So let's do it again -- two more CDs you might want to find and listen to. As I was pulling out music to write on shortly -- this time I am going to do a survey of my collection of Italian jazz players -- I came across two non-Italian discs that deserve more exposure.
What we have here are 10 wonderfully played songs full of great melodies, dynamic interplay and soloing by each player, and the always exquisite colorations of Motian. This is a highly listenable, in the pocket/ down the middle set, but not in the least case boring, old-fashioned or unoriginal. Chrisiansen's solos on "Stompin' at the Savoy" or in the opening "Dear Someone" demonstrate his keen abilities, and Parks as the lead player demonstrates the same abilities and touch that were so widely praised for his "Invisible Cinema" CD. Motian penned three senusous melodies, particularly "Arabesque" that ooze beauty, Christiansen contributes three more and opens one, "The Wedding" with a nice solo lead-in. For me, "I'll Be Seeing You" is a swinging and sentimental highlight.
By the way, the cover appears to be a paean to "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan," which is a touchstone for many of us from the sixties, and if not intentional, speaks to the nature of this ecclectic outing, which in fact features a title track from Gillian Welch, a country waltz.
All in all, an elegant outing that will appeal to many out there.
Here is another sax and piano duo, a formation I discussed the other day in a previous post and noted that it is one of my favorite formats. Speake opens with a terrific solo on "Everything Happens to Me". Iverson doesn't enter for the first two plus minutes but when he does he is immediately inventive, and gives the piano quite a workout while Speake in turn sits out. His rapid, lush play travels across the keyboard, but the underlying melody is always there. Finally the two play together at about the four minute mark, bringing their thoughts together and creating a real "Wow" moment before quitely bringing the song full circle to its denouement. A marvelous beginning to a marvelous CD.
The nine songs include a full range of classics, and each is a gem. "My Ideal" comes second is is a bouncy jaunt; "What is This Thing Called Love" is a classically played ballad with lovely interpretations laid over the foundation of the melody. Iverson comps beautifully and lets Speake lead the melody out, later taking his own turn on this classic. The rest of the tunes are eqully wonderful, and include "So In Love", "Loverman", "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes", "Stardust", "How Insensitive" and "You Must Believe in Spring."
These are standards at their best, played by two virtuosos in the simplest of settings, which gives each room to spread out and create a first rate, must hear CD. No tricks, just beautiful music. Get is from Jazzcds.co.uk -- 5.50 British pounds with shipping ($8.58!!!) -- an incredible bargain that you won't regret.