Psalm documents a 49-minute musical conversation between pianist Sal Mosca and tenor saxophonist and composer Jimmy Halperin, both followers of pianist and teacher Lennie Tristano. The session was recorded all of a piece and employs a unique structure. After an improvised introduction, seven Halperin themes are stated, each bridged by a free cadenza. Only after those themes are played do Halperin and Mosca turn to improvising on six of the seven. (They skip "Gazelle"). Each improvisation is also bridged by a brief free cadenza. The result is free flowing, meditative music. The execution of the themes is relaxed, looser than the locked horns effect that Warne Marsh and Lee Konitz achieved when playing with Tristano in the very earliest days of the style. The lines flow in long intricate waves made up of sixteenth note patterns that slip into triplet figures that seem to float against the time. The freer articulation of the themes fits the mood of the session, giving the impression of the two musicians spinning the melodies off the top of their heads. The improvisations themselves are natural extensions of the intricate melodies, and despite the apparent freedom are based on that handful of standard chord progressions favored by the Tristano school. Halperin is a deeply lyrical player, who, no matter how twisted his lines become, always italicizes the melodic touchstones. Mosca tempers his tendency to rhapsodize with a light stride that always keeps the underlying structure intact.
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AllMusic Review by David Dupont