In Kohl's hands, each tune is an expedition, and his patient, painterly approach uncovers jewels.
Jazz guitarist Frank Kohl was born and raised in the NYC metro area. He began playing guitar at age 7. He started his journey into jazz by joining his award-winning high school jazz band. Musicians such as Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Pat Martino and Jim Hall were milestones along the way of his musical development. One of his greatest influences was at a jazz club in NY called Rapsins. Here he could listen to uncompromised, cutting-edge jazz of the highest level with musicians like Linc Chamberlin (guitar), Lyn Christie (bass), and Dave Liebman (saxophone). Later Frank became a student of Linc and soon he was performing with Lyn Christie.
"I remember around this time going to see Tony Williams Lifetime with John McLaughlin and organist Larry Young. My idea of what jazz was forever changed. I knew then that anything was possible in jazz."
In 1972 Frank attended Berklee College of Music and graduated in 1976 with honors. Students and teachers at that time at Berklee included John Scofield, Pat Metheny, Steve Swallow and Gary Burton.
After Berklee, Frank moved back to NY and performed professionally. In 1981, he released his first LP: Reform by The Frank Kohl Quartet featuring bassist Michael Moore. Around 1983 Frank moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and performed his music for years and became a member of Don McCaslin Sr.'s band Warmth. In 1990 Frank moved to Seattle where he lives today performing at NW jazz clubs such as Tula's, Boxley's, Egan's, and The Jazz Station. Frank also spends time in NY recording and performing at clubs like Small's, The Metropolitan Room, and The Bean Runner.
In 2008 Frank recorded his second quartet CD, Coast to Coast, in NY with brother and pianist, Tom Kohl. It received rave reviews from Cadence Magazine, All About Jazz, and Mike Stern, to name a few. He followed with two other quartet recordings featuring his brother Tom, bassist Steve LaSpina and drummer Doty—2013's Invisible Man and 2017's Rising Tide. An intimate trio outing in 2020, The Crossing, featuring him with bassist LaSpina and fellow guitarist, frequent duo partner and kindred spirit John Stowell, another under-recognized jazz guitar master from the Pacific Northwest. Kohl's other 2020 release, the aptly titled Solitude, was done during the pandemic and also marked his first foray on record into solo guitar.
Members of Frank's quartet vary. In Seattle you can hear him with Bill Anchell, John Hansen, Jeff Johnson, Steve Luceno, Matt Jorgensen, Greg Williamson, and others. In NY, Steve LaSpina, Tom Kohl, Steve Roane, Jon Doty, and others.
"His soaring solos and swinging tunes unveil a spirit tuned into the moment and where the notes may lead...his solos sing true with room for breath and emotion." Earshot Jazz
For more information about Frank Kohl, please visit: https://frankkohl.com/.
Marco de Carvalho
Will St Peter