Guitarist Mason Razavi and pianist Bennett Roth-Newell place years of collaborative experience under the microscope in this studio album. The performances, as wide-ranging as they are intimate, comprise a generous handful of original dough with a few familiar tunes thrown in for leavening. In the latter vein, we are treated to three slices of optimism, starting with Clifford Brown's "Joy Spring." In addition to setting the tone for a set of sometimes-whimsical crosstalk, it showcases the duo's ability to unravel melodies in real time. In Joe Zawinul's "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" and the Lennon/McCartney evergreen "Yesterday," they tap into textural wonders at every turn. Razavi switches between comping and leading at the drop of a hat, while Roth-Newell lights up the darkness with his incandescent navigations.
Roth-Newell also offers "Escaping The Inevitable," the first of three composed by the pianist, through whose music flows a laid-back yet utterly serious quality that lends veracity to every head. This balance allows the musicians to threat chord changes as limbs from which to swing, tracing their descent in the language of improvisation. "A Daughter Is A Gift To The World" speaks of a multidirectional love and evokes the warmth of home, of lifetimes in the making. Razavi opts for a steel-string acoustic here, adding to a feeling of nostalgia that is even more prevalent in "Mixed Memories." Here the guitarist switches out for nylon in a Latin-inspired picture of jigsaw-puzzle synergy and sunlit aesthetics. Razavi offers two weighty cents of his own in the form of "Will You?" and "Through The Fog," both of which are strong of heart and insightful of spirit. This is what communication sounds like.
Joy Spring; Escaping The Inevitable; A Daughter Is A Gift To The World; Mercy, Mercy, Mercy; Will You?; Mixed
Memories; Through The Fog; Yesterday.
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