George Lewis

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Conversations Review

by Thom Jurek

This series of duets between trombonist George Lewis and bassist Bertham Turetzky is anything but a minimally theoretical recording. Here are workouts ("North Country Diatribe"), songs ("Brief Ballad" and "After Dark"), deep funky blues ("Ecumenical Blues"), and truly wooly improvisations ("Take One"). But it's all improvisation, of course; all realized dynamic and dramatic tension as played by a pair of veteran support players who really know how to drive a band. Yet these nine selections are actually conversations in their truest sense in that when a statement is made by one and answered by the other, it is dialogue certainly, but, more importantly, conversation in that the way one musician states his course and state of affairs is then shaped by the other, who turns it back over and again and so on until at the end of this series of musical metonymic strategies and metaphorical constructions, what emerges is an interplay that rests on the embrace of the three dimensions of tonality to state its case. And who can ask for more than this -- that a recording communicate so completely what it is, that the listener is engaged from the first moment through the last bar -- not many, I think.

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