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Aaron Shragge & Ben Monder: This World of Dew (Human Resource)

Because the dewdrop is both beautiful and fleeting, it has been used in Buddhist teaching as a metaphor for the impermanence of existence. In the haiku that gave This World of Dew its title, the Japanese poet Kobayashi Issa makes a similar point but adds, “and yet, and yet”—a comment that speaks to the sense of … Read More “Aaron Shragge & Ben Monder: This World of Dew (Human Resource)”

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François Moutin & Kavita Shah Duo: Interplay (Dot Time)

Interplay: both the title track from this debut union of French-born bassist François Moutin and American vocalist Kavita Shah—a stunningly chameleonic take on the Bill Evans gem, shifting from sinister to ebullient to deeply satisfied—and an accurate, if understated, description of their stellar rapport. Bass and voice is a too-seldom explored duo combination, best practiced … Read More “François Moutin & Kavita Shah Duo: Interplay (Dot Time)”

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Kris Davis/Craig Taborn: Octopus (Pyroclastic)

An oceangoing organism with one brain and eight independent neuron-bearing limbs is the perfect image to invoke for a rather intense collection of piano duets. Taborn’s guest appearance on Davis’ 2016 album Duopoly excited both players enough to prompt a U.S. tour last fall, the source of these recordings. The opening “Interruptions One,” written by … Read More “Kris Davis/Craig Taborn: Octopus (Pyroclastic)”

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Kenny Drew/Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen : Duo

This is about as convivial as jazz gets, and if you like listening to music that feels like it’s talking to you, Kenny Drew and Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen are close to ideal companions. Which makes sense, given the rapport so in evidence on these sessions from April 1973 and mid-winter 1974. First, one notices the … Read More “Kenny Drew/Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen : Duo”

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Keith Jarrett/Charlie Haden: Jasmine

For 30-odd years, piano Prometheus Keith Jarrett has done his musical bidding and exploring in self-limited settings, most often either in his “Standards” trio with Jack DeJohnette and Gary Peacock, or-with greater regularity of late-solo. That alone makes Jarrett’s rare and beauteous new duet recording with bassist Charlie Haden a departure while simultaneously a rapprochement … Read More “Keith Jarrett/Charlie Haden: Jasmine”

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Bill Anschell/Brent Jensen: We Couldn’t Agree More

The art of intelligent conversation requires intelligent listening, as well as a certain give and take. What we have here is precisely that: unrehearsed, non-arranged, spontaneous conversation between a piano and a soprano sax, or rather, between the fertile minds of Bill Anschell and Brent Jensen. They are in such command of their respective instruments … Read More “Bill Anschell/Brent Jensen: We Couldn’t Agree More”

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