Believe it or not, this most un-pedagogical of jazz performances has its roots in a pedagogical experience. "Kenny and I only played guest once before our Maybeck concert," Chris Potter recalls. "It was the first time we played together, back when I was a student at the New School. I called Kenny for a lesson, and we just ended up playing for an hour and a half."
"The piano provides a wide harmonic and rhythmic range, and the duo with piano puts a greater emphasis on the harmonic aspect of playing for me than, say, a trio with bass and drums. But you can really do anything; use a lot of changes or be totally free. With fewer people sharing the stage, you get more freedom to create, but also a larger share of the responsibility to keep the music moving," says Potter.
Potter and Werner have capitalized on this freedom and discharged this responsibility with an uncommonly broad program. "Chris and I both dabble in the ‘new music’ scene," Werner explains, "so I thought it would be hip to mix older material, almost cabaret ballads, with a more ’out,’ 20th Century vibe. It’s more of a European approach, which bands like the Clusone Trio use when programming their concerts; and the balance between the familiar and the experimental makes for a more interesting presentation. The young crops of players like Chris, who are both classically trained and jazz trained, have really inspired me to return to these more experimental ideas that I had set aside once I found my trio."
This album was recorded live at Maybeck Recital Hall in Berkeley, CA, on October 9, 1994.