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Matt Brubeck / David Braid: Twotet/Deuxtet

Budd Kopman By

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The alive and vital Twotet/Deuxtet, from cellist Matt Brubeck and pianist David Braid, is a recording to celebrate and become immersed in.

Before anyone asks, Matt Brubeck is the youngest child of pianist Dave Brubeck. The fact that he is also the tallest, if it means anything at all, might have something to do with his amazing facility. Although he is classically trained, he is at ease in many genres including improvisation, as can be seen by his discography.

David Braid, has, quite deservedly, one of the highest profiles among the younger generation of jazz musicians in Canada. All of his recordings, in various configurations, have been very well received, including his two live sextet recordings—Zhen (David Braid, 2006) and Vivid (David Braid, 2004)—his quartet with saxophonist Mike Murley, Mnemosyne's March (Cornerstone, 2006), his duet release with legendary clarinetist Phil Nimmons, Beginnings (Nimmons'n'Music, 2006), and Set In Stone (Effendi, 2006), a trio celebrating the music of Fred Stone.

Braid has always impressed with both his clarity of musical thought and his mature playing, which continues to deepen and belies his youth. On Twotet/Deuxtet, Brubeck is every bit his equal. Neither is afraid of stylistic eclecticism, and the album, comprised of all original compositions and one improvisation, dips into many styles. "Huevos Verdes Y Jamón" sports a catchy Caribbean-tinged Latin rhythm, "The Return of Dr. Spookulus" is very funny in a melodramatic way, "Sniffin' Around" brings in the blues and "Spirit Dance" adds a folk element in an off-center manner.

The other compositions (Braid's "Wash Away" and "Mnemosyne's March," and Brubeck's "It's Not What It Was") venture into the classical realm more or less overtly, with the emphasis on beauty of line and the creation of larger structures. Both players dig deeply into these pieces—Brubeck with gorgeous, flowing, bowed lines and Braid with a singing, yet crystal clear sound used to spin lines that continually surprise.

"Improvisation 17.04.2006" brings the best out of both players. Their depth of musical communication is immediately evident and the structures created as Brubeck and Braid interact emerge completely naturally. Melody and harmony arise, crest and fall as if composed, as each player hands the lead to the other. The clear sonic separation of the cello and piano is made manifest and demonstrates what is obvious on the rest of the recording.

Twotet/Deuxtest is music making of the highest order; hopefully this duo will continue its journey.

Visit Matt Brubeck and David Braid on the web.

Track Listing: Huevos Verdes Y Jam

Personnel: Matt Brubeck: cello; David Braid: piano.

Title: Twotet/Deuxtet | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Brubeck Braid

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