A major proponent of the fabled “Creative Music Studio” near Woodstock, a scenic area located in New York State’s beautiful “Catskill Mountains”, vibraphonist Karl Berger doesn’t record that often these days yet has acquired an estimable reputation as a multifaceted musician and educator. Here, we journey back to 1976, when producer Martin Davidson recorded the vibraphonist and the great drummer Edward Blackwell for a series of duets which was originally released as an LP in 1979 for the “Quark” label.
With this reissue, we find Berger performing on vibraphone, an African xylophone called a balafon and a darbuka (goblet-shaped drum) while the late Edward Blackwell utilized a full drum kit and an osi-drum. Essentially these duets provide yet another glimpse of Blackwell’s uncanny melodic inventions and unwavering discipline behind the kit, as the drummer sings a song or tells a story behind each maneuver and meshes nicely with Berger’s improvisations, tonalities, jazz-based themes and world-beat style rhythms. Overall, the two musicians exhibit their respective wares in laudable fashion as Just Play provides enough luster and excitement to sustain interest and serves as a noteworthy recorded document for the admirers of these two master craftsmen.