Two For Joyce, that's James Joyce the title is referring to. And the 'Two' is a reference to the two musicians, pianist Keith Tippett
and bassist Giovanni Maier
, because Two For Joyce
is one long (50 minute) improvised recorded live performance.
Captured May 2012, during the "Le Nuove Rotte del Jazz" (New Routes in Jazz) Jazz Festival in Trieste, a city Joyce once lived. The pair draw as much density as a Joyce novel, yet nothing is lost in translation from literature to jazz.
The celebrated pianist with roots in King Crimson, Soft Machine, and Mujician has been one of Europe's leading free jazz pioneers. His recordings with Elton Dean
and Paul Dunmall
are legendary. His solo and prepared piano recordings like Mujician I/II
and Mujician III (August Air)
(FMP, 1987) are coveted items.
Teamed with Maier, whose solo The Talking Bass
(Long Sound, 2010), compliments his work in bands Nexus, Daniele Cavallanti Quartet, Tiziano Tononi, and the occasional session with Italian Instabile Orchestra, the pair present a memorable evening. The music is unbuttoned throughout, Maier's bowed and plucked deep bottom is the constant foundation for Tippett's prepared piano that vibrates like a resonator dulcimer. The pair extend their instruments to insides and out, but mostly they opt for a conventional approach. Tippett favors both classical references and the blues, his musical leanings touch on Bill Evans
and Bach. The pair drop names here and there, quoting "Goodbye Porkpie Hat" by Charles Mingus
snippets from "Tea For Two." While few of us can actually claim to have read (and understood) Ulysses
, this interpretation of Joyce is easily comprehended.