Virg Dzurinko, piano
Ryan Messina, trumpet

Recorded September 24 & December 2, 2015
Paramus NJ

On her latest album, the profoundly satisfying Undertow, Virg Dzurinko pairs up with the astonishing trumpeter Ryan Messina to spontaneously improvise on seven standards, plus an alternate take on one of them, and six originals [free improvisations].

Dzurinko and Messina’s freewheeling conversation ranges from the sublimely lyrical to the viscerally Rabelaisian, and it addresses everything from the tenderest of feelings on tracks such as “Out of Nowhere” to the most outrageous aggravation, in a deeply humorous way, on “St. Elmo’s Fire.” The playing is intense and relaxed at once, completely un–self-conscious. They connect on some pre-rational plane that must be terrific fun to play on. Their absolute command of the full range of their instruments’ capabilities allows them to reach into the deepest interstices of human feeling, exciting wonder, surprise, laughter, and contemplation. (Messina’s trumpet is a funhouse of sound.

Undertow pulled me completely under the spell of these two musicians.

—Mel Minter, Musically Speaking (May 2016)


Virg Dzurinko, solo piano
Recorded 1997-1998 New York City

Based on the brevity of information available on this disc from its packaging, it’s difficult to gain a handle on Dzurinko’s background. Fortunately, her style at the piano is far less enigmatic than her origins and usually favors a light lyrical touch and diplomatic approach to the politics of melody and rhythm. Spreading her lithe fingers over an intimate gathering of standards and originals, Dzurinko sounds very much at home in the company of one. Most of the pieces are limited in length, but opulent in ideas. Her original compositions are possessed of a stark and natural beauty that often overshadows her warmer, more accessible readings of the standards. "Dinosaurs Rising" and "Seven Eight" are two such pieces that move across the breadth of emotions within the space of only a few minutes. Other pieces, such as "Traffic and Weather Together," manifest darker moods through taut tone clusters and the careful use of dissonance. Maintaining a high level of rapport with one’s instrument while remaining cognizant of an audience for the music can be a burden for any musician in a solo setting. From the music presented here, it’s apprarent that Dzurinko is more than up to the challenge presented by such sparse surroundings.

Derek Taylor, Cadence Magazine, July 2000