Russ Lossing

pianist . composer . improviser

Twice Reviews

New York City Jazz Record -  November 2021


Russ Lossing/Gerry Hemingway (Aqua Piazza)

by Ken Dryden

Russ Lossing is a pianist who covers a wide spectrum of jazz styles, equally at home in mainstream and avant garde jazz. A 2014 studio meeting with drummer Gerry Hemingway produced Twice, a stunning album of free improvisations, where the players seem to be of one mind. Lossing's manipulation of the piano strings, whether by hand-muting as he plays a chord or strumming them, creates moody, striking textures while Hemingway's deft use of his drumkit adds to the tension, especially his fascinating cymbal work. The opening track, "Yellow Light", has many twists and uses space effectively, making it perfect for a soundtrack to a suspense film. In "Keeping Still" some of Hemingway's percussive effects are reminiscent of those used by avant garde classical composer Edgard VarĀse in "Ionization", ominous gong-like sounds drawn from his cymbals, blending with mysterious piano. The centerpiece of the threatening "In What Is Small (For John Cage)" is the recurring vocal-like sounds by Hemingway, which could include him drumming on his cheeks with his mouth open, though only he and Lossing know for sure. The piano introduction to "Earth Mother" is the closest thing to music that sounds composed, with jagged lines that seem inspired by Igor Stravinsky's early 20th Century ballets while the Russian composer's influence is also heard in the rapid piano finale to "Water Above And Below". The music within this duo date is not for casual listening. It demands full attention without any distractions, likely the requirements for Lossing and Hemingway to create this stimulating music.