Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
83

Howard Riley: Two is One

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count Views
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 For Jazz

Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Discussions
Discussions
Dusk Fire
2015
buy
10.11.12
10.11.12
NoBusiness Records
2015
buy
To Be Continued
To Be Continued
Slam Productions
2014
buy
[no cover]
To Be Continued ...
Not On Label
2014
buy
Live With Repertoire
Live With Repertoire
NoBusiness Records
2014
buy
[no cover]
St. Cyprians 3
Not On Label
2012
buy
Gil Evans Gil Evans
composer/conductor
Evan Parker Evan Parker
sax, tenor
Tim Berne Tim Berne
saxophone
Derek Bailey Derek Bailey
guitar
Mike Westbrook Mike Westbrook
composer/conductor
Dave Burrell Dave Burrell
piano
Tubby Hayes Tubby Hayes
saxophone

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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