Jazz together: six bright duet albums
Jazz is an abundant genre. Lush orchestras, lengthy improvisations, duels of soloists, wriggling rhythm section and the like. But not always the more, the better. When jazzmen consciously limit themselves, sometimes, it turns out a miracle. So sometimes a simple piano duet can sound broadly, like an orchestra. Today we have selected several albums for you, where only two instruments create a whole universe of sound and drive.
Charlie Haden & Brad Mehldau “Long Ago And Far Away” Two epochs of jazz. The great double bass player Charlie Hayden and the popular pianist and innovator Brad Meldau collaborated a lot when they met back in 1993. Hayden praised the young jazz star in every way, and Meldau, of course, bowed to the double bass player, especially noting – which is not surprising – his epochal free albums with Ornette Coleman. But just as a duet, the colleagues-friends gave just one big concert. Fortunately, it turned out to be recorded. This is a concert on November 5, 2007 in Mannheim, Germany, in Christuskirche during the festival Enjoy Jazz. Record released by Verve only this year. Hayden, as you know, left a pile of duet albums – with Hank Jones, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and others. Everywhere his instrument sounds special; here it is bright, with a groove and, at the same time, calmly and deeply. In addition, he manages to give a talk to a colleague who is good for his sons. However, Meldau also understands some of the exotic duos (in his discography recordings with mandolinist Chris Tili, drummer Mark Juliana, guitarist Pat Matini, classical singers, and so on. P.) Hayden and Meldau once found each other and matched perfectly. So in this record, they interact beautifully – with the natural ease of respect for each other. But what to say – turn on this track alone – everything is clear from the very first bars. Apple Music, Yandex.Music, DeezerSteve Lacy & Mal Waldron “At the Bimhuis 1982” 1982 concert in Amsterdam is not the only collaboration of soprano-saxophone player Steve Lacey and pianist Mel Waldron. Both are cult-like people who outplayed many great ones. And the icons themselves. The program begins with a thoughtful “Blues for Aïda” with an ultrasonic soprano saxophone sound. Next, “Snake Out” – such a creepy post-apocalyptic boogie. The third is a perky ballad “Reflections”, and so on, in the same spirit as the carnival thriller. Apple Music, Yandex.Music, Deezer
Archie Shepp & Dollar Brand “Duet” This joint album was recorded in 1978 by saxophonist Archie Shepp and South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, who was once called “The Sign of the Dollar” in the States. However, commerce has nothing to do with it. The first track – “Fortunato” – anxiously romantic, with dissonance in the framework of decency. The second composition – “Barefoot Boy from Queens Town” – is a kind of apocalyptic boogie. And the Left Alone of the aforementioned Mel Waldron is almost completely blues. The final “Monebah” begins with some neoclassical / minimalist piano passages, but continues again with the tenor saxophone’s smooth melody in a warm, thick sound a la Ben Webster. It seems that Shepp and Ibrahim are avant-garde innovators, and the material turned out to be almost background. But nevertheless – only almost.
Alexander von Schlippenbach, Manfred Schoof “Blue Hawk” Romantic avant-garde – it happens? And then! Well, the truth is, not quite the avant-garde – just an outstanding German pianist and innovator, a cult figure of European improvisational music. Everywhere is different, but always with its German devil. This album of 2011 is really just beautiful and pleasant. In every fragile note, in every smooth melody and thoughtful solo. Play – how to breathe, in general. Apple Music
Kenny Barron, Stan Getz “People Time” (Live At Jazzhus Montmartre, Copenhagen / March 3rd 1991) Well, this is just my favorite album – from jazz, non-jazz, concert, whatever. I bought the pirate double on the “Gorbushka” almost by accident, for the sake of interest – and that’s all, I still drive. Although, it would seem, of such a thing: Goetz with his warm rough sound, Barron with his classicism and heat – not on one album this can be heard. Especially here they “work at” in some cafe in Copenhagen, where Goetz enjoyed life with his young wife … Or maybe this is why this album is so good: free people in a free country play for the public – almost for friends. Friends – who listens to them with love and respect. Interestingly, the program was originally released on one LP. Later, in the era of total reprinting of everything with everything and for everything, they made 2 CDs. And, as it seems to me, they did not overdo it. Apple Music, Yandex.Music, Deezer
John Hicks and Frank Morgan “Two together” We recently reviewed a recording of an amazing man named Frank Morgan, his live duet with pianist George Cables. Here he is in 2005 and 2006 with a duet with pianist John Hicks (both died literally a year or two after the release of the album). To compare this and this live is quite funny and fascinating. They are completely different in approach, atmosphere, mood, and so on.