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Denny Zeitlin/David Friesen: Live at the Jazz Bakery

The interactive free improvisation of pianist Denny Zeitlin and bassist David Friesen flows seamlessly throughout this date recorded at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles in 1996. The album’s most alluring attribute is the brilliant individualism that comes forth within the context of collaboration.

Highlights of the eight tracks include the rich complexities of John Coltrane’s “Equinox” and Wayne Shorter’s “Nefertiti,” as well as the timeless romance of Ray Noble’s “The Touch of Your Lips.” But it is the album’s original compositions that most intrigued me. Zeitlin’s “Triptych” is a multidimensional work of tension and release, while his “Epiphany” swings with both grace and fire. Friesen’s “Other Times, Other Places” is a pure and pretty piece, while “Upon the Swing” is in the bop mode. Zeitlin contributes colorfully warm harmonics and an expressive spontaneity, as Friesen’s confident intensity creates a supportive infrastructure that encourages this freedom.

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