Ted Rosenthal/Bob Brookmeyer: One Night in Vermont (2004)
Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin... they’re all here. Rosenthal and Brookmeyer, distinguished composers and arrangers themselves, take classic melodies from these revered songwriters, and enliven them with glistening contrapuntal streams, gracious improvisations, and playful duels. They bring a strong orchestral wisdom to the duo setting, expanding their capacity for expression and utilizing the absence of a rhythm section to their advantage.
The pairing of trombone and piano provides for a tasteful contrast. In “Night And Day,” the two complement each other with opposing textures. Brookmeyer’s trombone takes on a rough tone as Rosenthal’s piano shimmers. During “Embraceable You,” Rosenthal comps tactfully over Brookmeyer’s solo, emphasizing each phrase with sharp, conspiratorial chords. Rosenthal’s own solo is ferociously rousing—the kind that provokes a heightened pulse, and quickened breath. During his “Yesterdays” solo, it’s pure pleasure when Rosenthal loosens his grip and tumbles into the warbling melody that is so essentially of the Fred and Ginger era.
Rosenthal and Brookmeyer play emphatically together. As one slows down, enraptured in the moment, the other takes the lead, propelling the team forward, but of course not stealing the spotlight. Both toy with rhythms like expert clowns juggling a collection of objects of varying shape and weight.
Inciting nostalgia as with “Darn That Dream,” or compassion with “All The Things You Are,” this music simultaneously relaxes and invigorates. Listen and soak in the tub. Listen and button your cuff links for a swinging night out. Either way, listen.
This review originally appeared in AllAboutJazz-New York .
Track Listing: Night and Day; Embraceable You; Yesterdays; Darn that Dream; How Deep Is the Ocean; What
Personnel: Ted Rosenthal (piano), Bob Brookmeyer (valve trombone)
Record Label: Planet Arts