Drummer Franklin Kiermyer has been a respected player on the US jazz scene for decades, though he’s only recorded a few albums, with a long break in between. He debuted as a leader with 1992’s Break Down the Walls, an album that featured trumpet, trombone, tuba and French horn, in addition to piano, bass, and drums. It was 1994’s Solomon’s Daughter that made his name, though; it featured some of the fiercest playing saxophonist Pharoah Sanders had offered in years (this was around the same time that Sanders traveled to Ethiopia with producer Bill Laswell to make The Trance of Seven Colors, a collaboration with traditional Gnawa musicians). The follow-up, 1995’s Kairos, featured an entirely new band, including Sam Rivers on one track, and was more diffuse, but just as creative. Kiermyer made only two more albums in the 20th Century—1999’s Auspicious Blazing Sun and 2000’s Sanctification. Then he disappeared, spending a dozen years studying Tibetan Buddhism and meditating. He didn’t re-enter the recording studio until 2014, when he recorded Further with saxophonist Azar Lawrence, pianist Benito Gonzalez, and bassist Juini Booth.
His latest album, Closer to the Sun, is out November 11. Produced by Kiermyer and Michael Cuscuna, it features saxophonist Lawrence Clark, pianist Davis Whitfield, and bassist Otto Gardner. We’re premiering a track from it today. Here’s a video for “For Arthur Rhames”:
For those who don’t know, Arthur Rhames was a multi-instrumentalist (guitar, piano, saxophone and melodica) who achieved great renown on the New York scene in the late 1970s, but never managed to get signed; he died in 1989, leaving behind only two recordings—a duo album with Rashied Ali, and a trio date with pianist John Esposito (who appears on Kiermyer’s Solomon’s Daughter, Kairos, and Sanctification) and drummer Jeff Siegel.