Jacky Terrasson & Stefon Harris D.D. Jackson & Bluiett Duets on the Hudson

David Adler By

Sign in to view read count
Kaplan Penthouse
New York
March 2001

Jacky Terrasson and Stefon Harris began their duo set at the Kaplan Penthouse by tossing snippets of sound back and forth like tennis pros. Their atonal, clipped and playful lines slowly assumed a recognizable form, and before you knew it they were off on a bright version of "What Is This Thing Called Love." Harris displayed his characteristically athletic approach to both vibes and marimba while Terrasson left lots of space at the piano — something he’s been doing more and more in his own work. The playing styles mirrored the personalities. It was no surprise that Harris did all the talking between tunes.
The two ventured forward with Terrasson’s "Baby Plum," a staple of the pianist’s repertoire, its memorable melody and softly persistent quarter-note rhythm practically hypnotizing the audience. From here the duo segued directly into an expansive "Summertime," with Bacharachian reharmonizations on the turnaround that made it seem to last and last, like a feather finding its way to the ground. Harris’s "Rebirth," part of a 12-part suite the vibraphonist completed recently, hushed the room even more with its delicate, precise rubato articulations. Then each player briefly took the floor alone, Harris with "There Is No Greater Love" and Terrasson with "La Vie en Rose," a cut from his new album A Paris... A quick romp through Monk’s "I Mean You" and they were done, all too soon. To hear more we’ll have to wait for Harris and Terrasson’s duo album Kindred, due out this summer.
Pianist D.D. Jackson and baritone sax titan Bluiett joined forces on 1997’s Paired Down, Volume I and 1998’s Same Space, so they’ve had ample opportunity to meld their complementary jazz visions. There seemed to be a realistic possibility that Bluiett would blow out the Penthouse windows on his 6/8 minor blues "Nuttin’." The drama of his brawny low tones was matched by his ability to reach well beyond the baritone’s proper range, ekeing out piercing high notes that no fingerings, only embouchure, could access. And what control! Bluiett could handle fast-moving melodic lines in this pseudo-range. The most staggering display of the technique was toward the set’s end, on "Pentium IV Blues" (which, as Jackson explained, used to be Pentium II before the upgrade). Jackson, for his part, could match Bluiett’s raw energy inch for inch, but he also brought a more pastoral, contemplative sound to the gig. Two numbers in particular, "African Dreams" and "Prologue," featured Bluiett on wood flute and contrabass clarinet respectively, and the resulting tones and textures were nothing short of rapturous. Hints of Debussy and Jarrett creep into Jackson’s writing, other examples of which were "One Night," "Sidewalk," and the closing waltz, "Fort Greene Park."
Jazz at Lincoln Center is commonly equated with the neotraditionalism of Wynton Marsalis. But the duets series at the Kaplan has fostered some surprising and nontraditional exchanges, and this too is under the auspices of J@LC, let’s not forget. Last year saw the pairing of Misha Mengelberg and Han Bennink, for instance. And later this year and into next, the series will feature Lee Konitz with Paul Motian, Greg Osby with Jason Moran, Joe Locke with John Hicks, and more.


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Songs of Scott Walker (1967-70) at Royal Albert Hall Live Reviews The Songs of Scott Walker (1967-70) at Royal Albert Hall
by John Eyles
Published: August 19, 2017
Read Bryan Ferry at the Paramount Theater Live Reviews Bryan Ferry at the Paramount Theater
by Geoff Anderson
Published: August 19, 2017
Read Newport Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Newport Jazz Festival 2017
by Timothy J. O'Keefe
Published: August 18, 2017
Read FORQ at The World Cafe Live Live Reviews FORQ at The World Cafe Live
by Mike Jacobs
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Mat Maneri and Tanya Kalmanovitch at Korzo Live Reviews Mat Maneri and Tanya Kalmanovitch at Korzo
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Kongsberg Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Kongsberg Jazz Festival 2017
by Henning Bolte
Published: August 17, 2017
Read "Keith Oxman Quartet at Nocturne" Live Reviews Keith Oxman Quartet at Nocturne
by Douglas Groothuis
Published: March 19, 2017
Read "Stockholm Jazz Festival 2016" Live Reviews Stockholm Jazz Festival 2016
by John Ephland
Published: November 14, 2016
Read "Balé Folclórico de Bahia at Zellerbach Hall" Live Reviews Balé Folclórico de Bahia at Zellerbach Hall
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: March 19, 2017
Read "Peacemaker Music & Arts Fest 2016" Live Reviews Peacemaker Music & Arts Fest 2016
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 17, 2016
Read "Jazztopad 2016, Part 1" Live Reviews Jazztopad 2016, Part 1
by Henning Bolte
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "Festival International de Jazz de Montreal 2017" Live Reviews Festival International de Jazz de Montreal 2017
by John Kelman
Published: July 7, 2017


Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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