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Mike Nock/Marty Ehrlich: The Waiting Game

Mike Nock is a pianist I’d like to hear more of, though his choice of domicile-Australia for these past 15 years-seems somehow to argue against that. His co-creator in these efforts, Marty Ehrlich, is a committed New Yorker, but the meeting of minds here couldn’t be more complete. Nock will never overwhelm you with technique: choice is the operative word here, as a noun describing his musical process, as an adjective describing the results. Ehrlich is a master of line and nuance: his voice adapts to each of the various instruments: clarinet, bass clarinet, alto and soprano saxes. Take “Break Time,” for example: Ehrlich, in alto mode, and Nock take on a theme that sketches out ascending figures framing a raggy, Gershwinesque phrase. From there, the two extract all the elements and improvise freely without ever losing contact with the framing composition. Masterful work, representative of the set as a whole.

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