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Stefon Harris/Jacky Terrasson: Kindred

One of the most frustrating things about Jacky Terrasson’s last CD, A Paris, was him using vibraphonist Stefon Harris only on the too-short closing track, “Metro.” Apparently that funky vignette was a sly segue to this exhilarating project, Kindred, which, like its namesake, wonderfully captures the enormous empathy shared between these two intrepid composer-instrumentalists.

If Terrasson’s playing seemed a bit drowned out by A Paris’ arching conception, he takes no prisoners on this speedball of a CD. With Harris’ impeccable timing, pianistic ideas and love for high-speed chase, Terrasson has to turn it up a notch or two, and he does so to great effect. After opening with a frolicsome reading of “My Foolish Heart,” which quickly illustrates Harris and Terrasson’s binding rapport-they often conclude each other’s melodic statements during their solos-they kick in full-throttle on the angular funker “Tank’s Tune.” Underneath Terreon Gully’s crisp, rhythmically responsive drums and Tarus Mateen’s steamrolling bass lines, Harris and Terrasson chase each other through a labyrinth of knotty improvisations. Even on the erstwhile “Body and Soul,” Harris and Terrasson engage in some rhythmically intense interaction as they transform the ballad into a Latin-funk groover with Terrasson supplying loads of Parisian-impressionism accompaniment before his concussive solo. Their playfulness shines brightly on the classic “What Is This Thing Called Love?” as they transform it from an alluring ballad to a brisk game of cat and mouse, with Terrasson following Harris’ lead through elongated passages and quick rhythmic jabs.

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