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Mason Razavi/Bennett Roth-Newell: After You

Dan Bilawsky By

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While guitarist Mason Razavi and pianist Bennett Roth-Newell have had plenty of opportunities to connect musically in Razavi's Quartet, his expanded Quartet Plus, and elsewhere, this marks the first time that this pair has pared things down to record as a duo.

Over the course of eight songs—five originals, two jazz standards, and an album-ending take on a classic from The Beatles—Razavi and Roth-Newell manage to establish themselves as centrists with a shared belief in the powers of sensitivity, soulfulness, and swing. They finish each other's ideas, support one another during solo flights, and come together to embrace the central thought(s) of each piece. Razavi plays the role of bassist, rhythm man, and single-note soloist while wielding a variety of guitars, and Roth-Newell delivers firm comping, colorful lines, and delicate musical trim.

This duo swings in up-tempo settings (Clifford Brown's "Joy Spring") and more relaxed environments ("Escaping The Inevitable"), travels down emotional avenues (Roth-Newell's "A Daughter Is A Gift To The World"), puts a little funk into its portfolio (Joe Zawinul's "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy"), and ably assists the music in its need to evolve ("Will You?"). And that's not all that these two can do. Implied Brazilian accents enter the picture through their rhythmic interplay ("Mixed Memories"), twilit strains of sound beautifully flow through their instruments ("Through The Fog"), and familiar melodies ring anew with infusions of energy and soul ("Yesterday"). While this one is short by today's standards, clocking in under forty minutes, it feels absolutely complete. Everything that needs to be said and then some can be found on After You.

Track Listing: Joy Spring; Escaping The Inevitable; A Daughter Is A Gift To The World; Mercy, Mercy, Mercy; Will You?; Mixed Memories; Through The Fog; Yesterday.

Personnel: Mason Rasavi: electric guitar, steel string guitar, nylon string acoustic guitar. Bennett Roth-Newell: piano.

Title: After You | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: First Orbit Sounds

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