Click here to [close]

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Baloni - Fremdenzimmer (Clean Feed, 2011) ****½

By Stef

A "Fremdenzimmer" is the German word for a guest room, litterally "a room for strangers", usually paid for, in private houses, farms or other places, the kind of room which you have kind of accept the way it is when you are travelling and can't find no other lodging. The title demonstrates a willingness for adventure, including the risk of the unknown, and the acceptance of what will befall them.

Whether this relates to the musicians or the listener is not clear, possibly to both, and you're taken on this musical journey by Joachim Badenhorst on clarinet, bass clarinet and tenor, Pascal Niggenkemper on bass, and Frantz Loriot on viola, respectively of Belgian, German-French and French-Japanese origin.

The journey goes deep into the realm of lyricism and sonic beauty, a journey of strange harmonic encounters, timbral greetings, shared distances, differences of perspectives adding to the overall texture. As with these encounters, possibly hiking, on foot, the pace is slow, vulnerability a prerequisite for openness, openness the prerequisite for suprise, suprise the prerequisite for new ideas and the aha-erlebnis of new possibilities.

You get stories here, tiny and small and real and sensitive and authentic, the beauty of strangers meeting and becoming friends, immediately going to the essence, talking about joy or misery, without too much elaboration, without varnish and polish, because the chemistry is here, in the personalities, the voices, including the low-volume singing by Badenhorst, the emotional sharing, the musical vision.

Just beautiful. So real!

 Buy from Instantjazz.

© stef

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Stone Quartet - Live At Vision Festival (Ayler, 2011) ****½

 By Stef

On their second release, "The Stone Quartet" continues their ephemeral study of fleeting sounds, as on their debut album "DMG@The Stone". The word "debut" is a little bizarre for such seasoned musicans as Joëlle Léandre on double bass, Roy Campbell on trumpet and flutes, Marilyn Crispell on piano, and Mat Maneri on viola.

All four have been instrumental in giving shape to avant-garde music in the last decades, and they continue to do so on this album. Without being rooted in the ground, due to the absence of percussion, the overall sound evolves like waves in a stream, with phrases colliding and contrasting, yet all moving in the same direction. The second element that strikes the listener is the absolute avoidance of predictability, yet without sounding too unfamiliar either.The third aspect is the timbral explorations, especially by Mat Maneri on his viola, bringing different sounds, changing the expectations, yet adding to it too, meaningfully, emotionally. Last but not least, there is the incredible sense of pace, quite slow, yet determined, creating eery soundscapes, full of longing and inherent tension between the four instruments.

Again, a captivating listening experience. Léandre, Crispell, Campbell and Maneri in a joint top-performance.

Buy from Instantjazz.

© stef

Monday, February 27, 2012

Delphine Dora, Paulo Chagas, Bruno Duplant - Onion Petals As Candle Light (Self-published, 2012) ****

 By Stef

Have you ever heard of Delphine Dora? French piano player born in 1980? Probably not. She's a singer songwriter and improvisor, and this should be her thirteenth album so far. Yet no singer songwriter stuff on this album, ... or no,  I should say it differently: this music captures the essence of good songs but without the vocals.

Each of the ten pieces is self-contained, short and with a precise character and sound, which is gentle yet profound, full of intimate lyricism and beauty.

Her companions in gentleness are Paulo Chagas on clarinets and Bruno Duplant on bass, two musicians whom I've written favorably about before.

All three are in the same storytelling mode, full of vulnerable emotions and precise phrasing, and with sufficient sense of contrasts to keep the attention going. Notes are used sparingly, but to great effect.

Listen for yourself. I can only hope to hear more from this trio soon. 

© stef

Saturday, February 25, 2012

BassX3 - Transatlantic (Leo, 2012) ****

 By Stef

On this exquisite and genre-defying album, we find three likeminded artists from three continents exploring aesthetic and authentic beauty. Gebhard Ullmann plays bass clarinet and bass flute, and both Chris Dahlgren and Clayton Thomas play double bass and objects.

As the band's name suggests, they explore in the low ranges, though not exclusively.The title track, split in three parts, is by itself worth the purchase of the CD, evolving around the long drone-like sounds of the bowed basses and circular breathing, the listener is sucked into a mysterious universe, with a few heart-piercing tender high phrases by Ullmann to emphasise the built-up tension.

The second longest piece, "The Epic" contains a full album in itself, creating a dramatic story ranging from adventurous avant-garde with dark conflicts between the instruments, to sweet world music references, a story of contrast and musical development as its title suggests. "Ornette's Closet" suddenly has the basses in pizzi and the bass clarinet fully voiced, a short and fun piece, yet it acts a little bit as a coherence-breaker in the album, unfortunately.

The album ends with the long last part of the title piece, as dark and compelling as it gets, with Ullmann's mesmerizing and eery high-toned clarinet again in perfect contrast and unity with the basses.

Great stuff, and addictive. 

Buy from Instantjazz.

© stef

Friday, February 24, 2012

Ross Hammond Quartet - Adored (Prescott Recordings, 2012)****

By Paul Acquaro

Hammond makes a grand entrance on the anthemic 'Adored'. The title track kicks off with some sound effects but quickly segues into a Neil Young inspired mash of chords from his slightly overdriven guitar. But, it's when Vinny Golia comes in with a keening line from his sax that things ratchet up a notch. Alex Cline's percussion propels the sweeping statements and Steuart Liebig's electric bass pulsates. Tensions mount as the group's improvisation builds.

The next song 'Sesquipedalian' takes off with a rockish introduction and beat followed by a rather catchy bass groove. Golia takes the first edgy solo, followed by Hammond who seems to be favoring texture over technical. His playing skirts the edges of both jazz and rock, never falling squarely into either camp. Other songs follow suit, different approaches and feels, but overall, the playing is free, fresh and seemingly open to all types of music, whether its a noisy jam that never truly loses its sense of melody like on the title tune, the folksy whimsy on 'She's My Little Girl' or the spacious soundscape of 'Just Knowing You're There'.

This Californian quartet comes as a surprise to me. Hammond's fellow travelers are of course big names in avant-garde circles and their recorded output speaks volumes for itself, however Hammond's voice on guitar is a new and welcome one to me. The atmosphere of the recording is a hopeful one, there is a vibrancy that permeates the album, even in the throes of a noisy free improv. The group works with big swatches of sound that showcase a cohesive sound and interactive playing. 'Adored' feels honest and authentic, and it's is a pleasure to listen to. Go ahead - give it a try.

© stef

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Familiar paths

By Paul Acquaro

I love hiking, often hitting trails in the New York area that I've covered time and time again. While I often feel the need to explore new and exotic, it's always a pleasure to come back to the more familiar and have it feel fresh again. In a sense, Nick Moran Trio's 'No Time Like Now' and Dan Messore's 'Indigo Kid' are kind of like new trips from familiar trailheads, one a guitar-organ trio and the other impressionistic modern jazz quartet, that while not on the avant-garde side of jazz, are quite enjoyable listens.

Nick Moran Trio - No Time Like Now (Manor Sound Records, 2012)

The guitar-organ trio has a rich history in jazz. From the Blue Note soul jazz to the jazz rock of Lifetime to the current crop of modern trios (like this one), it's a rich versatile sound.

Moran opens with an ebullient rendition of Cream's Strange Brew. He works his bright clean toned guitar ably over and around the rock classic. Brad Whiteley's organ playing fits excellently and Chris Benham's drumming buoys the song along. 'My Beautiful', which follows, is indeed a beautiful bossa influenced tune that features some really nice comping work by Moran and Whiteley as they prop up each other's improvisations. Another highlight on the recording is 'Wishful Thinking.' The organ and guitar double up on a convoluted melody while the rhythm pulsates and drives the song right into a hard edged guitar solo. The momentum here is seductive.

I'm going to avoid a song by song break down and simply wrap it by saying this is a tuneful and exciting album and worth checking out. See/listen below.

Indigo Kid (Babel, 2012)

From the UK comes guitarist Dan Messore's group 'Indigo Kid'. Drawing on a cast of contemporary and experienced players, Messore has created a collection of nicely developed modern jazz originals. His guitar is clear and bright with a hint of Metheny in his sound. Employing a generous approach, he gives saxophonist Iain Ballamy plenty of space to create.

The chords at the start of 'First Light', which kicks off the album, sets the stage with its open sound and light feel. A crisp upbeat melody from the sax delivered at times in unison with Messore propels the song along. While some of the melodies are a little light for my tastes, his execution is always thoughtful and precise. A highlight is found in the austere 'Mr. Lepard'. By letting strings and chords tones ring and employing rhythmic finger pickings, Messore invokes a feeling of open vistas and parched landscapes.

More than deftly assisting is bassist Tim Harries and drummer Gethin Jones. Messore seems like a player who has developed a solid sound rooted in modern jazz. Again, check below for a song off the album.

In the context of this blog, which often embraces the experimental and avant-garde, these two recordings are a bit of an anomaly. I'm refraining from trying to "star" these albums as they are outside this blog's usual mileu. However, to loop back to my original metaphor, sometimes it's nice to take a trip down well travelled trail. Who knows that you may re-discover or hear along the way. Take a listen below.

Nick Moran Trio - "Say Hi to Paris":

Indigo Kid - "First Light":

© stef

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Jason Stein Quartet - The Story This Time (Delmark, 2011) *****

A work that features bass clarinet, and especially the contrabass clarinet, will usually rise to the top of the pile for me, and Chicagoan Jason Stein's work does not disappoint. Invoking the spirit of Ornette Coleman and Eric Dolphy at times, Stein's latest collection is an excellent mix of original compositions and choice selections from some past masters.

The album kicks off with the Warne Marsh tune, 'Background Music'. Stein, who is is joined on the recording by tenor saxophonist and contrabass clarinetist Keefe Jackson, delivers a roliicking version of the tune, rendering the title ironic. With unison lines and hard charging improvisation, this uptempo song is a harbinger of the music to come.

The set of somewhat obscure songs by Thelonious Monk, and a selection each from Lennie Tristano and Lee Konitz, are treated with the right mix of respect and irreverence. Konitz's uptempo "Palo Alto", from 1950, begins here with some free blowing. Fluttering runs up and down the scales are punctuated by pops, squawks and squeaks but the woodwinds bring it together neatly as they dive into the song's head. The playing is fast and precise on Tristano's 'Lennie Bird'. Quick unison runs evoke bygone sounds of jazz, but also make it more relevant to today, bringing to it an updated tone and tempo. The mix of Stein's bass clarinet and Keefe's sax makes for a signature sound, and the support of the rhythm section, bassist Joshua Abrams and drummer Frank Rosaly, creates a perfect foundation.

The song selection, composition and musicianship seems to acknowledges the roots of free jazz with imagination and spunk, but on the whole, the record is a forward looking statement. The fast fingerings and phrasings on the aforementioned 'Background Music' demonstrates a mastery of the idiom while the writing and playing on songs like Stein's own 'Laced Case' suggests a forward moving trajectory.

Available through iTunes

Buy from Instantjazz.
Listen to "Work" featuring the sonorous sounds of the contrabass clarinet:

© stef

Friday, February 17, 2012

Pete Robbins Transatlantic Quartet - Live in Basel (Hate Laugh Music, 2011) ****

On Pete Robbins Transatlantic Quartet's "Live in Basel', a refined smoothness masks a turbulent undercurrent. You can feel it as the melodic heads recede and the group delves into dense thickets of improvisation.

Robbins' sax has a strong clean sound and whether he is improvising or playing a composed melody, his lines are sophisticated and accessible. The syncopated and taut rhythms on tracks like 'Eliotsong' are a perfect setting for his intricate and evocative solos. The lines in 'Hoi Polloi' spin around themselves, becoming more entangled until they break into an echoy chordal romp. The percussion's insistent beat pushes the sax to the apex before dropping back into the head, played in unison between the guitar and sax. It's my favorite moment of 'Live in Basel', so tense and precise. That modern jazz guitar sound, the thick, round tone, is a major voice in the group. Whether comping along, providing interesting chordal textures, or his own layered solos, Mikkel Ploug, helps define the album's sound.

Rounding out the Transatlantic Quartet is Simon Jermyn on bass and Kevin Brow on drums. The electric bass sound is punchy and taut and the drumming supports the music perfectly. The musicians in this international combo, which Robbins references in both the name of the group and on the bandstand, compliment each other excellently and play together with precision.

Besides the high quality playing, the songs all seem very well considered and composed. The instrumental voices are well balanced and there is great variety between the songs. It's an album that is growing on me more with each listen, revealing more nuance and texture each time.

© stef

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Days of Vandermark & Brotzmann

I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to follow the typically adventurous path of Ken Vandermark and Peter Brotzmann through a handful of new recordings (though I begin with one by the duo of free jazz heavyweights Vandermark and Paal Nilssen-Love). I admit that on the surface these albums are only losely connected by some of the musicians involved, however, I feel that somehow they are more tacitly connected by a certain uncompromising musical vision...

Ken Vandermark & Paal Nilssen Love - Letter to a Stranger (Smalltown Superjazz, 2011) ****

Starting out with a wash of percussion and the softer sounds of the A clarinet the duo of percussionist Nilssen-Love and reedist Vandermark quickly builds in focus and intensity. Nilssen-Love's panapoly of percussion helps generate a strong foundation for Vandermark's confident and commanding tone. The slow build of the first tune leads into the intense title track where the duo makes a racket akin to a full band, leaving no sonic stone unturned. I was particularly drawn to the disjointed phrasing in 'Cat in the water'. The dyad's crazy conversation jumps from phrase to phrase, with lines spilling from the A and bass clarinets that do not seem possible for mortals to make. Whether skirting the conventional sounds of the instruments or embracing the unintentional ones, this is absorbing collage of interactions and phrasing. The amount of sound and range that this duo covers is utterly compelling.

Sonore - Oto (Trost Records, 2011) ****

Here Vandermark is joined by woodwind masters Peter Brotzmann and Mats Gustafsson, whose ongoing project Sonore yields a whole other set of actions and reactions. The trio, now several years into their collaboration, deliver a rousing set at London's Oto jazz club. With all three musicians in fine form, the free blowing set is replete with sonic drubbings and surprisingly tender moments. Unfettered or supported by a rhythm section of any kind, there is a lack of foundation that makes the music challenging and evocative. The amount of listening and empathy for each other's playing is impressive, I image each instrument to be a rotating gear that works together mysteriously to bring a machine to life. For example the enigmatically titled "(I was arranging her) arms" features the deeper registers of a baritone sax (I assume) laying a crumbling foundation beneath the swirling of a clarinet, while small fluttering blasts from a third woodwind provides a pulse. The musicians are not shy about pushing their instruments to their technical limits, nor have any reservations about creating some beautiful passages as well.

Buy from InstantJazz

Full Blast & Friends - Sketches and Ballads (Trost Records, 2011) ****1/2

Full Blast & Friends finds Vandermark, trumpeter Thomas Heberer, and timpanist Dirk Rothbrust joining regular Full Blast trio members Brotzmann, bassist Marino Pliakas, and drummer Michael Wertmuller. The expanded group delivers an captivating piece credited to Wertmuller. Rendered as one long tune, though overall album clocks in on the more succinct side at 38 minutes, the group fill every precious minute with telepathic connections, captivating blasts of atonal power and moments of sublime sound. Full on chaotic blasts are contrasted with beautiful solo and duo passages that fully exploit the tonal possibilities of the horns, a quick bass break about 5 minutes into the piece generates powerful sonic propulsion, and the timpani adds a fascinating and dynamic dimension. The song is a complex and varied piece that deserves many listens.

Buy from InstantJazz

While it was fun to will into existence a theme running through all of these recordings, it is even more fun to just listen. Whether it is the intense crescendo of Vandermark's and Nilssen-Love's 'Crippled Donkey', a moment of a quiet with Sonore exchanging ideas, or a blazing passage from Full Blast, this is a set of recordings that I highly recommend for hearty musical adventurers.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Marc Hannaford - Ordinary Madness (Marchon, 2012) ****½

By Stef

Australian pianist Marc Hannaford is part of the forward looking band "The Antiprodean Collective"with Scott Tinkler on trumpet, as on this album. The other musicians are Tim Berne on alto sax,  Simon Barker on drums and Philip Rex on double bass.

The five musicians stepped into the studio last year, improvised these three pieces of music, ranging between twenty and thirty minutes long, and that was it. No edits, no changes. You have an album. It sounds easy, but it is not. The music is of the kind that you don't want to stop listening to. It evolves gently, gradually, with all five musicians interacting as one, creating a common group sound that is at the same time abstract and warm, without harsh moments, yet also without smooth moments, and the result is mesmerising and beautiful.

On "Dolls", the long first track, boppish elements come into play when the tempo picks up, with the improvising lines weaving a fascinating tapestry of intensity. On "Weflux", slowness is of the essence, creating an eery atmosphere of vulnerable fragility, allowing both Tinkler and Berne to profile their unique sound, which is quite a good match, and is kept that way as the tension increases, with heavily accentuated though weird beats of the rhythm section, with the two horns playing simultaneously the whole time. The piece ends with a captivating outro of piano, bass and drums.

The same structure is held on the the title track, now starting with slow trumpet, then again the whole band creates this wonderful blend of different phrases all merging into a strong musical and lyrical coherence, with shifting moods, from playfulness to darkness, all magnificently kept together by Hannaford's orchestrations on his piano.

Without a doubt one of the best albums I've heard this year, taking into account that it's only February.

Listen and buy from Bandcamp

© stef

Friday, February 10, 2012

Bobby Previte and the New Bump - Live at the Amphitheatre (2011) ****

By Joe Higham

When speaking about Bobby Previte you're talking about the roots of the New York downtown scene(*). Previte and musicians, John Zorn, Ellery Eskelin, Wayne Horowitz, Elliot Sharp or Bill Frisell, were all in at the beginning of this whole movement which celebrates the alternative side of what improvised music could/should be. Previte's music has always been a mix of inspiring and challenging writing with great soloists, mostly very accessible, and certainly never less than inspiring His groups (or projects) have ranged from solo work, the 'Weather Clear, Track Fast' septet, 'The Pan Atlantic Band' and a nice duo with Marc Ducret. As a drummer/composer his writing pays as much attention to melody as to rhythm, and naturally the interaction with his bands certainly produces sparks as on this record and possibly the sum of those elements, great melodies, rolling beats, tight arrangements and stellar soloing from all concerned.

New Bump is made up of long time associates; Bill Ware (vibes), Ellery Eskelin (sax), Brad Jones (bass) and - of course - Bobby Previte on drums. A powerful group that shows their skill and experience after having played together since years, playing a punchy jazz that's melodic and modern. Bill Ware plays equally strong vibes either as an accompanist or soloist. It's an instrument that lends itself to so many styles as testifies the recent playing of Chris Dingman, Jason Adasiewicz or even the mixed vibes lines in Tortoise. Ellery Eskelin is a sax player who remains a true original. His playing is a marvel to hear, a truly inspired saxophonist with an amazing sound concept and soloing style that is truly his own. Able to play convincingly in all areas of music, and someone who deserves wider recognition outside of the 'musicians in the know' circle. Together Eskelin and Ware equally divide the front line job of melody and soloist yet there are many moments when the two players shadow each other, creating lines inspired by the other. Previte and Brad Jones play their role sitting neatly on the fence between jazz and a more rock-ish style. Bobby Previte's writing on this release encompasses boogaloo, rock, jazz and more, giving the two front line players plenty of material to work with. Tunes such as 'The Saint', 'D is for Drums' all rock along, or the changing sections of 'The Inexorable March Towards Brutality' keep you guessing, in fact all the tunes are excellent. 'Don't Tell Pilar', 'Client 9' and 'Probably Not' all have wonderful melodies and plenty of exciting twists and turns, and to add to the whole every solo is truly exciting.

You're not going to get any free form improvisations or experimental sound manipulations just - as David Lynch (@AMG) wrote - "fiery jazz expressionism and layered counterpoint that suggests elements of contemporary minimalism". A great album that doesn't brake any rules or new ground but is truly absorbing from start to finish. Highly Satisfying!     

Listen, buy, or generally enjoy at Bandcamp.

* = Of course the Downtown Scene covered many areas of music from minimalism of Steve Reich and Philip Glass, performance art of Laurie Anderson and many others. Check out Wiki's entry on downtown to get a general idea. 

© stef

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Grand Reportage Ensemble Deluxe & Lucien Dubuis - Live from the Surface of the Sun (Altrisuoni, 2011) ****½

By Paul Acquaro

Switzerland's Grand Reportage Ensemble Deluxe's album "Live from the Surface of the Sun" takes off with two quick blasts from the woodwind team of saxophonist Jérôme Correa and guest bass clarinetist Lucien Dubuis. This double shot of low register adrenaline certainly gets things started. Weaving into free passages and finally succumbing to entropy, the song certainly does not end as it began. But no worries, soon the next tune picks up with an tempo set of contemporaneous melodies -- with notes bouncing against each other like charged molecules.

This is an eclectic collection that defies easy labeling, elements of jazz, rock, folk themes and free playing intertwine. The song "Ode au grain" has moments that are remiscent of the slow grooves of 90's rock band Morphine, "Bogota boogie" borders on modern jazz and "S'asseoir dessus" gets pretty funky. For the most part, the songs are a collective effort, where intricately composed melodies, colored by the instruments' tonalities and techniques -- sonic splats, squawks and key clicks -- all figure prominently in the mix.

Keeping the pulse and giving the woodwinds enough sharp angles to be dangerous around, the rhythm section of Olivier Nussbaum on bass and Vincent Boillat keep the melodic mischief makers somewhat grounded, but more so, keep the tunes moving along.

Dubuis' music has been praised before on this blog (see Ultime Cosmos and Tovorak), his music is able to both embrace and rise above a certain wild abandon. Plus, can one ever get enough of the contrabass clarinet? His work here with kindred spirit Correa and the apparently like minded Grand Reportage Ensemble has culminated in something very exciting and enjoyable.

© stef

Available via Bandcamp

"S'asseoir dessus" from a show in Switzerland:

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Tim Berne - Snakeoil (ECM, 2012) *****

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of writing about The Veil, a recording with altoist Tim Berne, guitarist Nels Cline and drummer Jim Black. While the twists and turns on Snake Oil are comparable, many elements of this latest release make it an apples to oranges endeavor. Whereas 'The Veil' was a scathing free improvisation of unabashed noise and gritty power, 'Snake Oil' embraces a more compositional and melodic approach.
The instrumentation on 'Snake Oil' is a bit more introspective, yet can coalesce with some power. With Oscar Noriega on clarinet and bass clarinet, Matt Mitchell on piano, Ches Smith on percussion, Berne has a nice palette of timbers and tonalities with which to work. The melodic passages showcase his complex compositions and an affinity for mixing these qualities. Right from the first tune there is an assuredness in the intertwining melodies and ever evolving musical ideas. Quiet passages are contrasted by intense ones, and the ebb and flow throughout is seamless. Patterns and melodic memes often begin as small tributaries and flow into powerful rivers of sound.
The press material captures what I think is an important aspect of the recording:
It’s an arresting collective sound, from a disciplined crew: two years of workshopping and woodshedding preceded the recording to reach what Berne calls “the necessary ‘looseness’ essential for a group identity”, and to realize “the dynamics that would enable the sonic details of this chamber-like band to emerge clearly.”
When listening, it can be difficult to parse is what is composed and what spontaneously emerged, but in the end it all seems to composed - or actually - it doesn't. A spirit of freeness permeates the recording.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ken Aldcroft & Dave Clark - Hat & Beard /The Music Of Thelonious Monk (Trio Recordings, 2011) ****

By Paul Acquaro

Hat & Beard's album 'Live at Somewhere There' is a joyful romp through the Thelonious Monk song book. Each tune is lovingly delivered to what sounds like an audience of five, which simply adds to the recording's intimate private concert atmosphere.

Taking their duo's name from Eric Dolphy's tribute to Monk, guitarist Ken Aldcroft and percussionist Dave Clark deliver an impassioned set. The spare instrumentation gives each note and beat intense focus, and for this music, it's a perfect setting. The emotion of the players comes through clearly, emphases, syncopations and variations in volume and texture become just as meaningful as the notes. Clark is more a conversationalist than a rhythm section and Aldcroft doesn't overplay to fill the space between them either -- what isn't there is just as important as what is.

The opening tune '52nd Street Theme' kicks things off with high energy and lays out the agenda for the program of music to follow. Both precise and somewhat (purposefully) chaotic melodic leads lay atop the vibrant percussion, tonal clusters and notes pop up unexpectedly. A big crescendo and pounding percussion during 'Green Chimneys' juxtaposes the well known jaunty melody with a quiet ending. 'Nutty's' quirky melody is given a more standard chord/melody treatment until the toys start coming out ... I'll say no more about that. I'm cherry picking just a couple examples here because each song is engaging and enjoyable in its own way, showcasing an empathetic musical partnership.

My only critical comment is that though the amount of variation they get is inspiring, at times the instrumentation feels a little limited. However, the playing and arrangements are so engaging that it's a minor issue. This is an enjoyable recording and one I'm glad to have stumbled upon.

Available from the artist's website.

© stef