New York Duo: Higher Perception

Swiss piano and guitar duo take inspiration from Joe Henderson, Keith Jarrett, Tigran Hamasyan, Ben Wendel and the like


When two Swiss musicians coincidentally found themselves in New York at the same time, refining their professional skills, a new musical partnership was formed: the New York Duo. With Christian Zatta on electric guitar and Robinson de Montmollin on piano, the duo present their first studio album together.

Through eight instrumental tracks, six of which are original compositions and two are arrangements, the musicians explore what it means to be a duo and the multiple textural and melodic possibilities available. Sometimes the piano leads with dexterous improvisations while the guitar accompanies, sometimes vice versa.

What characterises the album, however, are the moments when both musicians play the same melody. Often they are so closely connected that we cannot distinguish one instrument from the other and this timbral and melodic intimacy provides coherence. A personal favourite of mine is Fortunate Boy, where both instruments take the lead at some point. However, no matter where their virtuosic improvisations take them, they conclude in unison with a radiant melody.

The intimacy between the guitar and the piano in Higher Perception reflects the personal aspect of the work: the original compositions are inspired by individual experiences and sometimes recent events. Stylistic inspiration is taken from traditional jazz artists such as Joe Henderson and Keith Jarrett, but also from more contemporary musicians such as Tigran Hamasyan and Ben Wendel.

For a first-time collaboration, the New York Duo have produced an extremely coherent and thoroughly enjoyable album, one which radiates creativity and a well-balanced partnership.

Song For Armenia; Digital Reality; Body And Soul; Fortunate Boy; A Shade Of Jade; Keith; Back And Forth; Saint Marks Avenue (46.00)
Christian Zatta (elg); Robinson de Montmollin (p). Lucerne, Switzerland, c. 2021.
Mons Records MR874727