Vocals, bass and Golden Age jazz standards. That's all that's here and it's all that's needed. Working their way through ten classics penned between 1926 and 1947, vocalist Marty Elkins and bassist Mike Richmond get right to the heart of jazz history. Their music has an easy draw to it, but there's absolutely no drama behind that magnetismno too-clever-by-half rewrites, outside antics or fancying of futurism in interpretation(s). Grounded with a sense of respect for the material, this duo delights in the opportunity to place it in good light.
With Richmond's rounded sound, Elkins' easygoing delivery, a patient approach to elaboration and a focus on milder tempos, a calculus of cool underscores this entire production. From the shine of "Old Devil Moon" to the rooted swing of "In A Mellow Tone," and the cool, crisp air of "'Tis Autumn" to the vivacious "When The Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin' Along," this pair proves to be playful, level-headed and perfectly in sync. Parallel thoughts and complementary gestures carry across the entire program, there's a fine balance between focal points in each performance, and every canvas reveals its beauty and general meaning in its uncluttered unfolding.
Elkins' understated scatting, Richmond's warm and wide pizzicato work, some welcome cello adornments (from the bassist) on "Stairway To The Stars" and "My Mother's Eyes," and this duo's journey as one across familiar time and space help to sell these songs with ease. Whether delivering a casual "Lullaby Of The Leaves," swinging "Honeysuckle Rose" (bound for the highlight reel), earthy "I Ain't Got Nothin' But The Blues" (right in Elkins' wheelhouse), or swaying and bouncing "All Or Nothing At All," these two are typically on point. They may have only first met a handful of years before recording this, but it sounds like they've been working together for ages.
Old Devil Moon; In A Mellow Tone; 'Tis Autumn; When The Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin' Along; Stairway To The Stars; Lullaby Of The Leaves; My Mother's Eyes; Honeysuckle Rose; I Ain't Got Nothin' But The Blues; All Or Nothing At All.
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