Saturday, May 26, 2018

Kirk Knuffke / Ben Goldberg - Uncompahgre (RELATIVE PITCH RECORDS 2018)

Uncompahgre (Relative Pitch 1064; USA) Featuring Kirk Knuffke on cornet and Ben Goldberg on clarinet. East (NYC) meets West (Bay area)? Over the past few years, both of these musicians have been very prolific: With ongoing and one-off projects, many disc and live sets. Singular cornetist, Kirk Knuffke, has recorded several great duos: Jesse Stacken, Michael Bisio and Karl Berger, as well as trios (Mary Halvorson & Matt Wilson, Jamie Saft & Hamid Drake). Not to forget his own quartets, Ideal Bread and a great quartet with Bisio, Art Bailey & Michael Wimberley. Bay area clarinet hero, Ben Goldberg, is a restless traveler and music explorer. With more than thirty recordings over the past two decades, Mr. Ben Goldberg, keeps sending us new projects/CD’s with varying personnel several times a year. Mr. Goldberg has done a few great duo discs with Myra Melford, Kenny Wolleson & Michael Coleman (aka Practioner), but he excels in the trio situation. Last year (2017) Mr. Goldberg asked to do a residency here at DMG for our free weekly in-store series. And he did five Sundays in the fall-to-winter with a number of heavy hitters: Nels Cline, Ingrid Laubrock & Tom Rainey, Tony Malaby & Billy Mintz. All great sets I am proud to say. Mr. Goldberg will be doing this again this Summer here on June 17, July 1st & August 12th.

This duo was recorded in a studio in Brooklyn in June of 2014. Cornet and clarinet duos are relatively rare (Duology with Ted Daniel & Michael Marcus is one). This duo seems to drawing on the long history of jazz and free/improv. They start out most modestly, with a calm sense of restraint, laid back, yet most inventive without pushing too hard yet. Both of these musicians have studied and are inspired by Steve Lacy, Mr. Kuffke with the quartet Ideal Bread (who play exclusively Lacy’s music) and Mr. Goldberg once took a lesson from Mr. Lacy, his most recent CD is a duo called Practioner, which was inspired by one particular Lacy album. Hence, I do hear the playful/serious essence of Mr. Lacy throughout this disc. I love the way these two invent structures, sometimes bending their lines around one another, tossing ideas back and forth in effortless abandon. They often sounds like they are challenging each other, try this or try that, question and answer, occasionally ending up on the same note or phrase. One of the things that makes this duo so special is that this disc is thoughtfully produced, warm and clean, completely acoustic. This seems like a modest effort yet somehow it captures the magic of superb, perfectly balanced duo. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG

Saguache 4:33
Basalt 3:10
Blue River 4:11
La Junta 2:53
Ouray 2:32
Gypsum 1:22
Rocky Ford 4:34
Leadville 2:59
Granby 5:29
De Beque 1:44
Paonia 1:16
Fairplay 2:05
Carbondale 4:46
Cortez 0:54

Kirk Knuffke - cornet
Ben Goldberg - clarinet