Maria Baptist and Jan von Klewitz: Facing Duality

Geno Thackara By

Sign in to view read count
Maria Baptist and Jan von Klewitz: Facing Duality
In a way it seems out of nowhere, and in a way it was a long time coming. While Maria Baptist has ranged from solo to trio to big band and more, throughout her career at the piano, Jan von Klewitz's saxophone has been a more steady presence beside her than than most. He came on board with Baptist's ongoing Jazz Orchestra on its debut Here and Now (self produced, 2016), then provided the plus-one when her trio was expanded to trio-plus-one for Poems Without Words (self produced, 2017). Their rapport developed further through some performances as a duo, enough so that by early 2020, they were so eager to set down a proper duo recording that a mere global pandemic wasn't enough to stop them.

Facing Duality convincingly argues that getting past any logistical hurdles was well worth it in the end. Even though they could have done things remotely, the performance beautifully shows just how keen their chemistry is and how these things always work best face to face. The titular duality theme can be interpreted in a variety of ways here. Baptist's composing style still snazzily weaves elements of jaunty jazz and European classical; the players are comfortable with busy clattering or sparse simplicity; they can stay in close step or take off on small flights without losing sight of where they are.

There's a fair share of busy roiling that still always stays classy, while the song selection gives longtime listeners a mix of familiar and strange. "Natural Landscapes" dates back to Here and Now, but its gently bouncing read here makes it feel almost impossible that the piece once worked for a big band. Originally a solo piece taken from 2018's Resonance (self produced), "Stillness Speaks" gets slowed closer to the point of stillness than ever at first, then builds to a startlingly busy peak even without changing the slow-drifting pace.

The pair's mutual trust is palpable through it all. Baptist tumbles and glides across the keys while Van Klewitz's tone is a distinctly rich one, full enough to provide a little weight to the sound even while slowly floating. It again reflects a duality in action—both players can be light or heavy, or busy or calm as the moment calls for. All the small mixes of complementary qualities really make for a multiplicity on display, all shown to quietly powerful effect in these most versatile hands.

Track Listing

Facing Duality; Minotaurus; Stillness Speaks; Sea of Blackness; Midnight Rain; Gratitude; Natural Landscapes; Cloud 9; Longing.


Maria Baptist: piano; Jan von Klewitz: saxophone.

Album information

Title: Facing Duality | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Self Produced

Post a comment about this album


Shop Amazon


Read Brazil
Mike Barone Big Band
Read Liga Latina
Liga Latina
Liga Latina
Read The Call Within
The Call Within
Tigran Hamasyan
Read Light In The World
Light In The World
Nocturnal Four
Read A Time And A Place
A Time And A Place
Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language

All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.