When Katie Smiles due October 28th, “Slap Happy” leading the way at radio
Blessed with a bountiful life of jazz, music, love, family and education, pianist Kim Pensyl united his passions in a celebration of intimately inspired melodies and robust rhythm tracks on his fourteenth album, When Katie Smiles, scheduled for release October 28th from Penton Music Productions. The eleven new compositions written, arranged and produced by Pensyl mark his return to contemporary jazz where he previously charted four top 10 Billboard contemporary jazz albums. Powered by a deep bass and thick drum beats, the first single that was just serviced to radio, “Slap Happy” boasts Pensyl’s nimble contra piano melodies in the foreground while he peppers the background with haunting keyboard fills.
A labor of love like his previous releases, When Katie Smiles finds Pensyl poignantly relishing mundane pleasures sparked from the simple give and take exchanges between people. He infuses his music with the same outlook by allowing his talented quartet to interact and improvise spawning moments of spontaneous splendor. His melodies are joyous, contemplative, heartfelt and eloquent, thoughtfully yet organically given space to breathe, unfold and flow in uncluttered arrangements. The production sounds live and warm as Pensyl’s piano and keyboards are enriched yet never out-muscled by the bass (Andy Woodson), drums (Reggie Jackson), electric and acoustic guitars (Kevin Turner) or percussion (Jim Ed Cobbs). In addition to the single, spotlight selections include the snappy title track that opens the collection, the beautiful and audaciously arranged “Where’d Love Go?,” the exquisite and expansive “Grand Lake,” the inviting and homey “Gentlewind Dr.,” and “Love Comes First,” which closes the album in a cinematically sweet mood.
“As on all my albums, When Katie Smiles is about communicating feelings born of my life experiences. This makes each album something very personal, emotional and expressive, but it also makes me a bit apprehensive since I put myself in such a vulnerable position by sharing my feelings so openly. However, the chance to communicate deeply with listeners is certainly worth the risk. It creates a bond of understanding that I treasure,” explained Pensyl. “My music is a positive light, deeply committed, and is offered with sincerity in the hope it will bring joy to others by sharing part of my life.”
Pensyl’s lust for music was born in the heart of the Columbus, Ohio native during the musical heyday of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. He first picked up the trumpet and extensively studied composition, arranging, production, engineering and performing. He explored genres of music with fervor from jazz, big band, chamber and orchestral to rock, R&B and pop. After graduating The Ohio State University School of Music with honors, Pensyl moved to Southern California where he earned a Master’s degree in composition. He returned to Columbus after gaining valuable experience on the road performing and writing arrangements for various touring groups. Pensyl captained his own band at local gigs and also played solo piano dates. This led to the recording of his debut album, Pensyl Sketches #1, which was released twenty years ago. In 1989, ASCAP named him Best New Jazz Writer and two years later, NARM selected Pensyl Sketches #3 as Jazz Album of the Year. Twice Pensyl made Billboard’s top 20 Contemporary Jazz Artists of the Year. The dedicated family man who still wields the trumpet and piano has recorded with Toots Thielemans, Joey Calderazzo, Steve Rodby, Chieli Minucci, Alex Acuna, Adam Nussbaum, Andy Narell, Chuck Bergeron and Will Kennedy among others. He’s toured extensively throughout the world and has performed with his band on PBS, BET Jazz and Mexico TV. His albums have been diverse collections of modern acoustic jazz, contemporary jazz, solo piano renderings and even Christmas music.
Remaining a wide-eyed student of music himself, Pensyl took on the role of teacher in 2000 when he accepted a faculty position at The Ohio State University. Four years later, he joined the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati where he is an integral part of the Jazz Studies program. Pensyl writes for and performs with guest artists at the university such as Arturo Sandoval, Bob Mintzer and Terri Lyne Carrington. He enjoys sharing his immense knowledge, vast experience and great love of music with his students. Enthused and committed to challenging himself in his writing and performance, Pensyl plays concerts regularly in Ohio and is anxious to take the band out on the national circuit in support of When Katie Smiles. Additional information is available at www.kimpensyl.com.
The songs contained on Pensyl’s When Katie Smiles are:
“When Katie Smiles”
“Where’d Love Go?”
“Here Comes The Rain”
“Beside The Shallow Pond”
“On This Day”
“Love Comes First”