CD: Knuffke & Stacken

Kirk Knuffke & Jess Stacken, Orange Was The Color (Steeplechase).

Balancing daring and restraint, Knuffke and Stacken address 11 of Charles Mingus’s compositions. Knuffke sets aside his trumpet in favor of cornet to intertwine, contrast and parallel his lines with Stracken’s piano. He achieves remarkable precision and velocity at low volume. Stracken equals Knuffke in the control and articulation departments. Among the highlights: a section of free counterpoint on “Ecclusiastics” and heartfelt treatment of “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat.” The joy of their leap into “So Long Eric” is reminiscent of a cornet-piano team that thrived 85 years earlier: Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines. Also available as a CD.

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