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David Zoffer and Adam Larrabee: Courage in Closeness (2002)

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No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Courage in Closeness is something of a beguilement, an understated piano/guitar outing that, rather than jumping out and grabbing you by the throat, coaxes and caresses, seranades.

On the opener, "Talk to Me", David Zoffer's piano work is lush, with a delicate, classical tinge, while Adam Larrabee picks pungent Metheny-esque lines... a song to play for a lady friend over glasses of wine...

Things get a little dirty on "Here Comes Spider," with the piano going percussive and a bit gutbucket, guitar finding a wah-wah voice. And I used the word 'beguilement' because an initial blind listen through of the CD left me with the impression of classical stuff; but another spin shows pianist Zoffer can be quite bluesy ("Here Comes Spider" and "Need You So"); while Larrabee, who can play sweet ("For JMZ"), also has some fine, gritty, get down, rockish rough edges in his quiver ("Phillipe's Vibe"; "Never Even").

Nine of the eleven tunes are Zoffer or Larrabee originals. You'll hear hints of the tango with "Seasonal Beards", influenced by bandoneon maestro Astor Piazzolla; some Chopin ("Chopin Noc-turned"); and an ethereal take on some Scott Joplin ragtime ("Solace").

Contrasting styles: Sweetness and pungency. Clean and then a wee bit grimy. That's the secret to the CD's success. And, remarkably, the musicians take turns with each roll, sometimes in the same song. Great interplay, and lots of surprises revealed with multiple listenings.

For Info visit: www.davidzoffer.com

Track Listing: Talk to Me, Here Comes Spider, For JMZ, Need You So, Chopin Noc turned, Seasonal Beards, Escape Artist, Courage in Closeness, Phillipe's Vibe, Never Even, Solace

Personnel: David Zoffer, piano; Adam Larrabee, guitar

Record Label: Zofco Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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