Anacronics and Quartet are twin discs of different mothers. Each one has a guitar/piano duo at its core but differ significantly in conception and execution.
The standards-driven Anacronics, by pianist Sergi Sirvent and guitarist Santi Careta, is the 'purest' in that it features no other musicians or musical effects. This Catalonian duo use straight interpretations of themes as springboards to their improvisations. Cole Porter's "You Do Something To Me' sets the tone, with Sirvent's mischievous timing augmenting his dexterity. "Soul Eyes is disarmingly brooding and dark, but the energy and joy brought to Charlie Parker's "Dewey Square is bright, irresistible and infectious. And when Sirvent on piano plays "In Walked Bud he pays tribute not only to Monk but to other great pianists. There are a few missteps: Ellington's "Isfahan sounds forced and self- conscious; Sirvent's "FAM is uninteresting, the duo treading water until the next standard. The duo's take on "Lush Life takes a Barton Fink-type left turn with Sirvent's vocals. Some might find his voice charming; it will drive others to distraction. And the mercurial "la balada del trobador de les esferes is admirable for its intentions but falls short of delivering.
Despite bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard, the focus on Quartet is clearly on Brad Mehldau and Pat Metheny. Right away, this album settles into familiar territory, with Metheny's trademark, almost effortless, fluidity and Mehldau's soul of a concert pianist and technique of a surgeon. The pianist's "Fear and Trembling has an edginess perfectly suited to Metheny's soaring high notes and growling low-end distortions. Metheny returns the composing favors to Mehldau with "Don't Wait and "Silent Movie , songs which are melodic, contemplative and tender. The quartet comes back together for "Towards the Light , a tune that brings to mind "Are You Going With Me? from Metheny's fusion classic Offramp.
Having played together before, Metheny and Mehldau know how much space to give, when to come in and when to lay back. This is a by-product of familiarity and respect and the result is excellent.
Tracks and Personnel
Tracks: You Do Something To Me; Soul Eyes; Dewey Square; I Loves You, Porgy; In Walked Bud; Isfahan; FAM; El petit princep i Cadaqués; I Fall In Love Too Easily; Look For the Silver Lining; What'll I Do; Lush Life; La balada del trobador de les esferes
Personnel: Sergi Sirvent: piano, vocal; Santi Careta: guitar.
Tracks: A Night Away; The Sound of Water; Fear and Trembling; Don't Wait; Towards the Light; Long Before; En La Tierra Que No Olvida; Santa Cruz Slacker; Secret Beach Silent Movie; Marta's Theme
Personnel: Pat Metheny: guitar; Brad Mehldau: piano; Jeff Ballard: drums; Larry Grenadier: bass.