Pianist Kris Davis Releases Duopoly
A Set of Inspired, Intimate Duos with 8 Seasoned Collaborators,
Out September 30th
Album features originals, covers and free pieces in an inventive palindromic sequence
BILL FRISELL, TIM BERNE, DON BYRON, CRAIG TABORN, JULIAN LAGE,MARCUS GILMORE, BILLY DRUMMOND, ANGELICA SANCHEZ— artists with whom Davis had never before recorded
CD/DVD includes FULL FILM of Entire Album — Davis in duets with
Pianist, composer and bandleader Kris Davis
, just named one of Downbeat
magazine’s “25 for the Future,” has made outstanding music in trio, quartet and quintet formats; her most recent output ranges from solo piano (Massive Threads
) to an octet with four bass clarinets (Save Your Breath
). The next logical step seemed to be duo. After brainstorming with producer David Breskin, Davis was ready to make Duopoly
, a series of duos with eight colleagues, all highly regarded and accomplished improvisers. Each duo would play two pieces, one composed and the other free, 16 tracks in all.
“We decided to limit the instrumental palette of the guests,” writes Davis in her booklet text, and so she chose guitarists Bill Frisell and Julian Lage, pianists Craig Taborn and Angelica Sanchez, drummers Billy Drummond and Marcus Gilmore, and reed players Tim Berne and Don Byron. It was only later that the album’s two-part structure emerged, and within that structure, “a symmetrical, palindromic sequence,” Davis writes, “with what [Breskin] calls a ‘mobius twist’ in the middle.” In other words, the players rotate once through and then again in reverse order, with Frisell starting and finishing. The midway shift from structured writing to free improv feels entirely fluid and continuous.
“Additionally,” writes Davis, “the tracks are paired by instrument, for cohesive focus and the suggestive hint (or illusion) of a ‘phantom duo’ between each of the guitarists, pianists, drummers, and horn players.”
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