Musician - August 2010
: Frank Tribble
Early Years/Education: I
lived in Des Moines, Iowa for 34 years, but I was born in Cincinnati,
Ohio. I went to college in Des Moines and stayed there. I met my
partner Ingrid there as well. She had lived in Portland in the ’70s and
had always wanted to come back. She’s actually from Coos Bay. I had
heard about the music scene, and the weather was a draw, too. I’ve
always had a day job. I worked for the state of Iowa for years. I
studied art education and taught art for awhile. For a long time I
aspired to be a painter. But I’ve always played music since I was in
high school. There was always a choice of continuing doing art or
continuing doing music. The music won out.
Started on guitar in
late junior high, ’63-’65. I was inspired by Roy Rodgers initially. He
was a singing cowboy who played the guitar. I remember he came to my
elementary school and played. My first guitar was a steel string
acoustic my father bought for me at a pawn shop. The action was so high
I could hardly play it. Soon after that I bought myself a better guitar
with the money I made at Joe Shoe Repair. Joe listened to music in the
shop while he repaired shoes, and I was one of the shine boys. On
Saturdays I’d hear about a lot of great musicians while I worked. In
high school I hung out with a crowd of guys who loved jazz. Every
morning before class we’d hang out in the cafeteria and play our music.
Most of the time it was jazz. The teacher who led the school band was a
jazz trumpeter. I got to play guitar in the last show. My first gig was
during my first semester in college at Drake University. There was a
lot of great jazz in Des Moines at that time. People who were on their
way to Chicago or Kansas City would stop in Des Moines. I graduated
with an art degree and taught art for a time. I also worked for the
state of Iowa’s civil rights commission. I taught civil rights law,
diversity and related topics around the state. I also helped put
together an arts festival called “I’ll Make Me a World” that’s still
going on today. I also have a younger brother, Dwight, who lives in Los
Angeles and is a vocalist. He’s sung with Pharaoh Sanders, Charles
moved to Portland in ’02. Somebody suggested I go to one of Ron Steen’s
jams. I met saxophonist Noah Peterson at one of those; he called me a
year later and offered me a job. We still play together. Skip Elliott
Bowman and I met and had our first gig in Salem in ’03. We have a group
called “Tribble Play.” The first time I met Andre St James was at a gig
at Hump’s (on hwy 30 on the way to Astoria). Andre called me for
another gig and introduced me to the drummer Nick Saume, and we decided
to form the Andre St James Trio. I’m also in Thara Memory’s Super Band.
I love playing funk and R&B, I grew up listening to that kind of
music. I play with Richard Arnold, Ellen Whyte, and did have a three
year stint at the Benson Hotel playing solo in the restaurant.
Kenny Burrell, Wes Montgomery, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Lee Morgan,
Woody Shaw, Freddie Hubbard, Chic Corea, Jim Hall, Scott Henderson,
Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, Tony Williams, Stanley Clarke, Larry
Carlton, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane and the Adderly Brothers.
Most Satisfying Experience:
One was recording my last CD, “Quite Frankly.” It gave me a chance to
record my original music. Another is whenever I dream about a new tune
and am able to remember it and write it down when I get up in the
morning. It’s also very satisfying when playing with the trio and we’re
all in the zone, that’s something special. The thing about this music
is there’s always something new to learn. And there’s always going to
be someone around who does something different with it. Another great
experience was opening for Ronnie Laws and Kenny Loggins back in Iowa.
Wes Montgomery, “Tequila”; Miles Davis, “Quintet Live at Carnegie Hall
’65”; Herbie Hancock, “Maiden Voyage,” “Headhunters”; Lee Morgan,
“Search for the New Land” ; Chic Corea, “Elektric Band”; - Jim Hall and
Ron Carter, “Alone Together”; Lifetime (Tony William’s group),
“Emergency”; George Benson, “Live in L A”; and guitarist Scott
Most recent was “Quite Frankly” ’09. Mike Van Lieu on piano. It’s
somewhere between contemporary and a little bit fusion-oriented.
There’s Latin and pure funk tracks, too. It’s available on CD Baby and
at Music Millennium. “Back Home,” ’03, is a duo project with a piano
player from West Africa. “Merging of Souls,” recorded in the ’90s, was
a partnership with another guitarist, Rod Leaverton. It has all
original material with lots of great guest musicians.
Every Wednesday, 6-9 pm, Aloft Hotel; most Saturdays, Doc George’s Jazz
Kitchen; Jimmy Mak’s 8-3; Newport, August 13; Maryhill Winery, 8-28,
all with the Trio; with the Thara Memory Super Band, Jimmy Mak’s, 8-14.
To record more. I really want to do something with the trio. We have a
sound right now, and I’ve written one piece since I’ve been with them.
I’d also like to find venues for the kind of music represented on
“Quite Frankly.” To do this I’d have to put a new band together that
wants to play my material.
-- by Rita Rega