Shifting Sands: Velvet Mantle (2006)
The duo's obvious classical training is tinted by their jazz influences. For vocalist Winter, it's Ellington, Miles Davis, Patricia Barber, Kurt Elling and Mark Murphy. The purity of tone, voice-as-an-instrument and glowing resonance suggest the Kurt Elling influence primarilya rich, mellow tone, with full control, clarinet-like (as opposed to Elling's flugelhorn-like sound) in its fluid movement from note to note, with a remarkable range. Lander found that the calls of Miles Davis, Bill Evans and John Lewis drew her to jazz. Her style is economical and understated, sometimes quirky, and it's this study in contrasts that makes the duo's sound such a success.
The fourteen tunes are all originals, Winter/Lander-penned, and they fit together with a seamless cohesion. The second tune is entitled "Haunting Melody," and you could call that sentiment the theme for the disc. These is hauntingly pretty music, the interplay of voice and piano joyously simpatico.
Velvet Mantle is cool-toned, pared-down music. It would be interesting to hear the duo expand to a quartet with bass and drums.
Track Listing: Velvet Mantle; Haunting Melody; Ocean Sound; Aurora's Flame; Persephone's Darkness; Pieces; Sculpture; Cerulean Blue; Beauties of the Past; Kaleidoscope; Woman in White; Let It Go; Feather; Magadi.
Personnel: Deborah Winter: vocals, backing vocals (9,10,14); Jo Lander: piano, backing vocals (2,7,8,12).
Record Label: Self Produced