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Bill Laurance & Michael League: Where You Wish You Were

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Bill Laurance & Michael League: Where You Wish You Were
As of this writing in Spring 2023, pianist Bill Laurance and bass and oud player Michael League have apparently been playing together in Snarky Puppy for almost 20 years. This may come as a surprise to some listeners who may still think of them as new kids on the block, so to speak. These two have been busy performing together all these years in the aforementioned band as well as backing up various artists ranging from Erykah Badu to David Crosby.

The pair's duo album Where You Wish You Were is their first together as such and is a departure from the more bombastic, big band, jazz-rock fusion sound of Snarky Puppy. The overall sound is at times rambling and melodic and alternately more somber and meditative. Four of the 11 compositions are credited to Laurance & League, five by League alone and two by Laurance.

The album opens with the duo's composition "La Marinada" where the piano begins and is joined by the oud. The second track, "Meeting of the Mind," is the opposite, with the oud being strumed and plucked and then the piano joining in. They meet in the middle as the title might be suggesting, putting forth a plaintive melody. The use of the oud throughout the record gives it a somewhat global, maybe Mediterranian feel at times. "Round House" begins with piano sounding almost classical and then joined by the bass.

Overall the album is reminiscent of the band Oregon when the oud is more prominent, and with the feel of some of the best Windham Hill recordings of the 1980s when the piano is more prominent. It's an enjoyable listen with clear sound, and a good feel.

Track Listing

La Marinada; Meeting of the Mind; Round House; Sant Esteve; Kin; Tricks; Anthem for a Tiny Nation; Ngoni Baby; Bricks; Where You Wish You Were; Duo.

Personnel

Additional Instrumentation

Michael League oud, fretless acoustic guitar bass, fretless baritone electric guitar, ngoni and voice.

Album information

Title: Where You Wish You Were | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: The Act Company


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