Katia & Marielle Labèque: Blue in Green
Blue in Green
Love of Colours (Sony Masterworks SK 47227)
Composed by Miles Davis.
Recorded: Paris, France, December 1990
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
Love of Colours is dedicated to Miles Davis. That had to do with more than how much duo-pianists/sisters Katia & Marielle Labèque liked "Blue in Green." After all, former Davis sideman and partner in fusion crime John McLaughlin produced this album. And through the McLaughlin association, Katia came to know Miles himself, who thought enough of her to name not one but two songs after her on You're Under Arrest.
The Labèques acknowledge they are not jazz artists. The classical 4-hand duo has performed with symphony orchestras all over the world for three decades. But they also love jazz and believe it deserves classical interpretation, an idea that has been growing in the classical community. There is a school of opinion, in which I am enrolled, that holds jazz will become the classical music of the future.
The Labèques try something on "Blue In Green" that for them was quite different. Both players use a MIDI piano. Katia also plays a synthesizer. She was familiar with that because of her stint in McLaughlin's band The Translators in the early '80s. But certainly keyboards that controlled other sounds and created electronic swaths were not in the arsenal of these grand-piano ladies. The MIDI piano controls a lush, breathy sound. The reverberating MIDI notes, which sound like they have built-in drum brushes, levitate over new piano notes. As each tone decays, it is replaced with the silent texture of sadness. This performance, which is slower than usual for "Blue In Green," is a beautiful and sad rendition. I wonder if Miles had a chance to hear it.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky