Uncompahgre by Ben Goldberg and Kirk Knuffke.
Label Website: Uncompahgre
To get the curious title out of the way, the album (and songs) are all named after places in Colorado: Uncompahgre, Leadville, Granby, Carbondale, etc.
I was curious about this album of Cornet and Clarinet duets from Goldberg and Knuffke as I’d recently listened to two duo albums from Nate Wooley and Ken Vandermark, primarily Trumpet and Clarinet.
How would the Goldberg/Knuffke dynamic differ from the Wooley Vandermark dynamic?
And you would think two albums of, as we say, similar linear instruments playing duets, would be sort of similar. But the feel of the two (three, really) albums are completely different.
I guess part of it is both of the Vandermark/Wooley albums are live, while Uncompahgre is closely recorded in the studio where we can hear much more of the detail in the playing.
But most of it is Goldberg and Vandermark and Knuffke and Wooley are very different players, even though their instruments are similar.
Goldberg and Knuffke feel like they are still figuring out their relationship, while Vandermark and Wooley know what to expect from each other.
There is serious, tentative, energy in Uncompahgre, and on the whole a more serious tone, appropriate for an album theme based on a mountainous state. Goldberg leans a bit more towards classical and traditional jazz idioms than Vandermark. Knuffke, also, is a more traditional jazz player than Wooley.
There’s a little bit of New Orleans here and a fair bit of Thelonious Monk in the feel, but overall, while not that “out there”, Uncompahgre is a pretty deep record. I’ve listened a couple times and find hearing more of the little things in their individual playing and interactions is very interesting. Keeps me coming back for more.
#Uncompahgre #BenGoldeberg #KirkKnuffke #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #RelativePitchRecords