Sam Leak & Dan Tepfer: Adrift


London-based Sam Leak and NY-based Dan Tepfer came together for a Steinway Piano Festival in London in, I think, 2016, for which Leak was commissioned to write a suite for the duo to play and improvise around. This first-time collaboration was so successful the result was subsequently recorded in NYC.

In eight short sections, the duo cross and blur the lines between jazz and classical music, obscuring the difference between notated and improvised contributions. Subtle melodic themes sit alongside passionate improvised sections, the two carefully avoiding the collision of notes and egos that can overwhelm the best of piano duos. Throughout, the music is consistently engaging and melodic, a broad gestural sweep carrying all before it.

Unfortunately, although roughly separated in the mix, we are not told who is mainly heard from which speaker, so it is not possible to speak of either pianist’s individual contribution. But in a way that does not matter, for this is a collaborative performance of the highest creativity.

Adrift 1–VIII (28.59)
Leak, Tepfer (p); NYC, 2017.
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