Frank McComb is a brilliant singer and musician. Just don’t ask him to get up from the piano and dance around with a group of hotties a la Usher or some other modern day pop star. He’s recorded albums with both major and independent record labels (2000’s “Love Stories” on Columbia Records and 2003’s “Truth” on Malibu Sessions), and so far, neither have supported or promoted his music in a way that his talent warrants. Some of this may be because McComb’s style is somewhat hard to categorize, which seems to be terribly challenging for most folks at large record companies. His music resides in this heavenly space somewhere between classic soul and contemporary jazz. And he can even do a mean gospel tune, as evidenced by his “straight out of a Baptist Church” version of “Eye Is On The Sparrow” on “Love Stories.”
McComb hails from Cleveland, and it was there that he started playing piano, at age 12, and formed a trio while still a teenager. In the early 90s, he got a gig as the Musical Director for Cleveland-based R&B group, The Rude Boys (who had the popular single, “Written All Over Your Face”). This led to a move to Philadelphia, and a stint as a session writer and musician for Gamble and Huff, which included tracks for Teddy Pendergrass, Phyllis Hyman, and many others. McComb’s first record deal came in 1991 with Motown, where he remained for 5 years, recording enough material for two albums. Motown never released anything from McComb, possibly because of that pesky “hard to categorize” thing. After 5 years of waiting for something to materialize, McComb walked away, and moved to Los Angeles. Soon he caught the attention of jazz great Branford Marsalis, and became the featured singer for Buckshot LeFonque. McComb’s first album finally materialized with “Love Stories,” a critically acclaimed album that should have garnered McComb a lot more recognition and sales. His worthy follow-up, “Truth” was only available as a pricey import to U.S. fans until recently, when soul music websites like dustygroove.com started selling it, because as McComb puts it, “You can’t stop a good record from livin’.” He’s also offering fans a new collection of songs, called “Straight from the Vault,” which he’s selling on his own.
After talking to him for a few minutes, it’s clear that McComb has emerged from his musical journey not bitter, but wiser about the industry and his place in it. He’s says he’s thankful to have acquired a loyal following and the ability to share his unique brand of jazzy soul to packed houses in the States and abroad. McComb recently talked about the ups and downs of the music business, and why he loves the piano so much.
For more information about Frank McComb, visit http://www.frankmccomb.info