The Bob McHugh Duo: After Midnight (2002)
Both Bob McHugh and Ron Naspo are prime examples of fine talents who have been on the music scene for may years, but are not exactly household names. Both have excelled as educators and performers. Naspo has been involved with classical music as well. This is McHugh's 4th album and he calls his playing style "lunge" to lift it a level or two above the easy listening, like lounge music. McHugh like to record in a small combo environment, using another jazz artist as his featured guest. Thus, in addition to Naspo, his recording playing partners have included percussionist Ray Mantilla. McHugh's piano is neither flamboyant, nor so laid back and relaxed that it has no verve and enthusiasm. Moreover, he uses the entire keyboard, giving both hands an equal chance. "On the Trail", is hardly a main entry in most pianist play book, the notable exception being Oscar Peterson's 1974 recording of his performance from Latvia. Naspo is a master of the melodic bass as on "Every Little Breeze Seems to Shout Sharon", McHugh's take off on "Louise". McHugh uses Charlie Parker's "Ornithology" to further show off his ability to easily handle different jazz genre. Naspo is a prime example of lyrical bass playing as he so ably demonstrates on "My Ideal", and his arco work is impeccable and haunting as well as swinging, as on Cole Porter's "I Love You". While there is nothing earthshattering here, this is a fine 43 minutes of music from two masters of their trade.
Bob McHugh's web home is at www.lungemusic.com/bands/index.asp .
Track Listing: On the Trail; Autumn Leaves; Baubles, Bangles & Beads; Every Little Breeze Seems to Shout Sharon; Samba de Orfeu; After Midnight; Ornithology; I Love You; I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face; My Ideal
Personnel: Bob McHugh - Piano; Ron Naspo - Bass
Record Label: After Midnight