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Nils Wogram/Simon Nabatov: The Move

Budd Kopman By

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Trombonist Nils Wogram has been playing and recording with pianist Simon Nabatov for the past ten years, and they have developed a very close musical comraderie. The Move is composed of seven pieces, three by Wogram and four by Nabatov, that explore many different moods and emotions, many times with good-natured humor.

The record has the feeling of a recital—the music sounds very through-composed and rehearsed—but that could just as easily come from good composition and exceptional musical reflexes honed to familiarity by time.

Wogram is a trombonist with no technical limitations; his playing transcends the instrument. He can fly high into its upper range and then instantly fall to its very bottom. Ranging from a bell-like, very clear sound to a rasp or split notes, Wogram uses his prodigious technique to create a very wide emotional range. Nabatov is a very strong, clear player who can also shift gears instantly moving from crashing, dense chords and a driving left hand to a singing line with lots of pedal. From the first notes of The Move, it is clear why they have recorded so much together.

"Lay Low," actually written by Nabatov, is a show piece for Wogram's split notes as his line is played in unison by Nabatov's left hand, way down in the depths of both instruments. "Ballooning," written by Wogram, begins with Nabatov playing wide open sounds that invoke the feeling of floating and surround Wogram's very low notes. The piece then continues delightfully on its airborne trip as we look down over the landscape.

Nabatov's "Herbie and Pierre" is the longest piece at almost seventeen minutes. Starting with a classical fugue-like introduction whose main figure provides the central thread of the first half of the work, Nabatov builds an impressive edifice that never quite resolves, becoming a tour de force where Bach meets Mussorgsky with faint echoes of the "Rite of Spring." The second half sounds a bit like "Lay Low" with its unison low piano and gruff trombone, and thus the mild-mannered Herbie crashes against the bullish Pierre, who can get down and has a penchant for the blues, but they finally do some stride walking together by the end. Great stuff.

The long lines of the beautiful "Simple Sentiment" opens with Wogram at his warmest and ends the set. While Wogram is the lead instrument, Nabatov encircles him, sometimes playing the line also, while at others counter lines fly from one hand to the other.

This is marvelous, intelligent and good-natured music, played by a duo with a single mind. Highly recommended.

Visit Nils Wogram and Simon Nabatov on the web.

Track Listing: Fall; Lay Low; The Move; Ballooning; Itapo; Herbie and Pierre; Simple Sentiment.

Personnel: Nils Wogram: trombone; Simon Nabatov: piano

Title: The Move | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Between the Lines

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