Sal Mosca

Sal Mosca on the Piano

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This is an enjoyable and unusual collection of duos between pianist and Tristano student Sal Mosca and bassist Peter Ind, recorded at two separate occasions during the late '50s. Side one of the LP consists of several fragments of pieces from a live date at the Hotel Duane in New York City, complete with clinking glasses and background conversation. The partial nature of the cuts, often truncated at either end of the entire piece, makes it impossible to judge them as complete performances, but the imaginative interplay between the musicians is nonetheless apparent. As typical of the Tristano school, the lines are clear and linear, the luxuriousness of the passages coming less from sonic richness than from the delicate counterpart between instruments. This "cool" quality can be off-putting to some listeners but others (including fans of avant-garde musicians like Anthony Braxton who site work such as this as a major influence) will find a surprising degree of modernity here. The earlier, side-long cut from 1955 is perhaps even more interesting: a 16-minute piano/bass improvisation that, despite using a number of standards as thematic material (including "Pennies From Heaven"), is remarkably free-ranging for the period. Though somewhat less adventurous than, say, Cecil Taylor's investigations from around the same time, tracks like this one give the listener a fuller idea of what was transpiring in one of the tributaries of avant-garde jazz at the time, even if it sounds entirely "traditional" almost five decades hence. This album was scheduled for release on disc in 2001, but as of mid-2002 nothing had yet appeared.