Franklin Kiermyer, “Heliocentric” from Closer To The Sun (2016): Something Else! video premiere

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Lately I’ve been revisiting Pharoah Sanders’ entire discography (believe everything you read about Karma, it really is a masterpiece), and remains astounding how he can turn listening to jazz into a transcendental meditation experience. There’s only one Pharoah, but many of the more daring jazz cats in his wake have taken inspiration from him, as well as that final, fiery Coltrane period when Sanders was adding his passionate sax to the tenor giant’s.

Franklin Kiermyer doesn’t play saxophone — he plays drums — but he’s found enlightenment in the intense fervor and soul of Sanders, who was present on the drummer’s well-received third album Solomon’s Daughter from 1994. Not too long after then, this promising but overlooked musician dropped nearly out of sight for over fifteen years, reaching for a higher plane of spiritual fulfillment and start a family. Productive again musically since around 2013, Kiermyer is back better than ever.

Backed by a potent young trio consisting of Lawrence Clark (saxophone), Davis Whitfield (piano) and Otto Gardner (bass), he’s holding nothing back with his newfound energy. Closer To The Sun (November 11, 2016, Mobility Music) is a vigorous but focused effort that stirs up the spirits of Coltrane and Sanders within Kiermyer’s own dialect and robust compositions. So focused, that Kiermyer can fully pack the dynamite in radio single-length songs, such as “Heliocentric,” debuting in the video above. With Clark, Whitfield and Gardner racing up and down and back up again, Kiermyer romps and swings in a controlled fury that few outside of Elvin Jones is capable of doing.

Recorded live in the studio with no edits or overdubs, “Heliocentric” and the rest of Closer To The Sun reintroduces the audacious idea of jazz as a living, breathing thing.


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