In Rotation: Aaron Goldberg and Guillermo Klein, ‘Bienestan’


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It’s tempting to misread this album — a pairing of two keyboardists, each of whom released terrific albums of their own last year — as an update of those ’70s piano face-offs between Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock. And though “Bienestan” boasts two luminous duets with Goldberg’s hopscotching piano and a percolating Fender Rhodes by Klein, this primarily ensemble-based record offers deeper rewards than hearing a couple heavyweights tangle.

A pair of Charlie Parker covers, including a swerving “Moose the Mooche,” showcase a deft hand with the classics, but Klein’s originals are just as powerful. With the zigzagging saxophones of Miguel Zenón and Chris Cheek and an ever-gathering cyclone from drummer Eric Harland, “Human Feel” sounds like the manic offspring of Cuban jazz and the sonic mazes of Philip Glass, while “Burrito” opts for a more contemplative feel atop Klein’s twilit keyboard. Also tilting toward Brazil with two distinct takes on Bonfá and Maria’s “Manhã de Carnaval,” “Bienestan” crosses — and erases — an array of exotic, enchanting borders.

Aaron Goldberg and Guillermo Klein,




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— Chris Barton