One of the joys of listening to music is to come upon an album that crystallizes the essence of a song. Reg Schwager and Don Thompson bring that trait to a fulfillment that suffuses the soul with its warmth and elegant beauty. That they do so is not surprising. They have been working together for several years and entwine musically in quiet eloquence, living each moment, breathing new life into every one.
This album came about by chance. Thompson and Schwager play often in the comfortable confines of Mezzetta in Toronto. One night Thompson carried his tape recorder with him and let it run. At the end there was an hour’s music on tape; eight standards that are reshaped with grace and a becoming air of intimacy. Years later, it was picked up by John Norris of Sackville Recordings. And for that, the recorded world of jazz is all the richer.
Schwager’s phrasing is impeccable. His well rounded notes, his open ended style that is free of clutter and rush, light a flame that kindles gently. This is best articulated on “In A Sentimental Mood” where he subtly shades the melody and then opens it with elegiac lines. Thompson is brimful of ideas at every turn when out on his own.
Schwager swings lightly on “How Deep Is The Ocean”, the joy in his playing delicately infectious. And when the bass man comes on, he jumps into the groove turning it over in passionate discourse.
In sum this is music that has been beautifully crafted into an enduring work of art.