Various – Duo Art

duo artVarious – Duo Art: Creating Magic (ACT 6014-2)
Vincent Peirani & Emile Parisien – Belle Époque (ACT 9625-2)
Philip Catherine & Martin Wind – New Folks (ACT 9621-2)
George Mraz & Emil Viklický – Together Again (ACT 9622-2)
Joachim Kühn & Alexey Kruglov – Moscow (ACT 9623-2)

Two was once the perfect number in order for musicians to get work in a bar, and it’s still the optimum to get maximum jazz interaction with minimum organisation. The “other German independent label”  – as it will probably always be known, to the annoyance, I’m sure, of its founder and main man Siggi Loch – has, with its series called Duo Art, made the twosome something of a speciality. Gwilym Simcock and Yuri Goloubev’s Reverie at Schloss Elmau was a recent triumph (review here).

And a quick whiz through a new compilation sampler for the series, and then a more leisurely listen to these four individual  discs (one released last month, two to be released next Monday and one in April) shows what a diverse and interesting range of music is possible. Each duo is a unique and very effective combination of characters.

The April release features two Frenchmen in their early thirties, each doing a lot to reinvent their instruments – Peirani on accordion, Parisien on soprano saxophone – and in the process producing a new and original kind of belle époque in French jazz. It’s both pretty and adventurous, the accordion especially capable of a wide range of sounds and moods.

New Folks is a meeting of string players – the younger Wind on double bass in collaboration with an idol of his, the 71-year-old electric guitarist Catherine. They meld marvellously on a programme which mixes their own originals in with standards  from the likes of Hoagy Carmichael and Irving Berlin. They start with Willard Robison’s Old Folks, and sound like they have been playing together for decades

Together Again are another bassist, Mraz, with pianist Viklický: two Czechs enjoying swapping musical stories in a selection of the pianist’s own compositions interspersed with his arrangements of other composers including some Janacek. This is another happy alliance.

Moscow is another place where the generations meet. The German pianist (like Catherine just entering his 70s) and the young Russian alto saxophonist might not have known each other before this recording but they have a lot of musical ideas to discuss and do it with great style.

The double-disc, special price sampler has tracks from two of these individual releases in addition to duos spanning the years and including the last recording saxophonist Eddie Harris made (a duet with pianist Gil Goldstein) and a track from the ACT release Layers Of Light, made by trombonist Nils Landgren and the man who gave the ACT label its greatest successes, the late Esbjorn Svensson on piano.

  • To buy Duo Art: Creating Magic go here.
  • To buy Vincent Peirani & Emile Parisien’s Belle Époque go here.
  • To buy Philip Catherine & Martin Wind’s New Folks go here.
  • To buy George Mraz & Emil Viklický’s Together Again go here.
  • To buy Joachim Kühn & Alexey Kruglov’s Moscow go here.

Categories: CD review

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