A majority of jazz vocals discs I have heard in my 20 years of writing about them have included at least one voice-bass duet. It is a most effective format, but one not for the faint of heart as an artist. Both duet participants are more naked than in any larger format. It takes two performers who not only have perfect time, but perfect time that is synchronized to one another. When effective, this format makes for a challenging and rewarding experience. It is clean and sensual like making love in a bath of warmed milk.
Entire recordings of voice-bass duet do exist. Bull Fonda Duo: Cup of Joe, No Bull (Corn Hill Indie, 2005), a fine recording pops into memory. Presently, an equally fine and enjoyable duet reveals itself in InDialogue's Blue Skies. InDuologue is a Greek duo made up of vocalist Alexandra Lerta and bassist Vasilis Stefanopoulos. The two share a musical empathy that is drum tight. They swing as effortlessly and hard as a driving big band whose momentum approaches entropy at infinity.
An intelligently assemble recital makes up Blue Skies. The disc opens with a whispery sensual "My Little Suede Shoes" paired with "Day by Day" that immediately engulfs its Latin roots, turning them upside down. A solid "Tin Tin Deo" shimmies and shines with Stefanopoulos dragging chords on the road ahead of Lerta's, teasing, coquettish delivery. The duo take the basic, "Hum Dum Blues," swinging and virtuosic from its simplicity to the pop- tranquil ballad of "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress," the most perfect performance on a recording of the same. The two transcend the title piece by downshifting into low gear, maximizing the dense momentum of the performance. A great accomplishment.
Track Listing: Little Suede Shoes / Day by Day; Tin Tin Deo; Take Love Easy; Hum Drum
Blues; The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress; Blue Skies; Bye Bye Blackbird; Joy
Spring; Calypso Blues; My Funny Valentine; Why Worry.
Personnel: Alexandra Lerta: vocals; Vasilis Stefanopoulos: bass.
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good. I was 16 at the time. I went to Tower Records and purchased a CD by Wes, and I was hooked from the very first ten seconds. The sound of the song Lolita illuminated my bedroom, as I just sat back amazed at how colorful and soulful this music was--I understood it, even though at the time I didn't understand how to go about playing it. I get chills listening to Wes' solo on Lolita, and I can still listen to that song ten times in a row and never get tired of it. There is a truly timeless quality to genuinely spontaneous jazz music, and it is that quality that has inspired me to devote my life to studying and playing this music.