The guitar duo of Bruce Arnold and Mike Miller interprets familiar standards on this pleasant session. Musically interesting and filled with inspiration, they provide the listener with an inside look at each classic piece. Their performance is laid-back and introspective.
As they alternate melodic and rhythm roles, the two guitarists swing lightly and maintain a close-knit groove. Their lyrical caresses reveal a coolness in their passion, as each picks his instrument delicately. Crisp and clear, their interwoven phrases move casually through a gentle landscape.
The album's liner notes do not reveal which is which. One guitarist moves with a forward, vibrant force and more passion, while the other prefers a cooler, laid-back approach. Both prefer improvisation that is challenging and musically accurate. They remain positioned on the left and the right throughout their session.
Old friends from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Arnold and Miller have both moved on to successful professional careers with the guitar. This takes them on separate paths, and travel is always on the horizon. Their reunion offers the listener a relaxed outing that is both well conceived and enjoyable.
Track Listing: Billie's Bounce; All the Things You Are; Giant Steps; Time Remembered; Invitation; Alone Together
Personnel: Bruce Arnold (guitar) Mike Miller (guitar)
I love jazz because...it's in my blood! My late father, Billy Ainsworth, was a musical prodigy who dropped out of school at 17 after he stunned the seasoned musicians of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra with an in-off-the-street audition
I love jazz because...it's in my blood! My late father, Billy Ainsworth, was a musical prodigy who dropped out of school at 17 after he stunned the seasoned musicians of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra with an in-off-the-street audition. He was on the band bus the next day as Dorsey's alto sax and clarinet player, and never looked back. He played with great bandleaders such as Freddie Martin, Tex Beneke and Ray McKinley, some before he was out of his teens (they had to lie about his age to get him into nightclubs). Many older musicians have told me he was the greatest alto sax player they ever worked with. He was equally great on clarinet and was clarinetist and harmony singer for cocktail jazz pioneers, the Ernie Felice Quartet.
He eventually left the road and settled down, and that's when I came in. By that time, he was, by day, vocal group session leader/player/arranger for classic jingles and commercial music produced in Dallas. At night, he played in society bands, jazz combos and elegant showrooms. Tuesdays were slow in the showrooms, so band members' families got in free, and my mom took me to see him backing such legends as Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Steve and Eydie, and a very old Ella Fitzgerald. Between that, hearing his record collection, growing up around the legendary musicians and singers who were like aunts and uncles to me, and just listening to him practice around the house, filling the neighborhood with incredible jazz sax riffs, I couldn't help becoming that weird kid who was listening to Peggy Lee, Ella and Manhattan Transfer when my classmates were listening to rock, country and soul.
Even though he died before I ever sang professionally, he remains my inspiration and all my CDs are dedicated to him. I like to think that he'd like my music, since it's built on the foundation he handed down to me.