Piano/bass duos are not all that common in jazz. There needs to be both a musical and mental symmetry between the players to make this low decibel performance work. Some of the more notable combinations include Art Hodes/Milt Hinton, Roger Kellaway/Red Mitchell and the classic This One's for Blanton
uniting Duke Ellington and Ray Brown. Australians Byrce Rohde and Bruce Cale, with this duo album, can demand to be admitted into that august company. That these two have previously been connected in a variety of small settings is apparent by their synergy of effort, their oneness of purpose and their ability to feed off each other's ideas.
Through his other recordings, Rohde is noted for his lyrical thinking and his clean execution of the melody lines. He hasn't lost this touch as he and Cale collaborate on a play list of Rohde compositions with two standards. Listening to this album is akin to dropping in on a conversation of two old friends so close that they need not hold back anything from each other. This musical camaraderie is exemplified in such pieces as "Let's Hurry Off (to Some Other Place)". Despite its title, there is nothing rushed here, like most cuts on the CD, is performed in a calm, almost sedate manner. On "Blue Mountain" Cale takes the lead kicking off this dreamy, delicate melody , a paean to a natural wonder, Blue Mountain, close to where Cale was born. On the other side of the ledger, it's Rohde by himself on "Darn That Dream". About as boisterous as things get is a medium time "Lester Left Town".
A fine, intelligent presentation by two established, if not well known, masters of the jazz art, this album is recommended.