Jack Kilby and the Front Line showcase verve and talent on “Love Is a Song Anyone Can Sing”


“Love Is a Song Anyone Can Sing” is part two of a dual-parted release from Jack Kilby and the Frontline. The music on the release is energetic and invigorating. The warm rhythms help listeners forget that they are hearing the music in the middle of a winter season marked by Artic temperatures. The music the ensemble presents is like the best spring day anyone could imagine. Bright color, a perfect amount of sun and people listening to great jazz wearing happy, pastel colors. All of these images come to mind just with the first song.

The recording features unique takes on classic songs by those inside and outside the realm of jazz. Most notably, the ensemble takes on songs by Radiohead (“Life in a Glasshouse”), Vanessa Williams (“Colors of the Wind”) and Herbie Hancock (“Driftin'”).

About Jack Kilby and the Front Line

The group’s members are separated chronologically by decades in some cases. What they have in common is a willingness to play the best jazz they can.

The band is constituted of bandleader Jack Kilby on drums, who is 29. Kilby attended college with Kris Monson who plays bass. both grew up in northern Virginia and went to the University of Virginia. It was at the University of Virginia that the two met veteran trumpet player John D’earth. Saxophonist Charles Owens also grew up in Northern Virginia. He had a student-teacher relationship with D’earth. The group is augmented on the recording by trombones and vocalists and other performers. The result is a rich sound that manages to demonstrate the songs’ nuances and the performers’ finesse.


“Love Is a Song Anyone Can Sing” by Jack Kilby and the Front Line

There are two volumes worth of songs on the disc. There is an old-school crispness to each part of the instrumentation. While the music doesn’t “sound” like rock ‘n’ roll, it does sometimes have the bite or verve of rock music. “Hippysippy Blues” for example, is a wonderful piece of music. The horns blare and sear at just the right times, the piano’s reverberation sends shivers of “what just happened here?” through listeners.

“Driftin'” is perfectly moody and bluesy. The up and down feel embodies how instruments can work to express what people feel. The way all pieces of the ensemble work together is like a machine with an excellent sense of jazz, blues and rhythm.

“Love Is a Song Anyone Can Sing” invites listeners to the party that celebrates how jazz intersects with other genres. It sounds like a celebration of human spirit, which never goes out of style. This is a must-have album for all jazz fans.


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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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