(photo by Rudy Lu)
Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Rudy Lu, Bender Melon
Okay, first, let’s posit that duet concerts are not like other concerts. You’ve got two people doing the work of four or five, in addition to getting their music across to the crowd. That it takes accomplished players to make it work goes without saying, but it goes farther than that: There needs to be a shared language, an understanding that tells one another who’s got the lead, who’s got the foundation, when things start and when things finish, and whose solo is it, anyway? It sounds complicated, but I’ve seen a bunch of duet shows, and the arrangement is pretty standard usually.
Pianist Myra Melford and clarinetist Ben Goldberg of Dialogue are decidedly not “usual.” You’re dealing with two accomplished musicians who think 10 steps ahead of most folks at any one time, and whose respective discographies include enough square pegs to make every round hole wave the white flag. The Box doesn’t even enter into the equation, let alone thinking outside of it. What happens when Melford and Goldberg get together is mercurial, to say the least, and the near-full house at the Sanctuary for Independent Media saw that in no uncertain terms. But again, it was more than just two extraordinary players having a musical conversation; it was two people conversing in a completely unique language that was incredibly beautiful, utterly impenetrable, and wholly beyond the “standard” set by many others.