Dave and Larry Koonse: Dialogues of the Heart

In recent years, Larry Koonse of Los Angeles has appeared on fine recordings by Billy Childs, Charlie Haden and Bob Brookmeyer, among others. His father, Dave Koonse, has worked with the likes of George Shearing, Red Norvo and Dick Cary. The Koonses recorded guitar duets as far back as 1977, so Dialogues of the Heart, recorded in 1997, marks their 20-year reunion on wax. It’s a lovely standards session, mellow and casual but full of rigorous and inventive playing, with Larry mixed slightly left, Dave slightly right. There’s a bit of room ambience to the sound, giving it more of a club than a studio flavor.

The tunes are smartly interpreted, with such refreshing choices as “Django,” “You Must Believe in Spring,” “Isfahan,” “Everything I Love,” “Young and Foolish” and “Summer Nights” (as a ballad). Generally speaking, the father is an old-school minimalist, the son a bracing modernist with more substantial technique. But both are swinging and musically in tune, from the first choruses of the leadoff track, “Beautiful Love.” Larry also includes a melodic, minor-key original titled “Jazz Passacaglia.”

David R. Adler

David R. Adler writes about jazz and assorted topics. His work has appeared in JazzTimes, NPR Music, WBGO.org, The Philadelphia InquirerThe Village Voice, DownBeat, Time Out New York, and many other publications. From 2010-2017 he taught jazz history at the Aaron Copland School of Music (Queens College-CUNY). In summer 2017, after 30 years in New York (apart from two in Philadelphia), David relocated with his family to Athens, Georgia. There he continues to write about music and perform solo as a guitarist/vocalist.