Izumi Kimura & Gerry Hemingway: Kairos 

Piano and percussion play five improvisations ranging from the reflective to the tumultuous plus two compositions and a traditional song


Kairos is the second collaboration between Ireland-based Japanese pianist Izumi Kimura and Switzerland-based American percussionist Gerry Hemingway. These are versatile musicians – Kimura has worked in classical, jazz and improvised contexts.

The album was recorded in Kimura’s adopted hometown, Dublin and in Hemingway’s adopted hometown, Lucerne, in 2022. Kairos is the ancient Greek word for time, and its exploration makes this an apt title. The eight tracks comprise five duo improvisations, plus one track composed by each musician and one traditional song. Effects throughout are subtle, delicate and enigmatic.

Kimura and Hemingway slow time almost to stasis in the minimal, contemplative Dendrochronology that opens the album – named after the science of tree rings and the climatic and other changes they record. In this suspenseful improvisation, the resonating timbres of piano, marimba, vibraphone and drum-kit are beautifully judged. The clattering, clangorous Water Thief offers a complete contrast. With prepared piano and drum-kit, this driving piece is intriguing and compelling. Day Into Night is a spectral, phantasmagoric improvisation.

The title track is a very free and intuitive improvisation, while Kimura’s brief Chronostrata – meaning “layers of time” – is intense, turbulent free jazz. It’s followed by the beautifully plangent Cloud Echoes. Over The Tide is an arrangement of the Bahaman-based Pindar family’s recording, with vocals by Hemingway, while Circadian Twilight is a brief, delicate, tintinnabular exploration. Kairos is a model of sympathetic and eventful improvisation, and an outstanding release.

Dendrochronology; Water Thief; Day Into Night; Chronostrata; Cloud Echoes; Kairos; Over The Tide; Circadian Twilight (42.47)
Izumi Kimura (p); Gerry Hemingway (pc). Lucerne, 13-14 August 2022; Dublin, 17 May 2022. 
Fundacja Słuchaj! FSR07/2023