Michael Wollny and Joachim Kühn, Duo, ACT ***1/2

While these two great pianists aren't appearing at the annual two-piano Steinway festival coming up at Pizza Express Jazz Club next month, Duo certainly whets the appetite again in terms of the art of the two-piano recording ahead of the annual …

Published: 26 Jan 2024. Updated: 32 days.

While these two great pianists aren't appearing at the annual two-piano Steinway festival coming up at Pizza Express Jazz Club next month, Duo certainly whets the appetite again in terms of the art of the two-piano recording ahead of the annual festival. Both Michael Wollny and Joachim Kühn, who is 80 next month, have been on the issuing label ACT for years - Kühn is one of Europe's greatest pianist improvisers and Wollny, some 34 years younger, Germany's leading jazz pianist of his generation. Mostly originals plus a version of Ornette Coleman's 'Somewhere' there is also a tribute to Joachim's late brother Rolf, a piece that appeared on the excellent Komeda album last year. The most maximalist statement here is the thunderously free 'Aktiv' but that isn't completely characteristic of the album as a whole which contains a variety of approaches and is well stocked with tenderly intimate moments especially on 'Vienna Pitch' and the earlier sections of 'Eclat'. Beautifully recorded particularly well captured are the lower, darker tones of the Steinways used, what a must-have for fans of both musicians. Out today

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Gili Lopes, Algures ****

Progressive and hooky at the same time there's plenty to delve into here from Guildhall School of Music educated bassist Gili Lopes with saxist John Ellis, drummer Ari Hoenig, guitarist Vinicius Gomes, pianist Helio Alves and percussion ace Rogerio …

Published: 25 Jan 2024. Updated: 33 days.

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Progressive and hooky at the same time there's plenty to delve into here from Guildhall School of Music educated bassist Gili Lopes with saxist John Ellis, drummer Ari Hoenig, guitarist Vinicius Gomes, pianist Helio Alves and percussion ace Rogerio Boccato in the personnel. There's a good version of Wayne Shorter's 'Infant Eyes' and a brooding, grown-up atmosphere to the heads throughout that allow you then to journey further within the more open improvisatory passages. If you are into Esperanza Spalding's early work you will probably feel at home here. There's a strong Brazilian flavour too here best expressed on Milton Nascimento's 'Outubro' in what is a sophisticated sound - well worth investigating for its freshness and often poetic poise and humanity.