Review courtesy of All About Jazz:
Ken Vandermark and Paal Nilssen-Love return for another series of take-no-prisoner duets on Dual Pleasure 2, a sequel to their pairing last year. This two-disc set presents a collection of studio performances and a concert appearance. The studio work presents nine relatively short pieces that catalogue a wide range of mood and color. The live disc delivers three extended works that measure the musicians’ remarkable rapport, creative drive, and endurance. Moving from bass clarinet to Bb clarinet and tenor sax, Vandermark crosses fire with earth, capable of blistering outbursts and introspective obsessions with small sounds. Whether rhythmic or not, Nilssen-Love certainly fuels momentum, splattering percussive color like Jackson Pollock.
A clean drumkit fanfare opens “Train Hits the Station,” joined by the big raw-edged tenor. Vandermark pours on the passion with multiphonics and funk, Nilssen-Love dealing an astonishing array of rhythms. After that power workout, the subtle and mysterious “Finish Wood” rolls in like mist with Vandermark playing thoughtfully on bass clarinet and Nilssen-Love maintaining a busy whisper with brushes. “Never Leave Well Enough Alone” brings the tenor back for a hard ride, Nilssen-Love busily casting rhythm webs for Vandermark’s dance. Bass clarinet pops and Nilssen-Love’s lightning open “Short Terminal.” A whirling, swirling melody line blows open with a hailstorm of beats. “There is Nothing Left to Break” passes as a tenor ballad, with Nilssen-Love busy.
The live disc explodes on “Stray Dog,” Vandermark playing with gloves off, flat-out intensity. While his subdued playing on the studio CD sometimes contrasts with the dexterous multi-beat drumming, here the two musicians mine the same vein, playing for their lives. They shift down two-thirds of the way through, and Vandermark switches to bass clarinet for an a capella outro. “Double Weight” begins with solo clarinet, but soon enough Vandermark’s flame-throwing tenor reappears. A gorgeous bass clarinet ballad, “As It Goes,” closes the side.
The Vandermark/Nilssen-Love combination again generates too much music for two people, designing a program that varies in mood and texture but remains stable in excellence.