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By Billy Hart, George Mraz, Gregor Huebner, Richie Beirach, and Randy Brecker. By Gregor Huebner, Richard Beirach, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), John Coltrane, and Gene De Paul. Jazz. CD. Naxos #ACT9839-2. Published by Naxos (NX.ACT9839-2).
Item Number: NX.ACT9839-2
When it comes to jazz musicians improving with age, the pianist Richie Beirach is a perfect example. With the release of "Live at Birdland New York" the pianist-composer is celebrating his 70th birthday, and demonstrates he's still at the top of his game alongside his congenial partner of two decades, the Stuttgart-born, New York based violinist Gregor Huebner. Another birthday boy, Huebner is also celebrating a milestone, reaching half a century on May 23, the exact same day as Beirach. As a tribute, Munich-based jazz label ACT releases an album featuring highlights recorded in 2012 from their decade long annual week's "live" residence at the illustrious Birdland in New York, in which they are joined by the high caliber lineup of bassist George Mraz, trumpeter Randy Brecker, and drummer Billy Hart. It's through the development of their own uniquely imaginative version of 'third stream,' the absorption of elements of the European 'classical' music tradition into New York's postbop idioms that they've found so much common ground. Huebner writes: "I think the music of certain composers is more approachable for improvisation than others. For example, Bach was a great improviser and you hear that in his music... The mix of the music on the [album] is very typical for us, you find classical pieces, our own compositions, a typical jazz standard and a composition by John Coltrane. Each piece brings something totally new but everything is connected through improvisation.".