The profound depth of the interactions between pianist Russ Lossing and bassist John Hebert on their new duo recording bears the mark of a shared history and mutual respect and enthusiasm. Hebert and Lossing have both worked with many great artists who have shaped the history of jazz, including Paul Motian, Andrew Hill, Dave Liebman and John Abercrombie, as well as many more recent innovators like Mat Maneri, Uri Caine, Fred Hersch, Greg Osby and Mark Dresser. There may be a wealth of experience that informs these duets, but these two have also been working together for many years, having made two wonderful trio discs together prior to this release. The duo setting is something of a rarity and Lossing and Hebert took the opportunity to explore the potential of the unique format.
Line Up is one of the most compelling inquiries into the piano/bass duet context in recent years. In the liner notes, a great deal of attention is paid to what is perhaps the most notable predecessor, the duets between Duke Ellington and bassist Jimmy Blanton, who is widely credited to have introduced the bass as a solo voice in jazz. The long shadow cast by this precedent is felt throughout the record, no matter how far removed the duo's statements may be from that initial inspiration.
The work presented here is often based on spontaneous musical interaction rather than composition, though both artists do present their own pieces here, as well as one each by Irving Berlin and the aforementioned Ellington. In all cases, the freedom and expressionism with which both approach the composed material enables a seamless juxtaposition of the written and improvised works. The music puts abstraction in the fore, with ideas colliding throughout the record. This is a very modernist agenda with the express intention of conveying the artists' very personal relationships with many of their predecessors, while simultaneously offering their own contribution.
Track Listing: Monotype; Fais Do-Do; Blind Pig; Type A; Hitchcock; Line Up; All Alone; Hamburg; Stick The Landing; For A. H.; Type O; Cross Circuits; Whirlygig; Pitter Panther Patter.
Personnel: Russ Lossing: piano; John Hebert: bass.
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
Login to your All About Jazz member account to submit articles and press releases, upload images, edit musician profiles, add events and business listings, communicate with other members via personal messages, submit inqueries or contribute any content.