Maria Baptist - Jan von Klevitz - Facing Duality
Maria Baptist - piano
Jan von Klewitz - sax
Maria Baptist & Jan von Klewitz - CD Facing Duality or the Art of the Duo
The title of the CD reveals the musical intention of the project. To make the duality of mutually influencing forces of a musical world creative. Two instruments, two personalities should suffice: Maria Baptist's grand piano and Jan von Klewitz's alto saxophone. The rest is magic, inspiration and a little mystery. Well, does such a high artistic standard work? The Berliner in himself would say upon listening to the CD: There is nothing to complain about! That would then be the highest praise that could not be surpassed. For non-Berliners, further explanations would be useful. Here we go.
The CD contains familiar titles, mostly performed as ballads and taken from previous albums of the Maria Baptist Big Band and the latest solo CD, but also new compositions. As usual, all the titles are exquisite works that have an impact through their musical substance. Consequently, the titles can be played convincingly by a large formation (big band) as well as by a duo, which is true here.
At the first listening, one is immediately struck: The tremendous rhythmic and dynamic presence of the music assaults the listener, mercilessly. There's big sound in just two instruments, eager to show that two gifted musicians can come close to the sound of a big band. Maria Baptist's piano alone is a "big band light". Right and left hands constantly influence each other, striking sophisticated harmonic chords, indulging in intricate melodic lines, playing irrepressibly freely (Midnight Rain) and coming back to the motif of the title. Now, this may be part of the upscale craft of outstanding jazz pianists, but this confident ease with depth that can be experienced on Facing Duality is fascinating and meets the highest standards. This is true of all the tracks, but especially: Facing Duality, Minotaur, Sea of Blackness, Gratitude, Cloud 9, Longing.
Melody & Harmony
Pleasing melody lines (Natural Landscape, Minotaur, Midnight Rain, Cloud 9) introduce a title, develop it, vary the motif. The pieces give the partner the freedom to make something highly original out of the compositional material. These themes contain the whole spectrum of musical possibilities, which are explored and lived out soloistically and improvisationally. This applies not only to the playing of the own person, but equally to the corresponding musical partner - face to face.
Playing style & improvisations
The tracks are compact, yet so openly structured that compositional parts are sometimes almost indistinguishable from improvisations, which alternate as complementary or conflicting passages. There is always something new, something different to discover. This is the art of the duo in jazz, which is also superbly recorded here on Facing Duality.
Not a matter of course, but the adaptation of a theme, the variation of ideas, moves through the playing of alto saxophonist Jan von Klewitz on an equal footing with that of his partner. The man on alto sax is a congenial partner with his intonations, his clearly structured solos, his expressive emotionality. This can be heard on all tracks. In general, all pieces have a high emotionality in their musical statements, which is transmitted directly. Ballads to indulge in, to dream, to sink into oneself. You can't complain, and neither can you: premium league!
Text: Cosmo Scharmer