Courage in Closeness is something of a beguilement, an understated piano/guitar outing that, rather than jumping out and grabbing you by the throat, coaxes and caresses, seranades.
On the opener, "Talk to Me", David Zoffer's piano work is lush, with a delicate, classical tinge, while Adam Larrabee picks pungent Metheny-esque lines... a song to play for a lady friend over glasses of wine...
Things get a little dirty on "Here Comes Spider," with the piano going percussive and a bit gutbucket, guitar finding a wah-wah voice. And I used the word 'beguilement' because an initial blind listen through of the CD left me with the impression of classical stuff; but another spin shows pianist Zoffer can be quite bluesy ("Here Comes Spider" and "Need You So"); while Larrabee, who can play sweet ("For JMZ"), also has some fine, gritty, get down, rockish rough edges in his quiver ("Phillipe's Vibe"; "Never Even").
Nine of the eleven tunes are Zoffer or Larrabee originals. You'll hear hints of the tango with "Seasonal Beards", influenced by bandoneon maestro Astor Piazzolla; some Chopin ("Chopin Noc-turned"); and an ethereal take on some Scott Joplin ragtime ("Solace").
Contrasting styles: Sweetness and pungency. Clean and then a wee bit grimy. That's the secret to the CD's success. And, remarkably, the musicians take turns with each roll, sometimes in the same song. Great interplay, and lots of surprises revealed with multiple listenings.
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.