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Two Voices In the Desert

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Clarinetist Perry Robinson and pianist Burton Greene have a history dating back to the heady days of mid-'60s New York, though they didn’t formally record together until Greene assembled projects like Klezmokum and Klez-Edge. Two Voices in the Desert brings the pair together for a program of Jewish and Jewish-themed music, and their duo improvisations touch on the folk roots of Eastern European classical music and timeworn, familiar melodies. Greene’s pianism recalls Horace Silver and Lennie Tristano, as well as the music of Erik Satie, eliding from pointillism to bluesy swagger on the opening “Syl’s Freylekhs.” The companion “Burty’s Freylekhs” employs a glassy insistence, emphasizing the keyboard’s broad range in a near-continuous rollick, with Robinson’s soft and woody commentary offsetting Greene’s orchestral tendencies. “Desert Suite” starts with a piano-ocarina duet; the piano chords and ornaments are alternately airy and massive as a keening clarinet pushes toward sideways warbles and under-the-hood rustles. The second half of the track, “Eitan,” is spiky yet conversational, and like all of the pieces here, shows an extraordinary amount of empathy.


Born: September 17, 1938 in New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Throughout his career, Perry Robinson has sought to do the near-impossible: establish himself as an avant-garde leader on an instrument still closely associated with the swing era. After extensive formal study (including the Lenox School of Jazz in 1959), Robinson played with such advanced musicians as Paul Bley, Archie Shepp, and Bill Dixon. He was with Roswell Rudd's quintet in 1968, appeared on several works by the Jazz Composers' Orchestra, and in 1972 worked with Gunter Hampel. In a change...
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Two Voices In the Desert, Perry Robinson
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