Christian Burchard / Mal Waldron

Into the Light

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The collaborations between pianist Mal Waldron and vibist Christian Burchard are typically brooding and slow to get going, but once they pick up steam, they have all of the energy of Waldron's best releases of the 1960s and 1970s. The two men co-wrote four of the nine compositions on these 1989-1990 studio sessions, including the slowly evolving and rather long "From Darkness Into the Light," the tense miniature "Waters From the Waters," and the quartet piece "Gan Gan," which is named for the exotic hand percussion instrument (the gangan) played by Dieter Serfas on this somewhat whimsical work. Waldron also reprises songs written earlier in his career, including a haunting rendition of "Left Alone" that begins with Waldron strumming the piano's strings, and the crawling, well-titled "Lonely Nights." The CD ends with separate solo performances by both Waldron and Burchard. The pianist's "Embryo Solo" begins with an ominous cadence suggesting impending doom before it loses its intensity in a relatively calmer second half, which is unfortunately prematurely faded. "Giesing," the vibraphonist's coda, is brief and a bit overmodulated. This very enjoyable Italian CD is well worth acquiring.

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