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Bob Sneider and Paul Hofmann: Escapade (2006)

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Bob Sneider and Paul Hofmann: Escapade How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

The history of duo recordings boasts some standout pairings: Bill Evans and Jim Hall, Nat "King" Cole and Oscar Moore, Chick Corea and Gary Burton, Stan Getz and Kenny Brown. Guitarist Bob Sneider and pianist Paul Hofmann approach the duo format with masterful technique and imagination on Escapade, a followup to Interconnection (Sons of Sound, '04).

Sneider is a two-time winner of Down Beat's Outstanding Performance in Jazz Award and has performed with Chuck Mangione, Nat Adderley and Jon Faddis. He is currently an Instructor of Jazz Guitar at the Eastman School of Music and frequently appears with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Pops.

Sneider and Hofmann share a crisp chemistry and craft a seamless sound—and while their technique is flawless throughout, the players don't eschew some fun and spontaneity, as on the jaunty "Manana Time" and the prickly "New Invention No. 21." The Rodgers and Hart classic "My Funny Valentine" is given a more upbeat and optimistic, bounce-in-the-step turn than you'll usually here with this tune. And the duo tips its at to the Nat "King" Cole Trio (pre-vocalist days) with a "King Cole Trio Medley."

The set is masterfully arranged, and the players are so musically in-sync that, in a relaxed listening mode, you can lose track of which instrument is playing which part in this intellectual yet approachable sound.

Visit Bob Sneider and Paul Hoffmann on the web.

Track Listing: Roller Coaster; New Invention No. 15; Blues Palindrome; Touching the Sky; Bob's Bossa; Manana Time; New Invention No. 21; Celestial Visions; King Cole Trio Medley; A Lullaby; My Funny Valentine; The Great Escape; Improvisations on Prelude No 22, Op. 11 Part IV.

Personnel: Bob Sneider: guitar; Paul Hofmann: piano.

Record Label: Sons of Sound

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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