Duet sessions are, at their best, something special, a one-to-one musical conversation that relies on a near-telepathic connection between the two players. You'd really expect that connection between tenor saxophonist Rich Halley and drummer Carson Halley since they are father and son and they deliver on this powerful disc.
All the pieces on the CD are improvised. Rich Halley plays wood flute on one short interlude, "The Old Ways." On the rest he plays tenor with impressive skill. Several pieces are the sort of gale force blows you'd expect in this setting but there is a lot of variety in tempo and approach throughout the session. On tracks like "Wild Lands" and "Cursorial" Halley Senior blows short, blunt melodic phrases while Carson lays down a vibrating carpert of percussion. "From Memory" is a more intricate work with the short tenor phrases turning into overblown squeals and Albert Ayler-like folk melodies over a series of agitated cymbal patterns and drum rolls.
On "Flat Plane of the Sky" the tenor rolls in low and slowly like Ben Webster playing a ballad while the drums rustle in the background before the conversation develops into a close-knit blues-tinged drawl. Carson takes more of the lead on "The Stroll" with a funky drum pattern that his father adds to with jubilant saxophone singing punctuated by the occasional scream. "Snake Eyes" starts with quiet, wavering solo tenor phrases joined by occasional cymbal rumbles that leads to louder, vocalized tenor cries over measured drum beats. "Notes From The Wild Lands" ends things with Rich Halley playing deep, lusty phrases to an internal swaying beat while his son responds with a sparkling, lively drum dance that gradually increases in speed.
It's more noticeable here than in larger groups just how much command Rich Halley has of the tenor sax. He can play romantic ballad lines with feeling as well as he can blow to the rafters while Carson Halley is a sensitive drummer who can match his father's moods very well. This is another fine example of the powerful music Rich Halley is making out in Oregon.
Track Listing: Wild Lands; Progenitor; Flat Plane Of The Sky; The Stroll; Cursorial; The Old Ways; From Memory; The Recon; Snake Eyes; Notes From The Wild Lands.