How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
The track listing on this disc describes an intriguing program of standards from the likes of Strayhorn, Ellington, Rogers & Hammerstien, Coltrane and Gillespie. Those listeners familiar with the talents of these two players will recognize that the renditions of these compositions will be anything but expected and pedestrian. Ho Bynum and Rosenthal are seasoned deconstructionists. Together and separately they have made a practice of challenging the assumed protocols of jazz improvisation. Under the duo's collective hand these familiar pieces are parsed into component parts and reassembled until often only the melodic kernels of their formal selves remain. Throwing in healthy doses of their own creativity energy into the process Ho Bynum and Rosenthal sculpt versions that end up sounding incredibly original without ever giving rise to nostalgia for their more revered incarnations.
Listeners who consider Coltrane's version of "My Favorite Things" to be a radical reworking of the tune will be surprised by the translation here where only remnants of its original structure are recognizable. Ho Bynum's beguiling brass sprays muted murmuring slurs across a boiling background of cymbals and snare drum fills for most of the piece's length echoing only a tangential regard for the melody. "Lush Life," "Mood Indigo" and the rest are similarly transformed. Along the way a breathtaking array of sympathetic sonorities are brought to light and the pair never falters in maintaining the sensitive level of communication which is so important in such a stripped down setting. The take on bebop is particularly humorous and finds Rosenthal switching to what sounds like a slide whistle for the opening dialogue. Less adventurous listeners may be appalled by liberties these two take. Recognizing and reveling in their audacity is part of the fun.
Track Listing: My Favorite Things; Lush Life; Prelude; Mood Indigo; My Romance; BeBop; Interlude; Naima; Lonnie's Lament; My One and Only Love; Finale.
Personnel: Taylor Ho Bynum: trumpet, flugelhorn, pocket trumpet; Eric Rosenthal: percussion.