Veteran guitarists Joe Beck and Jimmy Bruno work well together and share an appreciation of beautiful sound as applied to jazz's mainstream. Most of the feature work is from Bruno, 46, who plays a seven-string guitar. Beck, 54, plays an instrument of his own creation. His alto guitar is tuned down a fifth and offers the artist a means for providing both bass line and accompaniment. Tone quality remains of paramount importance throughout the duo session.
"Summertime" moves at a lively tempo and becomes a fast-fingered clinic for Bruno's dexterous hands. Unfortunately, the flying fingers and urgent mood have eroded the piece's sentimental spirit. While his interpretation is unique, the standard "Summertime" carries its own set of familiar elements. The duo's arrangement takes some getting used to. Similarly, "Emily" loses much of its familiar lingering lyricism as the duo takes it up-tempo with a bouncing rhythm.
Beck has created harmonic bossa arrangements for most of the album's selections. They're lively and serve to demonstrate Bruno's superb technique. "Cherokee," accustomed to this kind of blazing-fast tempo, appears here as an up-tempo waltz. It's quite appropriate, and both guitarists seem quite comfortable with the situation.
Joe Beck has one solo feature, "Tenderly." On it, he caresses the lyrical melody with slow, well-thought-out chords that preserve the ballad's original meaning. His one solo interlude, also chorded, appears during the romantic "Estat'" with a fresh improvised twist on a lovely tune.
Limiting the selections to under five minutes in the context of blazing-fast Jimmy Bruno guitar epithets, Polarity brings the listener variety and good, clean guitar adventures.
How Long Has This Been Going On; Lazy Afternoon; Polarity; I?ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face; Eleanor Rigby; Estat?; Summertime; Tenderly; Carioca Blue; Emily; I Don?t Stand a Ghost of a Chance With You; Cherokee; Poem For #15.