Du­el­ing co­horts

Pi­anist Art Lande and gui­tarist Khabu Doug Young

Pasatiempo - - NEWS - Bill Kohlhaase

Im­pro­vi­sa­tional duos, es­pe­cially those that pair har­mon­i­cally able in­stru­ments such as gui­tar and pi­ano, re­quire mu­si­cians who are es­pe­cially fa­mil­iar and em­pa­thetic with one another, who know when to lead and when to fol­low as well as how to sup­port and com­ple­ment. They need to get along, right? That’s not the think­ing of pi­anist Art Lande and gui­tarist Khabu Doug Young, who’ll ap­pear to­gether at the Gig Per­for­mance Space on Saturday, Oct. 15. “I al­ways say mu­sic is too easy,” Lande told Pasatiempo in a phone call from his home in Boul­der, Colorado. “And it’s too easy to do what you’re good at. Khabu and I know how to play de­fense — we chal­lenge each other, pur­pose­fully play some­thing that makes it hard on the other.”

“That’s the rea­son we play,” said Young, also from Boul­der, “so we can get in each other’s way. That’s the joy of it. It takes some­one like Art, who is so creative that he can in­ter­rupt my thought process. I love that. Oth­er­wise, I know what I’m hear­ing, and I’ll just play what I hear. “Some­times get­ting in each other’s way is taken to ex­tremes. “One gig,” Lande re­called, “I was yelling at him, hold­ing him by the arms and yelling into his ear. He just kept play­ing.”

When Lande and Young go one-on-one at the Gig, their con­cert will be another in a his­tory of col­lab­o­ra­tions that be­gan in the 1990s. Lande, a ma­jor fig­ure in jazz and im­pro­vi­sa­tional mu­sic since his first record­ings for the Euro­pean ECM la­bel in the 1970s, met Young as a stu­dent at Naropa Univer­sity in Boul­der. “It’s the thing that drew me there,” Young said of the lib­eral arts col­lege known for its Eastern, con­tem­pla­tive ap­proach to learn­ing. “I knew Art was teach­ing there, and I was fa­mil­iar with his style and in­ter­ested in his ap­proach to im­pro­vi­sa­tion.” Young made the move from his home in Hous­ton to Colorado in 1988. “I re­mem­ber him com­ing in for a les­son,” said Lande, “some­thing about har­mo­niz­ing in a way to cre­ate a coun­ter­point, some­thing that’s not easy to do. He came back a week later and had it mas­tered. I thought, ‘This isn’t a stu­dent. This is a co­hort.’ ” Young re­sponded, “I con­sider Art my men­tor.”

Among mu­si­cians, Lande’s rep­u­ta­tion rests equally on his prow­ess as an ed­u­ca­tor and a per­former. Even as he was defin­ing the early sound of Man­fred Eicher’s ECM with his band Ru­bisa Pa­trol and record­ings with sax­o­phon­ist Jan Gar­barek and bas­sist Gary Peacock, he was giv­ing pri­vate in­struc­tion and teach­ing at Lone Moun­tain Col­lege in San Francisco and later

That’s the rea­son we play, so we can get in each other’s way ... It takes some­one like Art, who is so creative that he can in­ter­rupt my thought process. I love that. — Khabu Doug Young

Khabu and I know how to play de­fense — we chal­lenge each other, pur­pose­fully play some­thing that makes it hard on the other. — Art Lande

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