One of the more pleasant listening experiences this year has been Twin Talk from the eponymous Indie group based in Chicago. The jazz trio of drummer Andrew Green, saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi and bassist/vocalist Katie Ernst produce a project of fresh music and through original material and inventive performances.
Having worked together over the past few years Twin Talk executes on a subconscious level. Whether digging deep into the pocket in "J.J." or the traversing multihued designs in "Colorwheel" the trio's presence is sinewy and vigorous embodying a sense of urgency that's heard in each player's respective instrument.
The anchor is Ernst's muscular basswoody, reverberating and emotive in the pensive ballad "Martha" and the rocking groove sway of "Teddy." The spark is consistently provided by Green's fiery drum rhythms flowing in and out of the pocket with crisp cymbals, delicate brushes and snappy beats.
The trio's voice is conveyed through Laurenzi's warm saxophone through whispers, snarls, and croons within the compositional changes. His voice ranges from coarse to melodious as he moves artfully from cool restraint to complete improvised abandon in "One Foot in Front of the Other" which also features supple voice lines from Ernst.
Two tracks reveal Ernst's dual threat of playing bass and singing. "Hush, Hush" is like sunbeams piercing clouds whereas the lyrics in "Living Room" convey an introspective story of a complicated personal relationship. Both contrast the singer's skillful voice and outstanding bass worka funky riff during the former track and stirring bowing strings in the latter.
Chicago has long been a bedrock of improvised music and Twin Talk represents a microcosm of that strength in today's environment.
Track Listing: Colorwheel; J.J.; Martha; Teddy; Hush, Hush; Shorty; One Foot in Front of the Other; Rupert; Eleven; Living Room; Like Bells.
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