A perennial problem in jazz has been the discounting of the contributions of musicians outside America. While pianist Adam Makowicz
and bassist George Mraz
are hardly innovators, their considerable chops cannot be ignored. Together they form a duo that approaches the level of Oscar Peterson
with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen
. Recorded live at Bechet's Jazz Club in New York City during the summer of 1981, the two musicians dazzle their audience. Makowicz
's debt to Art Tatum
is widely recognized and apparent on several tracks with his lightening runs, while Mraz
is just as fast and able to keep up with the leader on blistering tracks like "This Can't Be Love." But they are just as comfortable performing a classic bop tune like "Confirmation" or a 1970s pop tune ("If"). The audience is generally respective and quiet, though they are a bit too loud at the beginning of some songs, particularly the ballads. This superb live disc is unfortunately getting harder to find since the demise of Natasha Imports.