Michael Wollny & Vincent Peirani – Tandem

tandem(ACT)

The German pianist has a penchant for duo line-ups that are close in instrumental type – I’m remembering his fruitful collaboration with harpsichordist Tamar Halperin. This time it’s the French accordionist with whom he has occasionally played since they met at an ACT20 Jubilee night in 2012.

The first three tracks are one by Swiss vocalist Andreas Schaerer, Samuel Barber’s Adagio For Strings and Björk’s Hunter – that tells you all you need to know about the eclectic tastes of these two young European jazz musicians. Later they will contribute strong tunes of their own, as well as a Gary Peacock piece, a Sufjan Stevens and one by Tomas Gubitsch, a friend of Peirani’s.

Michael Wollny and Vincent Peirani

Michael Wollny and Vincent Peirani

The pair’s take on this mix of pieces is thoroughly their own – just listen to the Barber for an example of their originality, so unexpected yet so perfectly apt and true to the spirit of the original.

They can match each other in dominance and intertwine, or one can accompany the other. I have never been particularly taken with those tw0-piano things like Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock used to do; this is far more interesting, the textures and timbral mix so much more varied, and the players much more concerned with creating a strong artistic end product rather than showing off their virtuosity. Of course that virtuosity is there in abundance, but never for its own sake.

Most of the album was recorded in Paris but the last couple of tracks come from a live performance in the distinctive acoustic of Schloss Elmau in the Bavarian Alps.

A thoroughly absorbing and very beautiful album which reveals new gems with every listen.



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  1. 2016 Festive Fifty – 40-31 – thejazzbreakfast

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