Jan Maksimowicz / Dmitrij Golovanov: Thousand Seconds Of Our Lives

John Sharpe BY

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Saxophonist Jan Maksimowicz and pianist Dmitrij Golovanov, two of the Lithuanian jazz scene's younger generation, combine on Thousand Seconds Of Our Life, which seems to be the name of their project as well as this album. While they may not have high profiles outside of their home country, both have a number of domestic releases under their belts. Maksimowicz is a member of the heavyweight Shinkarenko Jazz Quartet, while Golovanov has appeared alongside one of his nation's best known reedmen, Liudas Mockūnas, on Drop It (NoBusiness, 2011).

Although both have used electronics elsewhere, for this largely extemporized duet they confine themselves to the primary colors of soprano saxophone and piano, in a 42-minute program of 11 collaborations, titled after their duration, and one cover. Whether verbally agreed or not, that restraint also extends to the mood, whereby each track maintains a particular feel, and given the relative brevity, doesn't outstay its welcome. The outcome is an accessible offering featuring introspective lyricism, segments of unvarnished tranquillity, and mercurial exchange that never threatens to overpower the overall ethos.

Maksimowicz benefits from the close miked recording, with every exhalation and murmur audible, most notably on the solo "140 seconds" where the physical effort of his staccato plosives lingers after each note. His breathy soprano joins with Golovanov's romantically inflected piano on "300 seconds" to conjure a quiet understated beauty which could be composed such is its self-possession and delicate setting of melody. Similarly songlike is the wistful "228 seconds," while "193 seconds" enjoys a winsome folk dance quality.

But there's also more dramatic fare, revealed by the peak of vivid flourishes and anguished cries ascended in "337 seconds," and the turbulent soaring second half of "302 seconds," which follows an unaccompanied passage of stately piano. With its manipulations of the piano's innards and susurrations which barely turn into notes, the spectral "210 seconds...of our life" forms something of an outlier in terms of mechanics, if not effect, while the final rendition of Kenny Kirkland's "Duendia" as a limpid enigmatic ballad, blends well with the prevailing emotional temperature.

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