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Guitarist Mundell Lowe has been recording since 1950. Among the colleagues who have prized his rounded, mellow tone and tasteful licks are Prez (Lester Young), Bird (Charlie Parker), Billie (Holiday) and Diz (zy Gillespie). Here he joins forces with bassist/vocalist Jim Ferguson, who's increasingly known for his fine playing and splendid singing. It's a winning combination, and a classy, intimate set.
The session includes two finger-popping instrumentals: lively takes on "There's a Small Hotel and Lowe's own "Big Star, Little Star. The other nine tracks add Ferguson's pure Irish tenor, with the kind of phrasing that makes each lyric a personal story. There's an ideal balance here between ballads and swingers, with a witty Mose Allison tune spicing the mix ("I Don't Worry About a Thing ).
Highlights are impossible to pick in such a fine collection. And whatever the tempo or mood, these two are as comfortable and expressive with each other as old friends rocking on a porch; their conversation is so easy and natural that it invites the listener to pull up a chair. The fact that they are each absolute masters of their instruments makes the pleasure complete.
In a field crowded with female vocalists and Sinatra/Tormé wannabes, Ferguson's elegant, eloquent singing is a rare treasure. This, together with the exceptional guitar/bass interplay, makes Haunted Heart the perfect antidote to a noisy, clanging, cynical world. Take two listens and call me in the morningthough I doubt you'll want to stop at two.
Track Listing: Gone with the Wind; Detour Ahead; I Dont Worry About a Thing; Theres a Small Hotel; Mean to Me; Close Enough for Love; Very Early/Waltz for Debby; My Foolish Heart; Big Star, Little Star; Ill Be Seeing You.
Personnel: Mundell Lowe:guitar; Jim Ferguson: bass, vocals.