


"Ron Brendle CD Reviews"

Photograph
Ron Brendle Trio
LoNote Records 105

While the instrumentation is that of the prototypical bass-piano-drums trio, there's nothing remotely routine about the Ron Brendle Trio's music. The musicians blur idioms and converge styles. Every track represents a first-take version, and the compositions have a loose, spontaneous sound. A highlight is their superb cover of Ornette Coleman's "Broken Shadows" (hardly an overdone number).

Brendle is a monster bassist, whether using the bow or playing with his fingers. Pianist Frank Kimbrough darts, dips and explodes, and drummer Al Sergel always connects his rhythms to the passages being articulated by Brendle and Kimbrough. While the trio can take things far out, get complex or build a solid groove, the common theme is that the Ron Brendle Trio consistently offers outstanding, unpredictable music.

Ron Wynn
JazzTimes
August 2005

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Photograph
Ron Brendle Trio
LoNote Records 105

Ron Brendle may not be a household word in New York, Chicago, or West Coast jazz clubs, but he is regarded as the leading bassist in the vicinity of Charlotte, North Carolina. Brendle has been the recipient of several awards in this regard and has collaborated with pianist Frank Kimbrough, another North Carolina native, on several albums over the past few years. This new release, although recorded in 2002, is their fourth effort on Brendle's own LoNote label.

Photograph consists of seven compositions by Frank Kimbrough and Ornette Coleman, with one tune by Brendle. Kimbrough, who has a lengthy recording history as leader and sideman, is known as a player who is comfortable with both mainstream and outside jazz. The presentation of alternate compositions by Kimbrough and Coleman offers an interesting contrast. On “Affirmation” and “Southern Lights” the pianist is firmly engaged in modal, introspective trio jazz, while “Centering” has a bit of a Monkish influence.
On the other hand, Coleman's “Comme Il Faut” and the lengthy “Broken Shadows” present a more fragmented melody. On the latter tune, Kimbrough's playing evolves into a Paul Bley-like piano solo over the course of the eleven-minute track. Although Ron Brendle reports that the music of Paul Bley and Ornette Coleman were the chief inspirations for this album, most of the flavor of Photograph is squarely in Bill Evans territory.

It is also obvious that these three musicians have a longstanding musical relationship and a shared intuition. Ron Brendle gets several opportunities for solos and otherwise anchors the trio with a steady pulse.

Micheal P. Gladstone
allaboutjazz.com

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BIG OCTAVE
LoNote 106
John Alexander, saxophones, chants; Ron Brendle, bass, chants; Chris Garges, drums, percussion

The album begins with solo tenor saxophone playing well-thought out, controlled multiphonics. Their use is in no way trite, as they establish the mood for the events to come. The remaining members of the group soon enter – bass and drums – with a vengeance. The feel is dark and grave, using pedal tones in the bass and rock-oriented beats in the drums. A hint of sanguinity dances with the melody, as it is based in major. (Well, actually Mixolydian if you group the second phrase with it.) But soon all feelings of sanguinity retreat, as multiphonics, growls, and modes of harmonic minor are reintroduced. In the background can be heard the inner voices of your psyche, but distinguishingly audible, enough so as to not warrant alarm. In fact, upon closer examination they are subtle overdubs of the group – a very slick effect, indeed.

This opening tune, “Tomorrow Never Knows” by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, is an example of the group’s exploration of new and creative music. The group does not limit themselves to conventional standards, and employ many avant-garde techniques such as the use of computer generated sounds. Without a doubt, the piano-less/guitar-less group is influenced by Ornette Coleman’s harmolodics. Perhaps as a tribute, they include one of his tunes, “Chronology.” The remaining tunes are by saxophonist John Alexander, and bassist Ron Brendle. Although the styles do change to more traditional feels, such as the swing tune, “Blue Robbin,” the approach is still adventurous.

For those seeking new and inventive jazz, Big Octave would be a great place to start. They effectively draw influences from all walks of life, such as the Eastern-European influenced tune “New Roz” and have no problem reaching for new sounds. If you are looking to spice up your current jazz collection, Big Octave is the one for you.

Joshua Musselwhite
Jazz Improv Magazine Volume 6, Number 1
Fall 2005

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BIG OCTAVE
LoNote 106

John Alexander on saxophone, Ron Brendle on bass, and Chris Garges on drums are collectively known as Big Octave. The trio has held forth on Thursday nights at downtown’s Blue for about two years, showcasing the group’s many sides – adventurous, humorous, rhapsodic, relaxed.

As soon as you hear the whining whirr that opens Big Octave, the band’s new self-titled CD, you know that this jazz album is going to give you a run for your money. That initial squeal belongs to the trio’s take on Lennon/McCartney’s “Tomorrow Never Knows,” a rock-infused track that dubs alien noises over a repeated crashing drumbeat and an untamed saxophone.

No sooner does the wildness of “Tomorrow” fade than Brendle’s cheerful, straight-up blues, “Blue Robbin” comes bob, bob, bobbin’ along (all but two of the album’s eleven tunes are by Big Octave musicians). Alexander’s “New Roz” mixes aloofness with middle-eastern exoticism – a sort of Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca feel. “Al Hemiola” plays with shifting triple and duple rhythms while maintaining a hip-shaking groove. Throughout the album, the playing is terrific, with improvisations that continually build steam without jumping the track.

Meg Whalen
Charlotte Magazine
February 2006

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BIG OCTAVE
LoNote 106

Big Octave features an improvising trio based in Charlotte, North Carolina. To their eclectic program of excitement, the three artists have folded in elements from such varied sources as Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Charles Mingus and Ornette Coleman, as well as a throw-back to The Swing Era. Thus, they’re able to reach out to a broad audience. With bass and drums providing a lively rhythmic foundation, saxophonist John Alexander explores with intensity and desire. Adopting a tone quality similar to that used by Ornette Coleman, he slips and slides seamlessly from one theme to the next. Most of the session moves briskly, pumping with hard-driving energy over winding roads. Chris Garges propels the trio with splashes of shimmering cymbals and the pop-pop of snare drum punctuation. His crisp rolls and quick textural changes keep the session highly charged. Ron Brendle adds an intuitive walking bass foundation for support, as well as creatively constructed solo arguments. Each member of Big Octave solos with authority while their counterpoint remains cohesive. Their collaboration on “Election Year Blues” carries the torch of centuries. Brendle’s “Hypermobility” carries a fiery contemporary edge, while his “Passing By” slumbers gracefully through peaceful impressions. For the most part hot and heavy-handed, Big Octave provides various impressions that drive with a zest for the release of creative energy.

Jim Santella
Cadence Mag. May 2006



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HERE
LoNote Records 103
Ron Brendle, bass; Frank Kimbrough, piano; Al Sergel, drums

Ron Brendle, first-call bassist in the Charlotte, North Carolina area, has leveraged his work with pianist Frank Kimbrough of the Jazz Composers Collective, among other groups, into a first-class CD featuring a couple of his compositions, as well as Brendle’s arrangements of others’ tunes as adventurous as his own. Even some of the more standard fare, such as “You Only Live Twice,” a song not often heard recently but one whose haunting nature captured Brendle’s imagination, undergoes transformation with the use of dark harmonies and swirling undercurrents creating a tension with the more placid melodic development. “The Dolphin” fits in the same pattern as “You Only Live Twice,” a gorgeously written song that allows the group to lay back with a straight-ahead presentation, stirred by Brendle’s loping bass work that punctuates Kimbrough’s lines while drummer Al Sergel mixes up the rhythms with colorful animation involving splashing cymbal work and gentle snare prodding, even as Brendle quietly solos.

However, those pieces are more like interludes among the CD’s more unconventional works, the relishing of whose complexities Brendle obviously shares with Kimbrough and Sergel. Kimbrough’s investigations of the originality of Herbie Nichols and his intellectual curiosity in other avenues of jazz serve him well when he teams with Brendle, not only as they cover some Ornette Coleman and Theolonius Monk material, but also as they convert the traditional folk song “Wayfarin’ Stranger” into a brooding piece of dense minor chords, shimmering tremolos and convergence with the feeling of the blues. On Coleman’s “Enfant,” the members of the trio have an instantaneous understanding of the others’ thoughts as they course through a piece of stops and starts and unpredictable elasticity. Kimbrough glides through its quickening phrases, from eight-note exposition to thirty-second-note descents to sixteenth-note embellishments as he deconstructs the theme over Brendle’s walking bass lines through successive choruses. And Coleman’s “Dee Dee” develops as a calypso of tightly clustered chords of whole tones verging on dissonance but never quite crossing the line. Brendle bounding along as jaunty intervals animate the piece with feel-good optimism. “Bemsha Swing” proceeds in a similar fashion of joyous exploration of the melody while Sergel lays down a New Orleans street beat of strutting extroversion while Kimbrough again minimizes the melody with two-note plinking chords and jabbing bass-clef accents.

Brendle’s own compositions are equally challenging, as surprising in their structural framework, unusual modulations and darting interjections as some of the better-known jazz pieces. His “Freeway,” apparently inspired by Monk, consists of repeated intervals alternating with tripping melodic references, oblique in their flanking approach, that snowball into advancing acceleration over Brendle’s steady beat. Brendle opens the CD with his own statement of the theme of his “Sardegna,” poignant and classical in its approach as he symmetrically builds to a high point in the fourth bar from which the remainder of the melody falls linearly in the second four. The trio makes much of this straight-forward theme as Kimbrough substitutes chords and opens up the motive to alternative, and times quite dramatic, approaches not initially apparent through spur-of-the-moment interplay among the three.

Here is the work of a bassist known by the jazz artists who tour through Charlotte, such as Kimbrough, Clark Terry, Chris Potter, Andrew Hill and Bill Watrous. However, his choice to remain there has limited his exposure to wider audiences, which no doubt would find him to be a bassist of note were he to live in New York. Nonetheless, Here is the work of a progressive bassist with much imagination to share with appreciative listeners.

Bill Donaldson
Jazz Improv Magazine Volume 6, Number 1
Fall 2005

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PHOTOGRAPH
Ron Brendle Trio
Ron Brendle, bass; Frank Kimbrough, piano; Al Sergel, drums

Pity the poor bass. The foundation of any jazz group, it sinks its notes like piles into the earth, allowing other instruments to build castles of sound upon them. In nighclubs or restaurants, places where you’re likely to find the outstanding Charlotte bassist, Ron Brendle, the bass’ dark tones – even in solo moments – are often overshadowed by clatter and chatter. Photograph provides an opportunity to really hear.

The album, Brendle writes in the liner, is a musical snapshot, an off-the-cuff recording of unrehearsed first takes, hence the CD’s title. But what started as a group of buddies testing some recording equipment became an excellent example of musical professionalism.

Brendle is joined by New York pianist Frank Kimbrough and local drummer Al Sergel, and their talents are well matched. The instruments weave through one another in sophisticated polyphony. Brendle’s brilliance shines through in ensemble playing as well as in stunning solos. And just listen to Sergel’s integrated rhythms and timbral variations. He has, of course, no pitches, but you’ll swear there’s a tune in there anyhow.

Of the seven tracks, one is written by Brendle, three are by Kimbrough, and three are by “free jazz” saxophonist Ornette Coleman. Many of the pieces are introspective, which makes Coleman’s funky “Ramblin’” a standout. The trio’s lean, taut playing recalls the energy of Charles Mingus, Max Roach, and Duke Ellington in their superb trio album, Money Jungle.

Meg Whalen
Charlotte Magazine
November 2005


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AUTUMN—LoNote Records.

Autumn is one of those low key albums that starts off in the background, but then keeps tapping you on the shoulder, not allowing you to let it drift into the background. The playing is of very high order without showing off; both men know exactly what they are doing both individually and together as a team.

While I am typically drawn to music with a bit more snap, the choice of tunes and how they were played really won me over. It became very easy to get lost in the effortlessness of Kimbrough’s ideas as they flowed seamlessly into each other. Sometimes this can be tiring, not allowing the listener a chance to “breathe”, but Kimbrough knows how to build a solo, varying dynamics and phrase lengths. The bass solos sound more like role reversals than a typical all action stops bass solo, as Kimbrough delicately fades and Brendle comes up, taking the lead.

There is perhaps room for one “up” tune to break the contemplative mood that creates a certain intensity for the album’s full (and short) thirty-six minutes. Then again, to do that might have seemed garish and just too crude, like willfully throwing a rock into a perfectly flat lake that is reflecting the land and sky behind it. As it stands, the emotional range is kind of narrow, or better, single minded. My only other quibble is that, at least on the equipment on which I was listening, Kimbrough sounded a bit hard on the higher notes, when the bass was loud enough to hear clearly.
LoNote Records appears to be Brendle’s own label, and he lists a number of other duo, as well as trio and quartet recordings under the label, many with Kimbrough. It is nice to see a locally respected player be able to record and distribute his music, and for this, technology is good. So, if you want or need some high quality music on the pensive side, check out Brendle and Kimbrough.

Budd Kopman
September 2005 ??Jazz Improv ® Magazine’s New York Jazz Guide & Directory



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Ron Brendle
HERE
LoNote Records 103

Clearly, the work of Ornette Coleman and Charlie Haden made a deep impression on Brendle. Brendle's admiration for the work of Haden is evident from the rich resonant lines that open the disc and continue through to the closer, his version of "Wayfarin' Stranger," a tune from Haden's childhood that the bassist resurrected a couple years ago. Brendle is able, with the assistance of long-time collaborator Frank Kimbrough and drummer Al Sergel, to imbue the music with that folk-like yet highly sophisticated lyricism in a way that's distinctly his own.

He likes to drop deep, cellar dwelling notes with overtones that resonate throughout the ensemble's sounds. On the moody "You Only Live Twice" he demonstrates his penchant for engaging the piano in conversation without impeding Kimbrough's lines. Kimbrough, the most noted member of the trio, plays lines that seem to float away from each tune's harmonic underpinning. This is especially evident on Brendle's hard bop "Freeway," where his melodies twist and turn into odd corners of the tonality. Sergel maybe is the least known, but his contribution to the date is essential. He pins Brendle's and Kimbrough's exploration down to grooves fashioned to bring the best out of each piece. I especially liked his quasi New Orleans shuffle under "Bemsha Swing." He adds both propulsion and color to the proceedings. Unlike Kimbrough, Brendle has opted to setlle in Charlotte, NC, rather than move to New York City. But don't be fooled by his down-home address, this trio is as accomplished as any out there.

-David Dupont
CADENCE
(110-111)
Volume 28, Number 4

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Here
Artist Ron Brendle
Date of Release Sep 8, 2001


North Carolina bass player Ron Brendle continues his association with creative pianist Frank Kimbrough with this, his third album. Working in a familiar trio format, they interpret a play list comprised mostly of modern jazz compositions, with a couple of originals and a standard rounding out the program. It's the standard, "Some Other Spring," that sums up the group's stylistic predilections — thoughtful, organized, and deliberate. Kimbrough's intelligent chord progressions are built on the foundation laid down by Brendle's bass. The group exhibits a degree of synergy, as if the musicians were able to read each other's mind in advance of the next few measures. On "You Only Live Twice," with Kimbrough occupying his usual out-front position, Brendle's bass works to fill the space between the pianist's harmonics while the trio's drummer, Al Sergel, slides in and out with telling but not presumptuous percussive shots. Matters get livelier on "Bemsha Swing," as Sergel opens with a short solo. Kimbrough then comes in, abandoning his flowing style in favor of angular playing fitting for this Thelonious Monk classic, reinforced all the way by Sergel's simple percussion. This tune is immediately followed by a representative of a subsequent stage in the development of modern jazz, "Enfant," by avant-garde jazz pioneer and leader Ornette Coleman. It would have been very easy for the group to exercise such a level of stridency on this piece that all equilibrium in the playing would be lost. To their credit, while they retain the special character of Coleman's music, it's presented in such a way so as not to drive away the less adventurous jazz fan. Here is 53-plus minutes of alluring and high-quality jazz. Recommended.

Dave Nathan
allmusic.com


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Lost Dogs Live
LoNote Records

Lost Dogs is a quartet founded by bass player Ron Brendle, with the unusual instrumental grouping of two saxophones, bass, and drums. This departs from Brendle's usual setting, his trio that typically features pianist Frank Kimbrough. But there the major differences end. The program here is a typical Brendle musical agenda, viz., modern jazz works (mostly penned by a bassist or guitarist), a couple Brendle originals, and a ringer of sorts, this time Muddy Waters' "Trouble No More." The modern material includes representatives from different stages in the development of that jazz category. Without a piano present, Brendle takes on a greater responsibility for carrying the session, both for providing the rhythmic foundation and as a soloist. Both these roles are amply demonstrated on "Not Forgetting," a Brendle original, where the bass works in and around the musings of the two saxophonists, John Alexander and Doug Henry. The group moves closer to off-center jazz on, of all things, "Trouble No More." While still presented within a swinging blues context, there is some sax stridency added to the mix, making for an innovative arrangement of this piece from the Delta and urban blues master. Another master (this time of modern jazz), Charles Mingus, is represented with an 11-minute working over of his in-your-eye shot at the segregationist shenanigans of Arkansas governor Orville Faubus. The set ends with a rumbling and somewhat psychedelic reenactment of Jimi Hendrix's "Manic Depression," with Brendle getting sounds from the bass that perhaps the instrument wasn't supposed to be capable of producing. Al Sergel's drums are given a prominent part on this track. With this album, Brendle continues his successful quest to present modern jazz in unique and interesting formats accessible to all jazz fans. Recommended.

Dave Nathan
allmusic.com

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Autumn
Ron Brendle/Frank Kimbrough | LoNote

There is a definite North Carolina flavor to this release. Bassist Ron Brendle has been a resident of the Charlotte area since 1981 and pianist Frank Kimbrough was born in the State. In addition, one of the tunes on the play list is the product of the recently departed North Carolinian, Loonis McGlohon, erstwhile pianist and Alec Wilder collaborator. Maybe it's the commonality of birth place/residence that helps explain the synergy that exists between these two exceptional jazz artists. Whatever, their working as one closeness is apparent on every track. whether it be the pensive, soothing "No Goodbyes" or an absorbing improvisional, curiously rhythmed take of the old warhorse, "Indian Summer", where Kimbrough's sparkling piano dances all around the melody line with Brendle laying down solid bass lines underneath before taking a chorus for himself. There is a lightness, in the sense of buoyancy not frippery, in the way the two approach the material. They avoid becoming ponderous or stentorian as they thoughtfully deliver each tune on the program. At the same time, the two create an environment of thoughtfulness in the meditative way they establish their musical presence. The performance of aptly named "Prayer for Peace of Mind" comes close to reverence. But instead of despair, Kimbrough's right hand high on the keyboard predicts an optimistic outcome. To punctuate this feeling, Brendle culls some high notes from the usually deep toned bass.The only problem with this CD is the time, only 36 minutes of music is provided. Certainly these two accomplished artists have more to say than that. Recommended anyway. Visit Brendle and Kimbrough at their web sites, www.ronbrendle.com and http://home.earthlink.net/~ fkimbrough/Fkbio.html, respectively.

Dave Nathan
allaboutjazz.com

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Ron Brendle / Frank Kimbrough
AUTUMN
LoNote Records 102

The jazz market is limited enough, and crowded with enough reissues of great merit, that we should all be grateful that anyone bothers to enter the field at all. Despite the daunting obstacles, though, the appeal of the music is enough to continue to attract great players, most of whom are rarely heard outside the regional circuits in which they play. Happily, the increasing ability of players to get their music recorded and the existence of independent channels of distribution, especially online, means that for the adventurous seeker, the best of those regional players can be heard no matter where you may be.

A great example is this recording on Charlotte, North Carolina-based bassist Ron Brendle and his pianist partner for the occasion, Frank Kimbrough. Released on Brendle's own LoNote label, this is a fine example of the kind of quality music that will never reach the top of the pops, but deserves to be heard well beyond the player's hometown. Brendle and Kimbrough display remarkable powers of musical communication between themselves on this ballad heavy set, and radiate that personal communication to the listener with compelling artistry and intimacy. If your jazz budget can't handle yet another multi-disc Bill Evans box, this might be the affordable alternative you're looking for.

At 36 minutes or so, it's a bit brief by CD standards, but not so long ago (for some of us greybeards, anyway) that was considered a full album in anyone's catalog. One thing I can promise - it will be 36 minutes well spent if you love jazz.

Shaun Dale
jazzreview.com

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Ron Brendle
HERE
LoNote Records 103

Top-notch bassist, Ron Brendle leads this trio featuring one of our favorite modern jazz pianists, Frank Kimbrough, and drummer, Al Sergel. With this release, the musicians frame their game plan upon some of pianist, Keith Jarrett’s 70’s, early 80’s group sound, where the musicians pursue open ended interplay while utilizing space as an effective means of altering themes and tonalities. Here, the artists’ inject their distinct personas into the overall mix. A very fine outing indeed!

Glenn Astarita
allaboutjazz.com

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Ron Brendle / Frank Kimbrough
AUTUMN
LoNote Records 102

North Carolina area jazz bassist Ron Brendle has performed and recorded with vocalist Nneena Freelon, trumpeter Clark Terry, and others, yet is perhaps lesser known than his associate and longtime member of the Jazz Composers Collective, pianist Frank Kimbrough. However, the duo creates a quiet fire on this nicely produced effort. With Victor Herbert's classic "Indian Summer" Brendle provides the soft bottom end and harmonizes with Kimbrough's elegantly executed voicings and lightly swinging motifs. The musicians convey subtle nuance and a suave demeanor on their rendition of "Autumn Nocturne." Thus, it is all about supple themes, an air of innocence, delicate phraseology, and picturesque soundscapes. Here, every note counts amid Kimbrough's lushly organized chord progressions, jazzy right-hand lead soloing, and Brendle's interweaving contours. The entire production clocks in at a scant 36 minutes, although quality supersedes quantity every time.

Glenn Astarita
allmusicguide.com

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Ron Brendle Trio -- Here (LoNote)

Yawn: yet another well-intentioned disc of modern instrumentals shaped by a triangle of piano, bass and drums. Yes, the piano-trio is the most popular configuration in jazz, but what separates Here from a gazillion and one lesser lineups is the democratic nature of this particular triumvirate. Customarily, piano-trios are fronted by, well, pianists.

Ron Brendle, however, is a stand-up bassist, a modest man with unselfish tendencies. Like one of his teachers, bass giant Charlie Haden, Brendle believes that the thrust of his inspired strum and twang is to make everybody else in the band sound groovy. Accordingly, drummer Al Sergel and pianist Frank Kimbrough blow on Here with uncommon ease, like wisps of dandelion swept up and away by an invigorating rush of spring breeze.


Stickman Sergel's smokin' stroking swings every which-way. His substantial gig-bag contains ear-enticing percussive tricks like 'Nawlins-style second-line butt-wag, swift four-to-the-bar gallop and even rattling press-rolls straight out of Sousa. If the secret of primo jazz drumming is to suggest rhythmic solutions without smacking the audience upside the noggin with the obvious, well, Sergel's drums and cymbals reveal the truth.


Meanwhile, Kimbrough, a Roxboro-native and now a fixture with the adventurous Jazz Composers Collective in New York City, turns in a relatively straight-laced but vigorous performance. On Brendle's Keith Jarrett-influenced "Sardenga," old-timers will recognize the tide-like rush-and-retreat of Kimbrough's surging 88s, a technique he first revealed on a beaten-up old upright at the old Cat's Cradle in Chapel Hill 25 years ago. Later on the disc, the now-mature pianist flip-flops effortlessly between the cool of Thelonious Monk ("Bemsha Swing") and the tropical splendor of "The Dolphin," a cerebral samba imported from Brazil. If you've been waiting to hear Kimbrough, typically a restless spirit, play contemporary jazz with one foot rooted firmly in-the-tradition, then Here is now.


Also brand new on Brendle's LoNote imprint (<ronbrendle.com>) is Autumn, a quieter duet date again reuniting the bassist with his old pal Kimbrough.

Joe Vanderford.
The Independent

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Ron Brendle
HYPERMOBILITY
LoNote Records

This is the initial encounter on record for North Carolina bass player Ron Brendle and pianist Frank Kimbrough. They would get together several more times in the future but, even with this first meeting, it was clear there was a symbiotic bonding between the two. Kimbrough, generally noted for his hard bop, fits right in with the creative tension and tumult, the themes established for this set. There's a touch of the bop orientation on a slightly up-tempo version of Thelonious Monk's "Let's Cool One," where the pianist shares the stage with some excellent individual bass playing by Brendle while the lightly grazed drums of James Baker keep the music moving. The trio is augmented from time to time by the tenor sax of David Lail on such cuts as "Leaving," a tune by another modern jazz performer, Richie Beirach. Lail's tenor has an alto quality to it. But the highlight of this track is Kimbrough's craggy, angular harmonic doings on the piano in counterpoint with Lail and Baker's continuous drumming. The agitation comes in on such tunes as a demanding, intrusive "Parkinglot People," with Kimbrough thrusting at, rather than playing, the piano, and Lail slipping in and out with exciting improvisational statements on tenor, creating a hectic conversation with Kimbrough. Meanwhile, Brendle and Baker egg on the combatants. Brendle has a pleasant melodic interlude on this otherwise musically disturbing piece. All the music on this set is modern and/or original — no fooling around with any standards here. Given this agenda, the playing is the paramount of creative extemporizing order. Recommended.

Dave Nathan
allmusic.com

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RON BRENDLE
HYPERMOBILITY
LoNote Records

Bassist Ron Brendle's Hypermobility is an interesting recording. At times it features a lyricism reminiscent of the late Bill Evans, while at other times it features the kind of collective improvisation made popular by the ECM label in the 1970s and 1980s. In fact, when tenor saxophonist David Lail joins the trio the music takes on the quality of Keith Jarrett's excursions with Dewey Redman in the early 1970s (check out "Leaving" and TMI").

Brendle is joined by Frank Kimbrough on piano, James Baker on drums, and Lail on tenor. Together they exhibit that elusive quality that makes a collection of individuals a group in the true sense of the word. In their hands the music breathes and grows.

Although the recording features recordings by Thelonious Monk, Ornette Coleman, and Richie Beirach, the bulk of the writing is handled by Brendle and Kimbrough. On Kimbrough's "TMI," the interplay is outstanding as Brendle's bass weaves in and out with periodic hints of swing. "Not Forgetting," by Brendle, features a lyrical solo by Kimbrough and a sparse but rhythmic offering by Brendle. "Hypermobility," "New World Order?," "Subliminal Resolution," and "Parkinglot People" are also by Brendle and feature various levels of collective improvisation. On Monk's "Let's Cool One" and Ornette's "Roundtrip," the group demonstrates its ability to swing, lest we begin to think otherwise.

Throughout the proceedings, drummer James Baker provides a cushion of freedom, sometimes in the form of Polyrhythms, other times with more subtle interjections. Saxophonist David Lail also handles admirably (for example, on "Leaving," "Let's Cool One" and "Parkinglot People").

Hypermobility is an offering that showcases a group at the height of its collective powers. It is one worth searching out.

-Douglas Turner
16-Jazz South
Volume 4, Number 3

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RON BRENDLE
Hypermobility
LoNote CD 101
JAMES BAKER: dr, perc
FRANK KIMBROUGH: pno
DAVID LAIL: tn sx
Hope; Leaving; Let's Cool One; TMI; Not Forgetting; Quickening; Hypermobility; New World Order?; Roundtrip; Subliminal Resolution; Parkinglot People

Influenced by the Keith Jarrett/Paul Motian school of jazz improv, this North Carolina quartet emerges as an unlikely purveyor of a loose, flowing style seemingly more popular in Europe than in the U.S.
Highly charged, bit-ears interaction is the theme here. On Monk's "Let's Cool One," Frank Kimbrough and Brendle play solos that tumble and sprawl, the musicians melding themselves with suppleness to the tune's zig-zagging changes. They've captured the kinetic give-and-take that comes from intense listening and serious time spent on their instruments.
A former Berklee instructor and occasional member of pianist James Williams' quartet, Baker is a playful drummer, his style falling between the sensitivity of Jon Christensen and the forthright, pummeling swing of Jack DeJohnette. On the title track he's inventive, tumbling over cowbells and hand-muting cymbals, while on Coleman's "Roundtrip" he zips off fullset polyrhythms while expanding on the tune's extroverted structure.
Hypermobility is a surprising album from an unlikely jazz corner of the country.

-Ken Micallef
Modern Drummer Magazine

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Ron Brendle - Hypermobility (LoNote). Brendle has made a name playing in Faction, a Charlotte group known for its hard bop style. However, on Hypermobility, he defies convention by shaping the music into a thoroughly modern sound that defies labels. Pianist Frank Kimbrough, a Roxboro native who stays busy these days gigging in New York, teams with Brendle to recall the tandems of Keith Jarrett/Charlie Haden and Paul Bley/Steve Swallow. They are joined by tenor man David Lail and Faction drummer James Baker.
Two Kimbrough compositions, "Hope" and "Quickening," show off the rapport he has with Brendle. On both, the understated piano is countered by low-end bass notes. Brendle's sparse playing is deep, both emotionally and sonically. "TMI," another Kimbrough tune, is a challenging piece, which features bluesy work from Lail.
Brendle's "New World Order?" and "Subliminal Resolution" are short, quick-paced group improvisations which satisfy, while leaving the listener wanting more. The quartet mines Monk's "Let's Cool One" and Ornette Coleman's "Roundtrip" for rich veins full of modern sounds and new interpretations. Again, Brendle is notable for his strong pulse during ensemble sections and his subdued, yet probing, solos.

SPECTATOR

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Best Recording By Local Artist:

Hypermobility by Ron Brendle (LoNote). A great effort in what was a good year for local artists' recordings; not only an inventive, tumultuous disc, but one of the finest jazz releases of the year nationally.

CREATIVE LOAFING

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Ron Brendle, Hypermobility (LoNOTE Records). Operating out of Charlotte, young Brendle is the bass behind Faction, a hard-swinging but conventional hard-bop outfit. But there's nothing conventional about Hypermobility, which thumbs its nose at jazz orthodoxy and points it into the future. Like a mountain river, Brendle's deep pulse propels the music in dynamic spurts. You hear the rush of white water, then pause by a crisp, motionless pool Those who still lament the breakup of Keith Jarrett's searching American quartet can find its spiritual descendent here in the conversation between Brendle and piano wiz Frank Kimbrough.

-Joe Vanderford
THE INDEPENDENT WEEKLY

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RON BRENDLE
HYPERMOBILITY,
LONOTE 101.
Hope / Leaving / Let's Cool One / TMI / Not Forgetting / Quickening / Hypermobility / New World Order? / Roundtrip / Subliminal Resolution / Parkinglot People. 65:19.
Brendle, b; Frank Kimbrough, p; David Lail, ts; James Baker, d. 3/4/& 5/92, Charlotte, NC.

As a reviewer, I'm often tempted to ease up on regional releases. The effort and dedication of creative musicians working outside the major music power centers provides the only unifying factor among such releases. But in the end I come down on the side of critical purity. If this sort of self-produced creative music deserves serious consideration, it should do so on equal terms with the more establishment product. A regional release like Ron Brendle's Hypermobility justifies this approach.
These musicians hold their own against anyone. Though the program is varied, it also coalesces into a unified statement. The group is at its best operating in the center of its stylistic range, freer material that's still informed by a sense of structure. Coleman's "Roundtrip," Kinbrough's "TMI" and "Quickening" and Brendle's Parkinglot People" exemplify the ensemble at its best. Here and throughout the disc, the point of reference for Kimbrough's playing is Paul Bley. I'm not talking about a carbon copy, but rather about inspiration creatively developed. The leader fits this pattern. He has a warm, woody sound, and a lyric, quite Hadenesque way of turning a phrase. But again, I'm talking about a fresh voice emerging through the inspiration of a more established voice.
Brendle as an accompanist provides strong counter melodies. Drummer James Baker fits the ensemble perfectly, managing to be at once sensitive to group interaction, but always challenging the others with polyrhythmic flurries and textural variations. Tenor saxophonist David Lail appears on five cuts. He comes across as something of a chameleon, blending in with the character of the tune without ever asserting a voice of his own. Still the way he swaggers through "TMI" and his wonderful emulation of Ornette on "Roundtrip" are especially enjoyable, and the rest of his work is never less than solid.
Consumers, especially those with limited budgets, are understandably leery of chasing after the self-produced sessions. Well, in this case, they needn't be. Catch this one while you can.

-David Dupont
CADENCE
(208)
Vol. 19 No. 4 - Various


Discography

Ron Brendle and Mike Holstein RHIZOME LoNote Records

Ron Brendle PHOTOGRAPH w/ Frank Kimbrough and Al Sergel LoNote Records

Ron Brendle HERE w/ Frank Kimbrough and Al Sergel LoNote Records

Ron Brendle HYPERMOBILITY w/ Frank Kimbrough LoNote Records

Ron Brendle AUTUMN w/ Frank Kimbrough LoNote Records

Scott Sawyer GO THERE Doll Records

Mike Strauss AFTER ALL

Big Octave BIG OCTAVE w/ John Alexander and Chris Garges LoNote Records

Viva Klezmer VIVA TRADITION

Lois Deloatch CLOSURE

Lost Dogs LIVE w/ John Alexander, Doug Henry and Al Sergel LoNote Records

Jim Brock PASAJES w/ Mel Lewis and Dick Oats Mbira Records

Jim Brock LION'S SONG HMC Records

Mike Campbell MY ROMANCE Audiophile

Mike Campbell LET'S GET AWAY FROM IT ALL Audiophile

Beth Chorneau EMERALDS, FOUNTAINS, AND TAXI CABS BC5194

Dardanelle DOWN HOME Audiophile

Marti Jones USED GUITARS A&M

Chad Lawson CHAD LAWSON TRIO CLT1400

Barbara Lewis CONVERSATION BL101

Bob Margolin UP & IN Alligator Records

The National Flute Choir HIGH ALTITUDE Alry Records

David Regan THE LEFT PEOPLE

Daryle Ryce /featuring Loonis McGlohon CAROLINA BLUE Rounder Records

Daryle Ryce UNLESS IT'S YOU Audiophile

Tod Wright CHRISTMAS TIME IS HERE WS002

Photos

Bio

Ron Brendle, a freelance bassist in the Charlotte area since 1981, was recently recognized by Charlotte Magazine as "Best Bassist." His innovative compositions and improvisational style have also earned five awards as "Jazz Artist of the Year" by Creative Loafing Magazine. Ron was the recipient of two North Carolina Arts Council Jazz Composer Fellowship Grants, which helped to produce his CDs Hypermobility and Photograph.
As a first-call bassist in the area, Ron has performed and recorded with many notable jazz artists of international stature, including Sheila Jordan, Nneena Freelon, Jason Marsalis, Clark Terry, Andrew Hill, Charlie Byrd, Bucky Pizzarelli, Barney Kessel, Ernie Watts, Charlie Rouse, Mose Allison and Frank Kimbrough.
Ron also performs numerous educational outreach concerts each year as part of the Charlotte Jazz Society and as bassist with Viva Klezmer.
Ron graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelor Degree in music. He studied bass with Charlie Haden at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna, Florida.