From jazz's modern mainstream, this duo performance provides free interpretations of classic songs. Pianist Phillip Strange fills each selection with anxious energy while drummer Larry Marshall complements with intuitive colors. The performance runs loose and laid back as both artists reflect on familiar melodies with widespread animation. The performance rises and falls as befits each interpretation, with the mood shifting continuously. There's ample beauty in each portrait.
Strange, who has won four Downbeat Student Music Awards, exhibits superb keyboard mastery and a disciplined approach to dynamics. He captures the essence of a song through exaggerated changes in its emotional level. From a shout to a whisper, he ensures that each piece gets its due.
Take Five remains one of those all-time favorites that we like to keep around year after year. Strange and Marshall give it a unique overcoat that wins new friends and influences people through its free jazz approach. No one has ever done it this way before, and they've come up with a sure winner. That's what jazz is for. The duo's title track mellows gently for an extended period of lazy relaxation with a few built-in emotional surges. Strange's "My Paradise, "Absinthe, and "Brazilian Heart follow the same code, combining somber reflections with assertive forays. Pianist and drummer employ shifting moods that appear as natural as the wind.
Through their classic song interpretations and original pieces, Strange and Marshall give their audience a recommended moment of reflection that comes equipped with the stuff that dreams are made of.
Personnel: Phillip Strange: piano; Larry Marshall: drums.