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Album Review

Kirk Knuffke / Michael Bisio: For You I Don't Want To Go


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Kirk Knuffke / Michael Bisio: For You I Don't Want To Go
At the root of successful enduring partnerships lies trust. Without it you need detailed instructions to make things work. Cornetist Kirk Knuffke and bassist Michael Bisio enjoy trust in spades. It allows them to dispense with signposts and cues, relying instead on the inspiration which comes from experience, skill and a shared purpose. Their collaborations include Requiem For A New York Slice (Relative Pitch, 2019) and Art Spirit (ESP, 2021), as well as their first duo outing Row For William O. (Relative Pitch, 2016).

While that album largely showcased Bisio's writing along with a single joint invention, on For You I Don't Want To Go they morph in and out of spontaneous creation, alighting on one tune from the pen of each en route. Communication is at its most intense in the stripped- back duet setting, but to their credit, the pair ensure that their workings remain out of sight. Things happen as if by magic. They complement in terms of pacing, contrast of speed and density of line, of knowing when to join and when to drop out, when to move forward or back from the spotlight, and whether to hold down a repeated figure as opposed to offering counterpoint.

Bisio starts the set with a forlorn rippling pizzicato, invoking a mood that Knuffke proves well able to match, as one of the most lyrical free players who often taps into a vein of poignancy and longing. Of course, they do not stay in that ballpark for long. The cornetist's rapid-fire elegance, shadowed by Bisio's nimble resonance, quickly moves the dialogue on. Among the many striking passages to emerge, the confluence of Knuffke's muted groans and Bisio's answering moaning arco slither is particularly noteworthy. The tunes arrive without fanfare, so loosely sketched they might be the product of extemporized magic, were it not for the telltale way Bisio eases into accompanying riffs. No fireworks, just excellent music crafted with care.

Track Listing

For You I Don't Want To Go / Sea Vamp.


Kirk Knuffke: cornet; Michael Bisio: bass, acoustic.

Album information

Title: For You I Don't Want To Go | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: NoBusiness Records

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