Richie Beirach

Convergence

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Pianist Richie Beirach and saxophonist George Coleman interpret a collection of standards, with a few Beirach originals thrown in for good measure. Beirach's a world-class jazz romantic; his soft touch makes it sound as if there's a pillow underneath the keyboard. Which is not to say he's an imprecise player, or needlessly docile. He's really quite the opposite, but there's an underlying gentleness to his work that imparts an air of vulnerability to everything he plays, even when he's at his most aggressive. Coleman is similar, in a way, though the saxophonist's sensitivity is occasionally camouflaged by a good-natured surliness that we know is just a front. On this album, Coleman can't help but put his heart on his sleeve -- Beirach's accompaniments demand it. The music that results is a nice blend of the bucolic and the temperamental; the pianist's pastoral tranquility combines with the saxophonist's restless urbanity to good ends.

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