Between The Lines
Bassist John Lindberg and pianist-vibist Karl Berger first met in 1975 when the former began studies at Berger’s Creative Music Studio in Woodstock. Thirty years later, the duo reconvened for this set, which celebrates their ability to work in a variety of moods. In a reading of Ornette Coleman’s “Peace,” with Berger on vibes, they continually stop mid-theme to interject a subdued musical comment on the piece, before returning to the theme. Lindberg, who once saluted Coleman’s late bandmate David Izenson with a solo bass album, revisits two of Izenson’s pieces here, “I Am a Leaf for Today” and “In My Mind’s Eye.” His tone drives the sweet “Leaf” and he shows off his bowing skills over Berger’s strong rubato vibes on the latter, starting with the gentle theme and passionately moving up the neck and up in fire.
The duo’s original pieces offer just as many bright moments as their interpretations. Berger’s “Innocuous” is a moving ballad that places him at the piano, an instrument that reveals an individual blend of grace with a sense of blues each time he sits down. Lindberg’s “3-3-3-7” is built around those four rhythmic groupings and drives hard even without any additional instruments. When things move to free territory on “Ancient Warmth,” it seems no other instruments are needed since anything else would get in the way of this deep-seated dialogue.