Eddie Gomez and Mark Kramer: Art of the Heart (2006)

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Eddie Gomez and Mark Kramer: Art of the Heart
According to the now elderly, but still valuable Albert McCarthy book Jazz on Record, Eddie Gomez not only took over as bassist in the epoch-making Bill Evans trio, whose musical format was very much the creation of the original bassist, Scott LaFaro (with Evans, and not without Paul Motian's inventive genius on drums). As a brilliant instrumentalist, Gomez was said also to have improved on LaFaro's unique conception of the trio as a unit with three components, not just three guys fitting together.

The best music on this set is performed by a unit of two parts: Mark Kramer, a very classy pianist, and Gomez doing so much with two bare hands that there are times it seems he could do no more if he was using a bow.

He does use a bow, and frankly, at times I've wished somebody had stolen it on his way to the studio on February 14, 2004. To say no more, the work without bowing is just so very much better than all but the very best piano/bass duo recordings. It throws into relief the sort of heart-on-sleeve stuff, which on "Chances Are sounds like a badly overgrown cello. Somebody's singing too loud in the choir!

"Smile reinforces my admiration of Kramer, and Gomez is brilliant with his fingers, just like on the self-descriptive "Easy to Love. Possibly he has taken too seriously the fact that the programme is a hearts and flowery singer's one, and thus is compensating for the absence of Nelson Riddle and an acre of violinists sawing up a breeze. Not all of his bowed solos are over-romantic and over the top, even hearty. I found too many were.

Possibly listeners who are suckers for rhapsodic deliveries of Great American Songbook, though not consciously interested in jazz per se, will take to the grand manner of bowed bull fiddle. Others may wonder that the numerous ineffably exquisite moments of duo are interspersed with presumably sincere but also— alas for them—overdone bowing exercises.

Track Listing: Wonderful, Wonderful; Moment to Moment; Chances Are; Call Me Irresponsible; Hello Young Lovers; They Say It's Wonderful; Smile; Easy to Love; Small World; It's Not for Me to Say; If I Loved You; I'll Be Seeing You.

Personnel: Eddie Gomez: double bass; Mark Kramer: piano.

Record Label: Art of Life Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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