The New York City Jazz Record review by Ken Waxman

Jason Robinson/Anthony Davis – Cerulean Landscape (CF 198)
Back to the future for pianist Anthony Davis, this CD is a reminder that the improvising skill he first exhibited in the ‘70s still lurks within the composer now best-known for his chamber, choral and symphonic work. Co-leader of the band Cosmologic, multi-reedist Jason Robinson renews the on-again-off-again relationship he has had with Davis since 1998 for a series of duo numbers, most composed by either man. Nevertheless, “Someday I’ll Know”, written by musical theater composer Jason Sherbundy, is the tune closest to a standard and both so-called avant-gardists handle it exquisitely. Robinson’s moderato flutter tonguing quivers comfortably alongside low-frequency keyboard tinkles from Davis. Delicately emphasizing the tune’s contours as it unspools, the pianist turns to comping when the saxophonist reenters with a conclusive andante cadenza. Not that the experimental fire has been smothered. Harsher interface on “Of Blues and Dreams” finds the pianist nearly upsetting the balanced tension of the piece when his metronomic strums and soundboard resonations turn to harder syncopation in contrast with reed-biting and screechy triple-tonguing from the saxophonist. Finally, underlying chords are exposed from both sides for melodic intertwining. Earlier modal jazz-era tremolos from Davis and Robinson, proving that his attack on flute can be as rough and staccato as it is on saxophone(s), produces the duo’s ultimate definition on the title track. Davis’deliberately paced, pseudo-classical lines turn to key-ringing in order to match the smears and finger vibrations from Robinson’s tenor. Initially unaccompanied, the reedist’s glide to legato classicism from overblowing variations on distinct sets of reed tones ingeniously connects with the piano work.

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