Paul Breiner, pianist,
composer (pupil of Alexander Moyzes
in Bratislava) and also arranger is
featured on Naxos with his Songs and
Dances from the Silk Road, coupled with
The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto.
Here he joins with Juraj Bartos to form
an all-Slovak duo in these straight-ahead
jazz performances of Gershwin standards.
The style is broadly contemporary-mainstream
(there probably isnít such a category
in the notoriously schematic jazz camp
but there is now). Classically trained
though they are, both show strong -
if diluted - jazz affinities, and lavish
considerable care over texture and colour.
That said Iím not sure
what the Girl from Ipanema is
doing introducing But Not for Me
except itís the kind of thing jazz musicians
are prone to do (these two do it less
than most). Juraj has a big tone, fine
technique, plenty of ideas but can be
a bit showy and is often inclined to
play too many notes. Still he does use
a wa-wa mute on They Canít Take That
Away From Me, digging in deep, with
Breiner opening with some Garner-ish
obscurities and big-spaced chording.
I wish the trumpeter hadnít showboated
with quite so many strained high notes
Ė it sounds conservatoire-fake to me.
Breiner interjects some Bachian moments
Ė try The Man I Love Ė and Bartos
some bluesy ones on A Foggy Day.
The trumpet-piano duo is a difficult
one in jazz but the arrangements are
generally well worked out and whilst
the styles covered Ė vamp, gospel, blues,
cocktail lounge, bop and straight ahead
Ė might suggest musical kleptomania
in fact they work out alright.
see also review
by Patrick Gary