Pianist Michael Kanan and guitarist Peter Bernstein created great beauty at Smalls (183 Tenth Street) last Thursday night.
They are both intuitively gracious players, so the two chordal instruments (each its own orchestra) never collided, never seemed to overpower each other. It was a sweet dance, a conversation, rather than a cutting contest — with lovely sonorities. Michael and Peter decided at the start of the night to alternate song choices: one of them would begin a song and the other would fall in — a delightfully playful collaboration.
The music they made was harmonically and emotionally deep yet it felt translucent, open.
Hear MY IDEAL or the second set’s BALLAD MEDLEY. Brad Linde, sitting next to me for a few numbers before going off to his own gig with Ted Brown, thought of Bill Evans and Jim Hall. I thought of the Pablo duet of Jimmy Rowles and Joe Pass, CHECKMATE, of Tatum and Debussy, of a reverence for melody and harmony. But to burden this music with words would be wrong. Listen!
THE NEARNESS OF YOU:
LULLABY OF THE LEAVES:
WHAT IS THIS THING CALLED LOVE?:
WRAP YOUR TROUBLES IN DREAMS:
NOBODY ELSE BUT ME:
BALLADS (Gone With The Wind, Too Late Now, Moonlight in Vermont):
An honor, a privilege to hear this music!