One Track Mind: Peter Frampton, “Hummingbird in a Box” from Hummingbird in a Box (2014)

“Hummingbird in a Box” couldn’t be more different than talk-box guitar-hero stuff of yesterday — or even the Grammy-winning 2006 instrumental recording Fingerprints that also saw Peter Frampton collaborating with Gordon Kennedy.

Instead, this advance track from Frampton’s forthcoming EP Hummingbird in a Box boasts a delicate profundity, this Django Reinhardt-esque sense of both speed and precision. Frampton may not be the arena superstar he once was, but his playing has never had a deeper complexity.

Frampton sources of inspiration these days have become equally as compelling: Dancers with the Cincinnati Ballet helped spark this new project. Frampton learned that the group had choreographed a production using music from the terrific Fingerprints, along with “Not Forgotten” from 2003’s Now, and was so impressed that he offered to create new music for a future performance.

In April 2013, the Cincy Ballet presented two dance segments focusing on older music, and a third based on these new works from Frampton and Gordon — with Frampton playing live as accompaniment. The guitarist subsequently developed the compositions into the Hummingbird in a Box studio effort, due June 23, 2014 from RED Distribution. Cincinnati Ballet has since performed the Frampton suite again, this time in New York City to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

Nick DeRiso

Over a 30-year career, Nick DeRiso has also explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz, Ultimate Classic Rock and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Contact him at