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“It would be too much to say, thinking of the Monk tune naming the city of this title, that Cohn’s piano was an extension of the monastic aesthetic. Yet in this series of spare, thoughtful duos with the resourceful drummer Bennington, there’s something of the quirky, self-contained approach to improvisation that we might loosely trace back to the master. But I hear more Tristano via Herbie Nichols in Cohn, to tell the truth; that and a jabbing quality that is halfway between Cecil and Mengelberg too. Together, the pair deal out an awful lot of interesting crossing rhythmic patterns with occasional bombs dropped or rhapsodies heard. One great place to study Cohn’s fragmentary, space heavy approach is in the Zeitlin and Mancini tunes. But his lengthy intro to “What Bob Wants to Hear” (for Bob Rusch) is quizzical and unexpected in wondrous ways, too. I’m not quite so sold on Cohn’s vocalisms which are especially pronounced the rattling mutant swing of “The Presidents Club.” They take a furtive, probing turn on “Steven” and the first take on the title tune, but they manage to keep things spacious while still cultivating a sense of urgency and forward momentum. After some nice sequences where Bennington impresses with his finely tuned drums, the album closes out satisfyingly, with highlights in the heart-on-sleeve “Quiet Now” and a playful, spindly reading of ‘The Days of Wine and Roses.'” – Jason Bivens, Cadence
(foUR7997) No Lunch In Hackensack
Jimmy Bennington – drums, Steve Cohn – piano, vocals
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