Russ Lossing / John Hebert
Line Up

[hat hut,]

We've heard pianist Russ Lossing in trio format, solo and now we get the chance to uncover his abilities in duo scenario. Teaming up with bassist John Hebert, "Line Up" sees the leader move forward in his penchant for some illustrious and richly inspired music. With only a few composed pieces [Duke Ellington's "Pitter Panther Patter" and Irving Berlin's "All Alone" along four original pieces from both players], most of the record concentrates on pure improvisations. It's those pieces that clearly illustrate the symbiotic relationship of the two. While Lossing is keen to play rather distinctly briskly paced passages, Hebert responds in turn with terrific arco and swift finger-picking across the strings. When the mood strikes, the duo slows pacing down a few notches. As the ivories are struck with careful forethought, and the strings are plucked in rapid succession, in those somber, lushly caressing minutes is where the real, stark beauty of this duo remains. Lossing's background as a film composer gives this music a rather cinematic quality. There's a carefully unraveling story that's being told here. Rather than lament the sparseness of piano-bass duets, one has to appreciate what we presently hold. "Line Up" showcases another winning combination from the expansive repertoire of this pianist who has yet to see his day in the headlines.

- Tom Sekowski

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