Ben Aronov, Jay Leonhart: Alone Together (2008)
There's something to be said about the sureness with which Ben Aronov and Jay Leonhart play as a duo. A recording they did in the studio in the '80s was pushed back for years, finally released as Alone Together. The title could not be more fitting. The album stands as a work of syncretism; Aronov was an established jazzman before he met and befriended Jay Leonhart and, by then, Leonhart had made a name for himself in the jazz community. Each is a musician in his own right, with experiences cut out through different projects, but whose startlingly unified collaboration makes them seem like destined partners.
"Como en Vietnam" is so lovely a track that any writer's description, no matter how careful, will inevitably fail to convey how elegant, smart and electric it is. Leonhart is discreet and plays a well-executed supporting role, and Aronov's piano produces notes that can inspire a rich sense of wanderlust and pleasant nostalgia in any listener. "One for the Rhode" is an earthy platform for Leonhart's unbelievable talent. The bass creates a sexy, earthy piece with a turbulent, but precise consistency.
But given how strong many pieces are, it is disappointing to see that unimpressive, even slightly sloppy ones like "A Child is Born" and "Parallel Universe" made it onto the record, potentially threatening to overshadow the highpoints.
And though Alone Together arrives many years late, it was well worth waiting for. Aronov and Leonhart appear to be beholden to the rules of exquisite wine brewing: the years have done their work nothing if not good.
Track Listing: Alone Together; Virgo; The Girl Next Door; A Child Is Born; Come Rain or Come Shine; Bye; This Is New; Pettiford Brown; Como en Vietnam; My One and Only Love; April; Parallel Universes; One for the Rhode.
Personnel: Ben Aronov: piano; Jay Leonhart: bass.
Record Label: Roger Rhodes Music