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Jeremy Steig/Vic Juris: Improvised

Florence Wetzel By

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Originally brought together in a quartet, flutist Jeremy Steig and guitarist Vic Juris had an instant flash of compatibility and decided to explore playing as a duo. Classical music often employs flute and guitar duets, and listening to Improvised, it's clear these two instruments are natural allies.

Improvised is composed of 22 short improvised pieces as well as two standards, Bird's "Billie's Bounce" and Monk's "Friday the 13th." Despite the brevity of the songs, the recording feels cohesive, held together by the surety of Steig and Juris' voices. The pieces flow into one another easily and the various moods—playful, funky, meditative and lyrical, to name a few—feel like a natural part of the musical conversation. Steig plays with lilting abandon, exploring the flute's wonderful ability to sing and soar and Juris works the spacious side of the guitar without sacrificing the instrument's capacity to groove. The music is wonderful on its own, but this is one of those CDs that can accompany your life, whether the listener is daydreaming, talking to a friend or taking a bath. This is meant as a compliment: the music has enough space to allow the listener room and enough energy to propel activity forward.

Steig is a wide-ranging talent with an amazing history—certainly anyone who has played with both Bill Evans and Jimi Hendrix has a broad musical palette. He has clearly found an important relationship with Juris, who has a prolific history with the music as well. Improvised highlights the musicians' improvisational gifts and their inspired versions of standards points to future possibilities.

Personnel: Jeremy Steig -- Flute; Vic Juris -- Guitar.

Title: Improvised | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Steig Music Company


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