Connected by more than 10 years of musical history and companionship, renowned German pianist Christian Pabst and prolific Czech saxophonist Lubos Soukup finally realise their longstanding goal of exploring the intimate and challenging duo format with Levitas (Sept 2nd, Animal Music).

Someone said the basic ingredients for a great jazz duo are little more than two musicians playing together and a common jazz vocabulary.

This CD will probably get filed under progressive jazz but, to my ears, this does indeed have elements of jazz but there’s also a lot of classical and even some folk elements.  All ten songs are penned by Luboš Soukup and Christian Pabst.

‘Levitas’ means levity or lightness.

This is music that’s very easy to listen to. ‘Levitas’ can also mean fickleness or inconstancy.  There’s a lot of different back and forth between Soukup and Pabst.

‘Barcelona,’ the first tune, has Soukup’s tenor sax warming up, stretching out, getting ready for something.

Pabst’s piano impatiently jumps in with almost a polka-like oompah trying to get the sax engaged.

Pabst abruptly channels Bach. There’s some lovely tenor sax going on over the top of this.  They both go out with Christian’s beautiful, straight-ahead, jazz piano lines.

Luboš Soukup’s playing doesn’t remind me of any American players; though his tone has a little Lee Konitz in it.  I don’t hear him doing any bebop lines. He likes to go up and down the scale making his playing sound almost circular.

There are two different versions of the title track ‘Levitas,’ 1 and 2; both beautiful, melancholy, and short.

Luboš’s clarinet on both fades to a murmur. Christian’s single piano notes sound like raindrops dropping on a pool of water.

‘The House Above the Tree’ has Christian going back and forth plucking the strings of his piano and then banging single note clusters.

You hear Luboš’s tenor saxophone sounding a bit angry at times.

There’s a lot going on between these two very talented musicians.  Every time I listen to this CD I hear something new, or, something different.

Listen or buy this album via their label here