12 Songs, 51 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Today it’s a given that most young jazz players are comfortable playing a variety of musical styles, from classical and electric fusion to traditional regional folk and rock. That's true with jazz keyboardist Dan Tepfer (whose last duo album was with Lee Konitz in 2009) and horn player Ben Wendel of the jazz-rock band Kneebody. Here they go all over the map, playing as a duo but often adding tasteful overdubs. We get majestic originals that show a strong sense of melody, like Tepfer’s “Gratitude” and Wendel’s insistent “Still Play.” Letting their roots show, they also offer unique versions of Thelonious Monk’s “Pannonica” and “Ask Me Now,” a near-manic version of Lennie Tristano’s “Line Up,” and an elegant version of Handel’s “Variation 1 in D Minor.” (Both musicians’ mothers were opera singers, and both studied classical music early on.) Comfortable with each other as well as with the myriad styles they tackle here, this duo has an undeniable chemistry; hopefully they’ll get back together soon to continue this conversation.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Today it’s a given that most young jazz players are comfortable playing a variety of musical styles, from classical and electric fusion to traditional regional folk and rock. That's true with jazz keyboardist Dan Tepfer (whose last duo album was with Lee Konitz in 2009) and horn player Ben Wendel of the jazz-rock band Kneebody. Here they go all over the map, playing as a duo but often adding tasteful overdubs. We get majestic originals that show a strong sense of melody, like Tepfer’s “Gratitude” and Wendel’s insistent “Still Play.” Letting their roots show, they also offer unique versions of Thelonious Monk’s “Pannonica” and “Ask Me Now,” a near-manic version of Lennie Tristano’s “Line Up,” and an elegant version of Handel’s “Variation 1 in D Minor.” (Both musicians’ mothers were opera singers, and both studied classical music early on.) Comfortable with each other as well as with the myriad styles they tackle here, this duo has an undeniable chemistry; hopefully they’ll get back together soon to continue this conversation.

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About Dan Tepfer

Dan Tepfer is a Brooklyn-based pianist known for his classically influenced, harmonically nuanced approach to acoustic post-bop jazz. Born to American parents in Paris in 1982, Tepfer grew up in a creative family with a mother who was an opera singer and a grandfather who played jazz piano. Interested in music from a young age, Tepfer began taking piano lessons at age six, studying at the Paris Conservatoire-Paul Dukas. Although a serious musician by his teens, he first earned a Bachelor's degree in astrophysics from Scotland's University of Edinburgh before focusing on music. In 2005, he graduated with a Master's degree from Boston's New England Conservatory where he studied under pianist Danilo Perez. Afterward, he relocated to New York where he quickly found work with such luminaries as Steve Lacy, Paul Motian, Bob Brookmeyer, Joe Lovano, Ralph Towner, Billy Hart, Mark Turner, and others. He also formed a lasting partnership with saxophonist Lee Konitz, with whom he toured and recorded. Highly regarded, Tepfer won first prize at both the 2006 Montreux Jazz Fest solo piano competition and 2006 East Coast Jazz Fest competition. He was also named JazzTimes Best New Artist in 2010 and DownBeat's Rising Star in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Tepfer has traveled the globe as a U.S. State Department Cultural Envoy, visiting such locals as Azerbaijan, Georgia, and the Czech Republic. As a solo performer, he made his debut in 2005 with the trio effort Before the Storm. He followed up with several more well-received efforts, including 2007's Oxygen, 2009's Twelve Free Improvisations in Twelve Keys, and 2010's Five Pedals Deep. A year later, he explored his classical side with Bach: Goldberg Variations and appeared on drummer Billy Hart's Sixty-Eight. The pianist then paired with saxophonist Ben Wendel for 2013's Small Constructions, followed a year later by the concert album First Meeting: Live in London, Vol. 1, featuring Konitz. In 2017, Tepfer delivered the trio recording Eleven Cages. ~ Matt Collar

  • ORIGIN
    Paris, France
  • GENRE
    Jazz
  • BORN
    1982

Songs

Albums

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