190

John Law / Mark Pringle: This is

Jakob Baekgaard By

Sign in to view read count
Traditionally, the art of the piano duo has been linked to classical music, and almost every significant classical composer, from Mozart to Maurice Ravel, has written music for two pianos. In jazz, however, this particular medium is somewhat rare, and although Bill Evans recorded Further Conversations with Myself (PolyGram, 1967), where he overdubbed himself on piano, decidedly pure piano duos in jazz have been scarce, with An Evening with Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea: In Concert (Columbia, 1978) being one of the more well-known highlights of the idiom.

Recently, however, with genres being dissolved and more and more classical pianists turning to jazz and vice versa, there has been a new blossoming of piano duos linked to jazz. Brad Mehldau's and Kevin Hays' Modern Music (Nonesuch, 2011) and Chick Corea's and Stefano Bollani's Orvieto (ECM, 2011) are only two of the most prominent examples of the newfound interest in the art form, but one of the strongest efforts comes from the partnership of British pianist John Law and his former student, Mark Pringle, with their album—simply titled This is—taking an encyclopedic journey through the rhythms and textures of their instruments.

It all begins with a bold reading of the third movement of J.S Bach's "Concerto for 2 Harpsichords in C." Here, the two pianists make each note stand crystal clear, while lines sing in fugal harmony, balancing rhythm, tempo and melody in a perfect manner.

From the virtuosity and polyphonic joy of Bach, the geographical location shifts from Germany to Brazil and the sun-baked joie de vivre of Lyle Mays' "Chorinho," whose dancing rhythms twirl around with breathtaking elegance. In this dance, Law and Pringle never step on each other's toes, but manage to retain both intimacy and space among the unfolding notes.

While a broad scope of musical tradition is embraced on the album, with tunes covering everything from J.S. Bach to Cole Porter, the real highlights of the album are the originals. Among them, the title tunes—Pringle's "This"; and Law's "Is"—are especially fascinating, both combining the vocabularies of jazz and classical in a singular and seamless way, coalescing improvisational surprise and a deep elegiac musicality that pays attention to every detail of their instruments' sound.

This is ends up being quite an apt description; this music could only be played by John Law and Mark Pringle.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Elusive CD/LP/Track Review Elusive
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Transitions CD/LP/Track Review Transitions
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Door Girl CD/LP/Track Review Door Girl
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Incidentals CD/LP/Track Review Incidentals
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Heart Knows CD/LP/Track Review Heart Knows
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Jersey CD/LP/Track Review Jersey
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 22, 2017
Read "Green With Envy" CD/LP/Track Review Green With Envy
by James Nadal
Published: March 28, 2017
Read "Pensamiento" CD/LP/Track Review Pensamiento
by James Nadal
Published: January 7, 2017
Read "2-Man Jazz Band" CD/LP/Track Review 2-Man Jazz Band
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 27, 2016
Read "Gol" CD/LP/Track Review Gol
by James Nadal
Published: July 28, 2017
Read "Skarkali" CD/LP/Track Review Skarkali
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 26, 2016
Read "New Affirmation" CD/LP/Track Review New Affirmation
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: February 6, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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