When done properly, it’s astounding how much music a duet can generate. It is always especially notable when that duet consists of artists performing on the same instrument. In such a setting, the challenge of blending voices while simultaneously creating distinct, personal lines becomes that much more challenging. Guitarists John Basile and John Abercrombie recently recorded just such a duet, rising masterfully to the occasion.
Comprised of eleven tracks including both original compositions and covers, Animations will without doubt appeal to jazz guitar fans, but it offers something as well to those looking for a subtle, intelligent, and gracefully balanced musical outing. Both instrumentalists are quite capable as individuals, and here they show not only a common bond, but also an uncommon ability to converse together fluidly.
Well matched, Basile and Abercrombie integrate their ideas masterfully, gently shifting one another into new territory as they explore each tune. Marked by a certain conservatism, neither player plunges too far toward any one stylistic extreme, relying on shading and delicacy to create a steadfastly reserved, mellow tone throughout the album. This approach works particularly well on such pieces as Horace Silver’s “Peace” and the melancholic “Desert Storm.” This quiet, focused tune stands out as an album highlight, revealing well each musicians capacities.
A very sedate album, Animations covers a subtly executed and decidedly dignified musical terrain.
1. Sweet and Lovely 2. Paws 3. Nobody Else But Me 4. Under the Influence 5. Animations 6. Angel Falls 7. Peace 8. Short Cut 9. Te Lilter 10. Desert Storm 11. Dreamsville
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