Convergence

Strike

LUM002 | Dec 2010 | CD

The album Convergence by the duo Strike featuring pianist Jeff Meyer and percussionist Paul Vaillancourt includes new music by composers Chen Yi, Brooke Joyce, Marc Mellits, Daniel Koontz and James David. This is an impressive duo performing new music from mostly composers I am not familiar with except for Chen Yi who has two discs out on New World as well as a dozen other labels. Ms. Yi's China West Suite is written for marimba & piano, was inspired by folk music from West China and is in four parts. The piece has a charming, playful quality with a bit of Zappa-like whimsy. The second part is a dreamy interlude while the intricate interplay on part three shows how the marimba and piano are perfect companions with a similar timbral range. The fourth part has that intense, near-frantic pace that gets me so excited. Brooke Joyce's Sacred Trees was inspired by the trees of the Native American burial grounds in Iowa known as Effigy Mounds. This piece is also a suite in six short parts. The piece balances between the mysterious and other-worldly sounds of playing inside the piano with the ghostlike sounds of ritualistic gongs and cymbals. It feels as if time is moving slowly, similar to the way trees gradually grow towards the sun. "Tight Sweater Remix" by Marc Mellits seems like an odd title for a modern composition but it is a tight, complex well-written work for piano & marimba, rambunctious and quite spirited. The next piece, Daniel Koontz' Soft Stillness and the Night comes from an opposite world. Ultra subtle in part with the exquisite use of silence and space and occasional bursts of activity. The final work is Jim David's Duo Toccata which employs the ringing tones of gongs with see-sawing piano lines. The effect is quietly mesmerizing, creating a playful dreamworld with a sprinkling of joyous melodies. It would seem that the two members of Strike have selected these composers and pieces so that this entire disc is engaging throughout and it works as a well-integrated program.

Bruce Lee Gallanter

Downtown Music Gallery

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