Russ Lossing

pianist . composer . improviser

Canto Reviews


Russ Lossing, Loren Stillman: Canto.


December 13, 2021

Although pianist Russ Lossing and saxophonist Loren Stillman have collaborated on a handful of superlative releases in the past, the stimulating Canto is their first duo recording. The introspective and intriguing release consists entirely of originals which are at times mesmerizingly dark and, at others, warmly vibrant. The music is sublimely balanced between the emotive and the cerebral.

Lossing opens Stillman's "Her Love Was Like Kryptonite '' with resonant plucking of the strings followed by sparse and hypnotic chimes. This intro sets a nocturnesque mood into which Stillman performs an elegant and melancholic melody. As both of their refrains synergistically interweave, the tune transforms into a multifaceted tone poem. After Lossing's crystalline solo, the pair return to gracefully embellish the wistful theme.

The Lossing-penned title track is cinematic and intimate, with the pianist's cascading notes contrasting with the saxophonist's fluid, soaring phrases. The stimulating exchanges grow into a tense yet lyrical dialogue which becomes freer with each bar yet eschews dissonance. Both men in turn showcase their virtuosity without unnecessary pyrotechnics. Each one simply, confidently and thrillingly explores the entire range of his instrument.

One of the most captivating pieces on this uniformly superb album is the haunting "Move On In" which Stillman and Lossing composed together. Here, too ,Lossing starts off alternating string strums with spare and sonorous key strikes. The conversation that ensues is intricate and eloquent as each player contributes lithe and agile lines with suave spontaneity and understated whimsy. The result is a captivating, kaleidoscopic improvisation which is more than the sum of its parts.

The brilliant Canto is, above all, a celebration of artistic camaraderie and shared creative vision. There is no doubt that both Lossing and Stillman are accomplished and inventive musicians with distinct ingenuity and unique styles. Together they are able produce a work that maintains their individualities yet simultaneously reflects their sophisticated cooperation.

Track Listing

Her Love Was Like Kryptonite; Don't Be Too Nice; P; Channel; Canto; Whispers; Move In; Turn.


Russ Lossing: piano; Loren Stillman: saxophone, alto.

Album Information

Title: Canto. | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Aqua Piazza Records