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Marc Mommaas/Nikolaj Hess: Ballads and Standards

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Marc Mommaas belongs to a special society of tenor saxophone players who are revered by other tenor players but not famous. (Rich Perry and Adam Kolker are also members.) Mommaas is probably best known for his work with pianist Amina Figarova, where his sensitivity suits her subtle compositions and his edginess always alters them.

Pianist Nikolaj Hess is further under the radar than Mommaas but shares a capacity for asymmetrical lyricism. Back in the previous millennium, a program of ballads and standards would have been unremarkable, perhaps even too obvious. Nowadays, when most jazz musicians think they are composers, such a project is contrarian.

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