Of all the configurations in Jazz, the duo may be the most challenging. Each partner must be unremittingly observant, ready and able to lend support in any and all circumstances, while, on the other hand, disclosing a persuasive voice of his or her own with plenty of engaging things to say. Kindred souls Mark Colby and Vince Maggio have those bases well covered on Reunion, on which the two play together for the first time since they were musically separated by Colby’s move from Miami to Chicago a number of years ago. It’s a sublime reunion wherein Colby and Maggio interact as irreprovably as if they’d never been apart. Like any top–drawer session, this one leaves one hungering for more. Their skills are so abundant that even such overworked staples of the Jazz canon as “Up Jumped Spring” or “Airegin” sound fresh and alive. Colby, whose modernist point of view embraces stylistic touches from Trane and Rollins to Joe Henderson, Michael Brecker, Joe Lovano, Lew Tabackin and others, has forged from them a commanding vocabulary that is unmistakably his own. Maggio has his own convincing point of view as well, derived from but seldom imitative of other post–bop sovereigns of the piano. He can be unrelentingly forceful, like McCoy Tyner, Benny Green or Harold Mabern, for example, or warmly lyrical in the image of a Kenny Barron, Tommy Flanagan or Bill Evans. Both qualities are employed here to ably complement Colby’s biting tenor (and lustrous soprano on the entrancing ballads “Once in a Garden” and Wayne Shorter’s “Miyako”). Colby and Maggio have chosen the repertoire with care, embracing two classics by Jobim (“O Grande Amor,” “Felicidade”), Mal Waldron’s “Soul Eyes,” Shorter’s “Lester Left Town,” Armando Corea’s “Windows,” Joe McCarthy/Cy Coleman’s “I’m Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life” and the Howard Dietz/Arthur Schwartz standard, “You and the Night and the Music,” which opens the session on a suitably devil–may–care note. This is one Reunion that cries out for an encore.
Track listing: You and the Night and the Music; Windows; I’m Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life; O Grande Amor; Lester Left Town; Soul Eyes; Up Jumped Spring; Airegin; Miyako; Felicidade; Once in a Garden (48:19).
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