All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

1

Rick Hannah / Erwin Siffer: 2-Man Jazz Band

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
Piano and guitar is a relatively rare combination for a number of reasons including overlapping ranges and having the similar timbre of percussive string. Yes, players of both instruments spend a lot of time perfecting a singing or legato sound, but in the end they are what they are.

Instead of fighting it, with 2-Man Jazz Band, guitarist Rick Hannah and pianist Erwin Siffer have put together eleven arrangements that revel in their instrument's sound and the myriad ways in which they can be interwoven as solo and accompaniment (as well as unison playing) gets passed back and forth effortlessly. In the liner notes, Hannah mentions Undercurrent (1962, United Artists) by Bill Evans and Jim Hall as the only example of this instrumental pairing he could think of. The reference to that justifiably well-known and superb album is not meant as a comparison; where Undercurrent is introspective, haunting and ruminating, 2-Man Jazz Band is bright, cheery and extroverted.

Both instruments are closely recorded, with Hannah's in the foreground. Siffer's piano is quite bright, which when coupled with his sharp attack could swamp the guitar. However, Hannah's attack is very much pick against string, causing a short, distinct space between notes which cuts through the piano when the two are playing together. That said, the two players know each other well and it shows in the arrangements, which sound spontaneous and effortless. This is music which brings a smile because the joy of playing, and playing together comes through loud and clear.

The tunes vary from older standards (Jule Styne's "I Fall In Love Too Easily") to Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Children's Games" to a pop classic by John Lennon and Paul McCartney ("Norwegian Wood") and four originals. Of particular interest are three tunes by pianist Lennie Tristano, and saxophonists Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh: "Lennie's Pennies" (a reworking of "Pennies From Heaven"), "Lennie-Bird" (a reworking of "How High The Moon") and "Background Music" (a reworking of "All Of Me").

The music of Tristano, and hence of his disciples, Konitz and Marsh has been subject to much discussion and wide-ranging reaction. It has been called intellectual, cold and unemotional but also, on the other hand, highly exciting and continually surprising in the way it mixes the styles of be-bop and Lester Young with many harmonic and metrical intricacies.

In any case, guitar arrangements of this music are relatively rare because of the fast tempos and twisting lines which do not lay under the hands naturally. Siffer and Hannah really shine in these pieces and get inside the style, as a listen to the originals will immediately show.

2-Man Jazz Band is a fine example of musical rapport, technical finesse and high musicianship.

Track Listing: Yours Is My Heart Alone; Lennie's Pennies; Children's Games; Norwegian Wood; Love; The Bicycle Song; Background Music; Diminishing Returns; Lennie-Bird; I Fall In Love Too Easily; Choupinette.

Personnel: Erwin Siffer: piano; Rick Hannah: guitar.

Title: 2-Man Jazz Band | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Best Effort Productions

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Handful Of Strings

Handful Of Strings

Best Effort Productions
2016

buy
2-Man Jazz Band

2-Man Jazz Band

Best Effort Productions
2016

buy

Related Articles

Read Jazz In Detroit / Strata Concert Gallery / 46 Selden CD/LP/Track Review
Jazz In Detroit / Strata Concert Gallery / 46 Selden
by Chris May
Published: October 22, 2018
Read Remember Love CD/LP/Track Review
Remember Love
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 22, 2018
Read Open Heart CD/LP/Track Review
Open Heart
by Paul Rauch
Published: October 22, 2018
Read Steve Reich: Drumming CD/LP/Track Review
Steve Reich: Drumming
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2018
Read iQba - Jazz Meets Cuban Timba CD/LP/Track Review
iQba - Jazz Meets Cuban Timba
by Troy Dostert
Published: October 21, 2018
Read Globe Unity - 50 Years CD/LP/Track Review
Globe Unity - 50 Years
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2018
Read "Untitled Album" CD/LP/Track Review Untitled Album
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 3, 2018
Read "Echo of a Heartbeat" CD/LP/Track Review Echo of a Heartbeat
by Jerome Wilson
Published: May 6, 2018
Read "Kill The Boy" CD/LP/Track Review Kill The Boy
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 16, 2017
Read "The Blues and I Should have a Party" CD/LP/Track Review The Blues and I Should have a Party
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 14, 2018
Read "The Treasury Shows Vol. 25" CD/LP/Track Review The Treasury Shows Vol. 25
by Chris Mosey
Published: June 11, 2018
Read "Moods" CD/LP/Track Review Moods
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 1, 2018