Friday, March 6, 2015

David Roitstein and Larry Koonse: Conversations

Jazz Compass
By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Conversations

Larry Koonse started to play guitar at age 7, and was only 15 when he recorded his first jazz album with his father, Dave, also a guitarist (Father and Son Jazz Guitars). I covered one of their more recent collaborations several years back — Dialogue of the Heart — which led to infrequent but always engaging correspondence with Larry. 

He sent along a discography of his other releases — there are dozens — and I’ve made it a point to catch up with as many as possible. He’s a master of his instrument, and one of my favorite artists.

Conversations, a duet with pianist David Roitstein, is one of Koonse’s newest releases. He and Roitstein composed six of the 10 tracks; the others come from Darek Oleszkiewizk (bassist on many of Koonse’s albums), Lea Freire, Antonio Carlos Jobim (“Luiza”) and Thelonious Monk (“Think of One”).

Jazz can swing; it can be joyous; it can be beautiful. Occasionally, it can be all of these things at the same time. On this album, Koonse and Roitstein have achieved that pinnacle.

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