Julian Joseph and Mark Latimer

DAVID WAKEFIELD St Peter Mancroft, Norwich (Norfolk and Norwich Festival)


St Peter Mancroft, Norwich (Norfolk and Norwich Festival)

Jazz piano duets are fairly rare - particularly if you don't have two like-minded operators with similar styles. There are, let's face it, too many things that could go wrong. But it seemed to me that this uncertainty, this dangerous edge, was an strong element of this partnership.

No well-honed cliches like "well-drilled" could be applied here.

Two highly accomplished pianists, each with differing styles - although he is a fine jazz pianist, Latimer's roots are very much from the classical spectrum - and their own ideas made it an operation which stood a good chance of not coming off.

But it worked, mainly because there was a strong understanding as to what each other was trying to do.

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Blending together in standards like There Will Never Be Another You and Autumn Leaves was straightforward enough. But taking on American composer Steve Reich, via his Music For Pieces Of Wood was, it seemed, far more of an experimental outing.

Each player had solos, as well, and their diversity of styles became far clearer here. Joseph is a bouncy, soulful

player, while Latimer is more contemplative.

It was a remarkable version of All The Things You Are that really stole the show for me, particularly with its Ellington-inspired ending.

Overall the dynamics were controlled pretty well; and even a "blip" with their personal microphones was turned to their advantage by two personable performers.