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Riner Scivally & Isla Eckinger: Duets

Jim Santella By

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Guitarist Riner Scivally and bassist Isla Eckinger have worked together all over Southern California now for over twenty years. Both have brought an exquisite melodic impression, as well as a powerful rhythmic foundation, to their various projects, sharing great jazz with a who's who of Los Angeles performers.

This time out, however, it's just the two of them. Scivally and Eckinger romp and stroll through this program of originals and standards with facility, enjoying the ride. Eckinger's bass solos and Scivally's guitar improvisations spark a creative interest that won't let up. Together, they provide a warm program that stands proud on the jazz and blues tradition.

Eckinger switches to trombone for "Michigan Girl, "Swifts and "Lament, bringing a laid-back ambience to the duet session. He reaches all the way back to jazz's earliest and earthiest roots for these selections, exploring the melodies with a carefree air while Scivally provides the rhythmic foundation. The guitarist's lovely solo stretch on J.J. Johnson's "Lament serves as a centerpiece for the album, reminding us that melody, rhythm and improvisation make perfect partners.

On vibraphone for "That's a Wrap, "Re-Wrap, "Out of the Green, "Stardust, "Blues for Pili and "Groovin' High, Eckinger provides a layered harmony and embellished melody while Scivally supplies the rhythm. Their partnership allows them to swing with a comfortable texture common to the straight-ahead philosophy.

On double bass for "Blues in the Closet, "A Smooth One, "Four on Six and "Mr. Blue, Eckinger provides a mainstream rhythm-oriented approach while the guitar steps out in an animated fashion. Both artists provide lovely solo spots, and these guitar/bass selections stand out as the album's best tracks. "Mr. Blue, dedicated to the memory of the late guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan, finds both the guitarist and the bassist at the top of their form, with expressive fingers on fire.

As two formidable veterans in the contemporary field of straight-ahead jazz, Scivally and Eckinger say it all with class on Duets.


Track Listing: Blues in the Closet; Michigan Girl; Stardust; Swifts; Four on Six; Blues for Pili; Lament; That

Personnel: Riner Scivally: guitar; Isla Eckinger: bass, vibraphone, trombone.

Title: Duets | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Talking Dog


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