More and more duets are becoming a staple in the jazz idiom. Swedish/American Flutist and composer Elsa Nilsson and pianist Jon Cowherd have joined together to create a beautifully inspirational offering. Nilsson admits she draws inspiration from every aspect of life to create deeply personal expressions through her compositions. Cowherd who is best known for his long running partnership with drummer Brian Blade, brings a stunning partnership to the music. The two have been playing in this paired down duo setting around New York City since 2014, exploring the divinity a duet offers when all the layers of a large ensemble art stripped away. Their second outing together in this format is titled After Us.
Positives: A chemistry exists between Nilsson and Cowherd that goes beyond the notes on the page, their rapport is felt in and through the music as they traverse each composition with inspiration.
Bottom Line: Duets are one of the hardest musical formats if the musicians are not prepared for the space it lends. In the case of Nilsson and Cowherd, it is immediately evident the two have a long running chemistry that delves deeply into each composition, pulling out the subtle nuances, while at the same time presenting passionate performances. Texturally, Nilsson plays standard tuning flute, alto flute, bass flute and each tonally play their role in the sonicscape of amplitude. Cowherd is masterful also at creating a multitude of textures and utilizes dynamics well in service to the songs. Together Nilsson and Cowherd meld as a duet as they deliver the breadth of their original compositions. That’s the short of it!