Michael Moore & Fred Hersch: This We Know (2008)
This duo session between two old friends finds both in an expressive mood, leaving the cares of a troubled world behind while they relax with original music and classic themes. Jazz' modern mainstream is on parade here, as pianist Fred Hersch joins clarinetist and alto saxophonist Michael Moore on a program that oozes with flowing, interactive melody. If this musical conversation were transformed into a spoken dialogue, it would be one with martinis on a remote patio with no distractions; there's no room here for the hurried spectacle that takes place on streets and in offices everywhere else. No, Hersch and Moore prefer a mellow celebration of their 30-year friendship.
Monk's "Four in One" moves with characteristic zigzags and when Moore issues a delicate clarinet birdcall, as on "The Sad Bird," Hersch replies with jaunty keyboard flights that excite the air in feathered motion. "This We Know" flows gently through familiar clarinet and piano rivulets. In the same manner that "Milestones" took a previous generation and its followers for a long drive along scenic highways, this title track transports the listener through half a century of jazz. "Lee's Dream" spotlights the alto saxophone in a twisting, hustling affair; the pace is slow but the effect is one of controlled energy. Several Latin American-based pieces fit comfortably in the picture, the pair spinning the spirit of dance into their web of enchantment. Top-notch musicianship from two close friends takes this casual conversation in jazz to fruition; Hersch and Moore know how to tell a colorful story.
Track Listing: Aquellos Ojos Verdes; Bedtime Story; The Sad Bird; Four in One; Spirit of '76; Doce de Coco; This We Know; Lee's Dream; Sandwiches & Brandy; Langrage; Canzona.
Personnel: Michael Moore: clarinet (1, 3, 4, 7, 9, 11), alto saxophone (2, 5, 6, 8, 10); Fred Hersch: piano.