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Robin Holcomb/Wayne Horvitz: Solos

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In a successful marriage, the two partners must strike a balance between having no interests whatsoever in common and meddling in each other’s business all the time. Or so I’m told. Anyway, pianists Wayne Horvitz and Robin Holcomb have been married for 25 years, but Solos marks their first album together-and even here, as the name indicates, they trade solos rather than perform duets.

Listening to how similarly they play, you wonder why it took so long for them to collaborate on record. Both achieve a luminous, rounded tone, striking nary a note harshly; where others would simply let fast music run together into a stream, Holcomb sculpts every note in her improvisation “The Pleasures of Motion” into a distinct, ripe droplet. Both play just enough notes to make their point, and no more; Horvitz’s supple, limpid take on the ballad “Buttermilk Hill” gains from the lack of clutter. Both can figure out quickly where they’re going in a free improvisation; in Holcomb’s “Done For” and Horvitz’s “Interpretation #1,” each finds something to explore and stays one step ahead of where most listeners will be able to follow.

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