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John Carroll Kirby|My Garden

My Garden

John Carroll Kirby

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Veteran session musician, keyboardist, composer, and producer John Carroll Kirby has laced Grammy-nominated songs by Norah Jones ("Chasing Pirates") and Solange ("Cranes in the Sky"), and counts Sébastien Tellier, Bat for Lashes, Frank Ocean, and Harry Styles among the other artists whose songs have been illuminated by his fine touch. Having established a series of conceptual and primarily instrumental solo releases for assorted labels, Kirby linked with Stones Throw in 2019. My Garden was intended to be the first album through his new outlet. It arrived as planned in April 2020 but was preceded earlier that month by Conflict, a surprise digital-only release offered in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Whereas the tranquil Conflict was strictly piano-based with minimal shading, My Garden is more varied, a bit livelier and, well, verdant -- generous, homespun avant-pop instrumentals underpinned by new age and jazz. The nine pieces may seem like rudimentary sketches with casual listening. In time, they start to coalesce with the themes in the track titles, which fluctuate from earthen and elemental to spiritual and mythical, and reveal the purpose and thoughtfulness in Kirby's playing. Right after the opening "Blueberry Beads," a somewhat forceful and bumping number redolent of his work on Solange's "Down with the Clique," Kirby settles into a mode of restful wonderment, sometimes emphasizing shakuhachi-like trills and undulating synthesizer patterns, and occasionally forgoing piano altogether (as he did on 2017's Travel and 2018's Meditations in Music). Apart from those exceptions, Kirby's piano is central. Only in the opening of "Wind," in which the notes flow in free-spirited clusters, does it stray from a lyrical simplicity that extends friendly companionship. Whether compared to the progressions of Kirby's cross-continental inspirations (Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou, Andrew Hill, Yoshio Suzuki) or those of his nearest contemporaries (such as Garrett and Bremer/McCoy), My Garden is its own gratifying thing.
© Andy Kellman /TiVo

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My Garden

John Carroll Kirby

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1
Blueberry Beads
00:03:27

John Kirby, Composer - John Carroll Kirby, MainArtist

2020 Stones Throw Records 2020 Stones Throw Records

2
By The Sea
00:04:59

John Kirby, Composer - John Carroll Kirby, MainArtist

2020 Stones Throw Records 2020 Stones Throw Records

3
Night Croc
00:03:29

John Kirby, Composer - John Carroll Kirby, MainArtist

2020 Stones Throw Records 2020 Stones Throw Records

4
Arroyo Seco
00:04:48

John Kirby, Composer - John Carroll Kirby, MainArtist

2020 Stones Throw Records 2020 Stones Throw Records

5
Son Of Pucabufeo
00:01:59

John Kirby, Composer - John Carroll Kirby, MainArtist

2020 Stones Throw Records 2020 Stones Throw Records

6
San Nicolas Island
00:01:52

John Kirby, Composer - John Carroll Kirby, MainArtist

2020 Stones Throw Records 2020 Stones Throw Records

7
Humid Mood
00:03:17

John Kirby, Composer - John Carroll Kirby, MainArtist

2020 Stones Throw Records 2020 Stones Throw Records

8
Lay You Down
00:02:48

John Kirby, Composer - John Carroll Kirby, MainArtist

2020 Stones Throw Records 2020 Stones Throw Records

9
Wind
00:05:27

John Kirby, Composer - John Carroll Kirby, MainArtist

2020 Stones Throw Records 2020 Stones Throw Records

Album Description

Veteran session musician, keyboardist, composer, and producer John Carroll Kirby has laced Grammy-nominated songs by Norah Jones ("Chasing Pirates") and Solange ("Cranes in the Sky"), and counts Sébastien Tellier, Bat for Lashes, Frank Ocean, and Harry Styles among the other artists whose songs have been illuminated by his fine touch. Having established a series of conceptual and primarily instrumental solo releases for assorted labels, Kirby linked with Stones Throw in 2019. My Garden was intended to be the first album through his new outlet. It arrived as planned in April 2020 but was preceded earlier that month by Conflict, a surprise digital-only release offered in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Whereas the tranquil Conflict was strictly piano-based with minimal shading, My Garden is more varied, a bit livelier and, well, verdant -- generous, homespun avant-pop instrumentals underpinned by new age and jazz. The nine pieces may seem like rudimentary sketches with casual listening. In time, they start to coalesce with the themes in the track titles, which fluctuate from earthen and elemental to spiritual and mythical, and reveal the purpose and thoughtfulness in Kirby's playing. Right after the opening "Blueberry Beads," a somewhat forceful and bumping number redolent of his work on Solange's "Down with the Clique," Kirby settles into a mode of restful wonderment, sometimes emphasizing shakuhachi-like trills and undulating synthesizer patterns, and occasionally forgoing piano altogether (as he did on 2017's Travel and 2018's Meditations in Music). Apart from those exceptions, Kirby's piano is central. Only in the opening of "Wind," in which the notes flow in free-spirited clusters, does it stray from a lyrical simplicity that extends friendly companionship. Whether compared to the progressions of Kirby's cross-continental inspirations (Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou, Andrew Hill, Yoshio Suzuki) or those of his nearest contemporaries (such as Garrett and Bremer/McCoy), My Garden is its own gratifying thing.
© Andy Kellman /TiVo

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