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Birchall & Woolhouse: The Scenery of Life Unfolding

Dan McClenaghan By

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Birchall & Woolhouse: The Scenery of Life Unfolding Piano trio albums—piano, bass and drums—may be the more common means of artistic expression in jazz, but piano/bass duet sets come long fairly often, too. Bassist Charlie Haden is a master of the approach, proof of which can be found on his teamings with pianists Keith Jarrett and Hank Jones on, respectively, Jasmine (ECM Records, 2011) and Come Sunday (EmArcy, 2012); and add to the list of superb pairing 2011's Insight (Pirouet Records, 2009), with pianist Marc Copland and bassist Gary Peacock, a subtle, spacious, understated gem of the genre.

Now bassist Shannon Birchall and pianist Jeremy Woolhouse, based in Australia, combine their talents on the inward-looking The Scenery of Life Unfolding, a follow-up to pianist Woodhouse's solo outing, Persistence of Dreaming (Self Produced, 2013).

Woolhouse, who composed all the music on The Scenery of Life Unfolding, creates tunes that are spacious, brooding, unpretentious in their delivery, and unfailingly lovely. His dialogues with Birchall have cinematic feeling—a laying out of life's passages that are meant to be savored and deeply considered. He is philosophic in his making of music. With his supple touch, classically-tinged harmonics, and his beautiful way with a melody, comparisons to Bill Evans wouldn't be out of line.

The music of here has a feeling a depth and erudition, infused with moments of folk song simplicity and child like wonder at the artists' immersion of in-the-moment experience of The Scenery of Life Unfolding.

Track Listing: Echoes in Emptiness; Virtual Affection; Four Hours Out of Heathrow; Lost Friends; Darkening Shadows; Optimists' Folly; Bubbles Rising; Tears for the Summer; The Scenery of Life Unfolding; The Third Person.

Personnel: Jeremy Woolhouse: piano; Shannon Brichall: bass.

Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Self Produced | Style: Contemporary/Smooth


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