All About Jazz-New York review by Stuart Broomer

Stephan Crump/James Carney – Echo Run Pry  (CF 199)
The duo of string bass and piano can look like a mismatch, the piano casually covering the pitch rangeof an orchestra with a keyboard that facilitates chords, counterpoint and rapid lines with less effort than any other acoustic instrument. The bass, by contrast, requires substantial effort to play with much dexterity at all. Since the Duke Ellington/Jimmy Blanton duets, however, pianists and bassists have been finding different ways to talk to each other musically. The approach taken by bassist Stephan Crump and pianist James Carney on Echo Run Pry is different again, more a slow unfolding of possibilities and a search for a common language. The two were playing together for the first time as a duo when Crump decided to record the 2008 meeting and the results reward repeated listening, each trip through the CD getting closer to the remarkable level of listening that seems to have taken place between them. The disc is divided between two long improvisations – “Rodeo Gwen” and “Mood Genre” – and each has a strongly organic form. There’s very little sense of conscious choice going on in the evolution of voices, rather a kind of inevitability, as if Carney’s move from the keyboard to the piano’s interior is an unconscious act, as if Crump’s bow appears in his hand without forethought or decision. Everything seems not dictated but ordained, in a lyrical movement of the highest level. You don’t get overwhelming virtuosity here but the sense of individual voices, the degree of empathy creating a fluid, linear, conversational form.

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