Peter Bernstein & Lage Lund at Mezzrow 1/8/18 (by Jeff McGregor)

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PERSONNEL: Peter Bernstein (guitar), Lage Lund (guitar)

SET 1: Who Can I Turn To (Bricusse/Newley), Teddy (Hutcherson), We’ll be Together Again (Fischer), United (Shorter), Theme for Ernie (Lacey), You Stepped Out of a Dream (Brown), SKJ (Jackson)

SET  2: Nobody Else But Me (Kern), My Ideal (Chase/Whiting), Stablemates (Golson), I Should Care (Stordahl/Weston/Kahn), Lazy Bird (Coltrane), All Too You Soon (Ellington), Trane’s Blues (Coltrane)

HIGHLIGHTS:  Bernstein really “sang,” especially on the ballads. Lund’s solos sidestepped expectations creating particularly captivating moments.

Back when he was still a student at the Berklee School of Music, Lage Lund would make trips to New York that would often include a lesson with Peter Bernstein. As is often the case with Bernstein and his students, the two would play duets. Flash forward to now, and they meet at Mezzrow, supporting each other with warmth, familiarity, and ease, gracefully navigating their shifting roles as soloist and accompanist. To each tune, they brought an arrangement that was clear and lyrical, but never formulaic.

In a recent interview, Bernstein observed that some musicians are “keepers of a flame” while others “light something new.” For me, both Bernstein and Lund seem to keep the flame and create something new. In their different ways, they recall the aesthetic of past masters like Jim Hall and Wes Montgomery, but within that lineage, each has found a modern voice. While Lund and Bernstein share much in common, there are important differences in their individual output. Bernstein’s original compositions are lyrical, swinging, and illustrate a deep connection to the blues. He also regularly draws from the American songbook where he has established himself as one of great interpreters of that repertoire. In both his treatment of standards and original compositions, Lund’s output reflects a more contemporary aesthetic.

On this intimate night, differences merged into unity. Both were focused on teamwork and song.

— by Jeff McGregor