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Talkin' on the 'Bone Phone to the Stubborn Old Lady...
Recorded at the Amerika Haus in Hamburg, Just Friends represents the standard jazz fare that the German label Nagel Heyer has come to be known for. This present concert highlights traditional stalwarts George Masso and Ken Peplowski performing chestnuts from the Great American Songbook. There is nothing earthshaking here, just good jazz impeccably performed. Masso has a bright and full-bodied tone, perfectly suited for this straight-down-the-middle slice of music. Ken Peplowski is the perfect reedman for Masso, weaving in and out of the melodies at will. The song choices are not surprising, with the exception of these traditionalists performing (very capably, I might ass) "Blue Monk." From the older side, "On The Alamo" comes off like a radio show featuring Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller in a hypothetical small group performance. The rhythm section is uniformly fine, as are all of the pieces. There is nothing to not recommend this recording to any lover of traditional, mainstream jazz.
Track Listing: You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To; In A Mellow Tone; More Than You Know; Blue Monk; If I Were A Bell; It All Depends On You; Just Friends; I Thought About You; On The Alamo; Three Little Words. (Total Time: 79:34).
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.