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Two new releases feature the inspired pairing of seminal hard bop trombonist Julian Priester with pianist David Haney. For Sale: Five Million Cash is a duet, live recordings from concerts in Belgium and Germany in 2004. The ten pieces are titled "Improvisation 1," "Improvisation 2," etc. and the wide-open titles suit the music, which is beautifully sparse and open-ended. The third player in these duets is silence: the two musicians are not afraid of space and the sounds seem to come out of a pregnant void, making the musical shapes all the more captivating.
Throughout the CD the trombone and piano engage in call and response, but they are also questioning, exploring and engaging in the occasional chase. Priester's playing is so authentic it sounds like a human voice, his trombone capable of rich, soulful language as well as dreamy, multi-faceted landscapes. Haney has a unique approach and he clearly enjoys playing with the piano's endless possibilities, particularly its shining high notes. The two musicians are completely simpatico and it's a treat to listen in on their conversation. CIMP producer Bob Rusch, who writes some of the best liner notes in the business, sums up For Sale nicely as "sustained tension combined with sustained beauty while maintaining intellectual integrity."
On The Music, Priester and Haney are joined by bassist Adam Lane. The 12 songs have the same virtues as For Sale, plus Lane's bass adding a rich underpinning and fresh energy. His bowing is beautiful, an important part of creating The Music's wealth of otherworldly sounds. The song constructions are adventurous, most often spare and thoughtful but sometimes thicker and more chaotic. Much of the music has an almost heartbreaking delicacy and gentleness; this helps create the above-mentioned tension, giving The Music a unique, compelling texture.
Personnel: David Haney: piano; Julian Priester: trombone.
Tracks: 1. Pteradactyl's Lunchbox Part One: The Life Span of a Thought; 2. Pteradactyl's Lunchbox Part Two: UnStuck in Traffic; 3. Pteradactyl's Lunchbox Part Three: Ear to the Hive; 4. Pteradactyl's Lunchbox Part Four: Starts with a Bang; 5. Pteradactyl's Lunchbox Part Five: Night Talk; 6. You Span the Distance; 7. You Span the Distance (fast version); 8. Chasing Fives; 9. Troglodite Broadcast; 10. Blues in the Rain; 11. Al Bear in a Can; 12. Vahalia Junction.
Personnel: David Haney: piano; Julian Priester: trombone; Adam Lane: bass.