201

John Lindberg / Karl Berger: Duets 1

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
With roots in the vocalized timbre of the blues, the conversational nature of the duet has become commonplace in jazz. The conceptual inroads made in the post-war years further expanded traditional notions of rhythm, melody and harmony, allowing even greater expressive freedom for such intimate dialogues.

Coming from different generations but arriving at the same aesthetic outlook, pianist/vibraphonist Karl Berger and bassist John Lindberg share a proclivity for lyrically contemplative free jazz. Espousing the liberated lyricism of such icons as Ornette Coleman and Paul Bley, their dialogues are more cerebral than kinetic, often bordering on the impressionistic.

A key player in the halcyon days of the New Thing, Berger has performed and recorded with everyone from John McLaughlin, Dave Holland and Lee Konitz to Don Cherry, Marzette Watts and Clifford Thornton. Eschewing the typical four-mallet method, his vibraphone technique is linear in execution, much like his piano playing. An advocate of the melodic line rather than the chord, Berger's tonal view is readily espoused by Lindberg, making them a sympathetic pair.

An in-demand sideman and session leader in his own right, Lindberg is also a founding member of the erstwhile String Trio of New York. A resolute and melodious improviser, his playing is sublime one moment, intense the next. "In My Mind's Eye" demonstrates his capacity for both; beginning with mellifluous arco work, Lindberg quickly intensifies his attack with searing harmonics and torrid string rending.

Varying the instrumental palette over the course of the album, Berger switches between piano and vibraphone while Lindberg alternates between arco and pizzicato technique, lending a surprisingly varied patina to the session.

Akin to Ornette Coleman's Harmolodic theory, Lindberg and Berger share melodic, rhythmic and harmonic responsibilities equally. Their interpretation of Ornette's "Peace" is a case in point. Berger's vibes glide gently over and around Lindberg's rubato pulse. The structure of the tune is pliable, expanded and contracted by the pair's thematic interpolations of the melody.

Duets 1 provides the two masters a perfect forum for the exchange of ideas. Veering from the plaintive, tenderness of "Dakini" to the jagged angularity of "3-3-3-7," the duo explores a wealth of dynamic approaches. The title indicates a likely follow-up; one can only wonder where they'll venture next.


Track Listing: Innocuous; Peace; Chromatic Ways; I Am A Leaf For Today; 3-3-3-7; Dakini; Yatan-Na; In My Mind's Eye; Ancient Warmth.

Personnel: John Lindberg: bass; Karl Berger: piano, vibraphone.

Title: Duets 1 | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Between the Lines


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Whispers on the Wind CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Heptagon CD/LP/Track Review Heptagon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2017
Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "This Is The Uplifting Part" CD/LP/Track Review This Is The Uplifting Part
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 22, 2017
Read "Pole Of Inaccessibility" CD/LP/Track Review Pole Of Inaccessibility
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 20, 2017
Read "Standard Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Standard Blue
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 3, 2017
Read "Cantos Invisíveis" CD/LP/Track Review Cantos Invisíveis
by Troy Collins
Published: November 18, 2016
Read "Oaktree" CD/LP/Track Review Oaktree
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: March 28, 2017
Read "Tomeka Reid Quartet" CD/LP/Track Review Tomeka Reid Quartet
by Patrick Burnette
Published: September 28, 2017

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.