83

Howard Riley: Two is One

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count
Howard Riley: Two is One Howard Riley is one of those musicians that we (those of us in the UK, that is) too easily take for granted. If he were flying in from some far-flung corner of the globe to perform, we'd be loudly singing his praises; as it is, we know he's great, but we don't shout about it often enough. This release provides a chance to remedy that a little.

Two is One is a near-flawless gem. It finds Riley duetting with himself for the first time in over a quarter of a century. In the studio, Riley improvised nine shortish pieces—none over eight minutes—and then immediately added a second piano part while reacting to the playback of the first. The resulting music—with the first part on the left channel and the second on the right—does not sound overdubbed; rather, it sounds like two players, totally tuned into each other's thoughts, improvising together spontaneously, without premeditation. The stimulus and response intertwine so well that without that channel separation, it would be almost impossible to determine which is which.

Riley draws on a vast reservoir of piano history here, so it would be possible to cite dozens of players whom the music calls to mind. The only one that Riley name-checks overtly is Monk on "Osoiretsim —not improvised, but based on a Monk piece [clue: reverse the title]. Elsewhere, from the fractured boogie train rhythms of "Doubling to the inside/outside duet of strings with keys on "With Strings, to the restrained melodic beauty of "After the Storm, there is a profusion of rich, varied music here, music to return to repeatedly and often.


Track Listing: Two is One; Closely; Empathy; Second Thoughts; Doubling; Osoiretsim: Hear and Now; With Strings: Unique; After the Storm.

Personnel: Howard Riley: two pianos overdubbed.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Emanem


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Which Craft?" CD/LP/Track Review Which Craft?
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: November 30, 2016
Read "Yellow Red Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Yellow Red Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 2, 2016
Read "Habana Dreams" CD/LP/Track Review Habana Dreams
by James Nadal
Published: July 5, 2016
Read "Billows Of Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Altered Narratives" CD/LP/Track Review Altered Narratives
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 2, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!