Brooklyn-based Red Piano Records is proud to announce the release of Whispers and Cries from tenor saxophonist Noah Preminger and pianist Frank Carlberg. This album features Preminger and Carlberg in an intimate duo setting. Recorded at the historic Jordan Hall in Boston, with its exquisite acoustics, on this program they explore standards and jazz classics.
On Whispers and Cries Preminger and Carlberg engage in a musical dialogue that ranges from hushed whispers to roaring expressions of emotions. The duo has a deep simpatico and rather than follow each other, they compliment each other with unerring ease. The listener is treated to a private recital, as if eavesdropping on these two remarkable improvisers making music together.
The program opens with a delicate reading of George Gershwin's Someone To Watch Over Me. The piano introduction with its icy chords and fleeting allusions to I Got Rhythm and Rhapsody In Blue (also by Gershwin) leads to Preminger's entrance with the melody. His sound luscious and his expression soulful, making for a memorable reading of the tune. After improvised statements the melody is given a short recap before the last yearning cries fade away in to silence.
Billy Strayhorn's classic Take The A Train starts with a humorous variation on the familiar intro. Preminger and Carlberg engage in a lively and playful exchange constantly shifting tempos and ideas around before finally settling in to a medium tempo that leads to the piano solo.
With Embraceable You we return to Gershwin. The song is given a straightforward reading except for the rare delicacy and sensitivity exhibited by both the saxophonist and pianist. It is with a sense of maturity that they trust in the music and let their sounds and expressiveness lead us to a rarefied air of intimacy.
Thelonious Monk's Reflections starts with some searching harmonies and a hint of It Never Entered My Mind. The duo has a rubato conversation around the melody until the last A-section when they settle in to tempo. After lively sax and piano statements the melody reappears before a tongue-in-cheek multi-phonic by Preminger ends the track over piano ruminations.
Bobby Troup's The Meaning Of The Blues, maybe best remembered from some Miles Davis/Gil Evans collaborations (think Miles Ahead...), is given an energetic reading here with a sense of sustain and suspense. The track starts with Preminger's solo sax statement before the duo converges on a pedal tone. Some extensive improvised statements follow until the propulsion finally slows down to a halt as the melody fades in to the ether.
The old standard These Foolish Things gets a treatment here that owes more than a little to the Monk version on his celebrated trio recording on the Prestige label. The stride-like piano gait leads the music forward while Preminger hoots and hollers on top.
Otis Redding and Frank Sinatra introduced Try A Little Tenderness to many new listeners. The track opens with a virtuosic extended solo sax intro with shades of the melody always close by. As the piano enters Preminger seems to be channeling Redding's treatment of the song. After the piano takes over and the melody is restated the solo sax ends with echoes of the intro. A true tour-de-force by Preminger.
Aura Lee is given a spacious and impressionistic treatment here. A folk melody, known to many from Elvis Presley's (Love Me Tender) version, finds the duo in a contemplative mood. Carlberg reaches inside the piano and Preminger is at his breathy best before the two build to an emotional climax and then quickly fade away.
On the old classic Tea For Two Preminger gets things started. The duo then tumble phrases at and around each other. Carlberg takes over and Preminger rejoins, and just like their idols (Monk, Rollins, Young etc.)the duo improvise in close proximity to the melody. After more resourceful melodic variations we get a final hint at the original at the end.
To close the album the duo treats us to I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face (of My Fair Lady fame) a delicate and hushed reading. This performance, a heartfelt tribute to the memory of Carlberg's mother, finds the duo at its sensitive best; not a phrase or gesture too much - just a sincere dialogue between two musicians happy and comfortable with each other's company.
Noah Preminger has recorded numerous critically acclaimed albums and is steadily listed as one of the best tenor saxophonists by critics and readers on the annual DownBeat Magazine Critics Poll.
Preminger grew up in Canton, Connecticut, released his debut album, Dry Bridge Road, just after his 21st birthday which was named Debut of the Year in the Village Voice Critics Poll. The saxophonist has performed on key stages around the world, and he has played and/or recorded with the likes of Billy Hart, Dave Holland, John Patitucci, Fred Hersch, Dave Douglas, Rob Garcia, Joe Lovano, Victor Lewis, John and Bucky Pizzarelli, Cecil McBee, George Cables, Roscoe Mitchell, and Dr. Eddie Henderson.
The Finland-native, Brooklyn-based Frank Carlberg has an extensive catalogue of compositions including pieces for small jazz and improvisational groups, big band, orchestra, music for dance companies, and over 150 songs with settings of contemporary American poetry. He has over twenty recordings to his name as a leader and countless others as a sideman, and has worked with the likes of Kenny Wheeler, Steve Lacy and Bob Brookmeyer. He owns and operates Red Piano Records.
Wednesday, March 28th, Jazz at the Kitano, New York NY
Friday, March 30th, Dimensions In Jazz @ Woodfords Church, Portland ME