Night Sounds: Ted Levine (w/ Peter Madsen)
Ted Levine – soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, and bass clarinet
Peter Madsen – piano
1. Hungarian Dance
2. March of The Elves
3. Three Short Pieces
4. Eulogy
5. Traffic Jam
6. Picasso's Blue(s) Period
7. Artemis
8. Event #7
9. Indra
10. Eris
11. Sanctum
12. Anion
13. Home

Versatile reed player/educator Ted Levine's second Playscape title, Night Sounds, is a collection of 13 spontaneous musical conversations with pianist and labelmate, Peter Madsen. The All Music Guide called the pair's performance of Duke Ellington's "Star-Crossed Lovers" on Levine's 2001 Playscape debut, Event #6, "a real treat," and Night Sounds reunites the two veteran musicians to further explore and document their musical chemistry. The eclectic result reflects their penchant for both creative listening and creative improvisation.

"The skill and technique they exhibit bring words like extrasensory perception to mind. Creating together, each listens carefully to the other and directs his output in such a way that distinguishing the spontaneously invented from the preconceived is nearly impossible." – Music journalist Ken Waxman from the liner notes

[Levine and Madsen] hold the listener's attention through all their flights of fancy with a wide array of musical devices at their disposal. Not only can they play with abandon and total freedom (eight of the pieces were created on the spot), but they work off themes that can be quirky or impressionistic (all of those penned by the reedist)...a fine statement from two seasoned artists who can bring each other to many places and back, not to mention a good deal of listeners.
— Marc Chénard, The Squid's Ear
Five of the tunes here were written, the rest improvised; a good enough balance to determine the rapport between the two. Do they get their chops off only from the written note or can they fathom and spar, merge and mate with the thought processes that emanate as they play, and at the end of it all hold up a logical whole? Ted Levine and Peter Madsen succeed, even as they move across different forms and structures that they essay on their musical roundabout.
— Jerry D'Souza, AllAboutJazz
Ted Levine and Peter Madsen leap around a varied terrain of styles and genre like nimble acrobats, all the while creating improvised Bartók, pointillism Webern style, Stravinskian jazz, and even a Roremlike rumination titled 'Eulogy.' It seems there's nothing these two won't try – and with an impressive success rate to boot. The duo's unique formula to wailing, freeform improvisation uses an enormous vocabulary from the past coupled with innovative playing that is utterly in the moment.
— New Music Box
Madsen is an ideal foil for veteran reedist Ted Levine...Levine's tone on alto, his main horn, is raw and full...Madsen varies between close unison work and highly intuitive counterpoint.
— James Hale, DownBeat
Their ability to convey both sides of the emotional equation transports the music through a labyrinth of contrasting colors and shades, alternately stirring and soothing one's mindset. They interpret and transform all forms of transmitted speech into meaningful musical sequences, making the shared experience an uplifting event.
— Frank Rubolino, Cadence
Since a variety of tempos and moods are employed and Levine plays both alto and soprano saxophones as well as bass clarinet, the potential for sameness in the duo format is avoided. Indeed, due to the technical and artistic authority of its performers, the album engages the listener from start to finish.
— David Franklin, JazzTimes
Multireedist Ted Levine and pianist Peter Madsen are expert at improvising both inside and outside of chord changes. Both of the musicians are versatile and Levine wisely alternates between alto (where at times he hints at Eric Dolphy), soprano, and bass clarinet so as to vary the sound of the group. This is a set that grows in interest with each listen.
— Scott Yanow, All Music Guide