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The Dynamics of the Duo

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Monday March 19, 2018

From Jazz History Online

Dynamics of the Duo
By: Thomas Cunniffe

One of the annual highlights of New York jazz is pianist Fred Hersch’s series of duet concerts. Clarinetist Anat Cohen has been one of Hersch’s longtime duet partners, and while their new album “Live in Healdsburg” (Anzic 61) was recorded in California, its artistic success certainly stems from all of their playing experiences in the Big Apple and elsewhere. From the first improvisations on the opener, “A Lark”, Cohen and Hersch demonstrate their innate ability to interlock lines. At times, the combined sounds are almost like pointillistic art—little drops of paint spotted here and there in a seemingly random fashion, but eventually revealing their place in the overall picture.

I first heard Hersch’s lyric “A Child’s Song” on a duet album with Jane Ira Bloom. It has been a regular part of Hersch’s repertoire for years, but the version with Cohen represents a fresh approach to the work. After the theme statement, which displays the song’s melody and chord structure, the duo suddenly abandons the harmony for a fascinating episode incorporating musique-concrete effects and wildly imaginative lines.

_Read the rest of the article’s feature on jazz duo’s here