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Joe Lovano & Hank Jones: Kids: Duets Live at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola

At this stage in his remarkable career, the lovely fall of his prime as it were, any recording featuring Hank Jones is apt to be viewed as a conversation piece, at least to some extent. The pianist is, after all, on the verge of celebrating his 89th birthday.

Kids, however, is a series of delightful conversations in itself, inspired by a collection of swing, bop and pop tunes. Those familiar with the pair’s recent Blue Note recordings-2004’s I’m All for You-Ballad Songbook and 2005’s Joyous Encounter-will recognize certain traits, not least being Jones’ attentive and unfussy accompaniments. But on this intimate date, recorded live in Manhattan, what’s particularly apparent is the ease with which Lovano and Jones exchange ideas while complementing not just each other but also the tune at hand. The duo’s performances cover a lot of ground, from vibrantly animated bop flag-wavers (“Budo” and the Lovano-penned “Charlie Chan”) to hauntingly soulful balladry (“Lazy Afternoon,” the album’s soprano-limned coda).

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